February 2010


Lieutenant General Robert L. "Van" Van Antwerp is the current U.S. Army Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). General Van serves as the senior military officer overseeing most of the Nation's civil works infrastructure and military construction.

As the USACE Commanding General, LTG Van is responsible for approximately 36,000 civilian and 600 military employees, who provide project management and construction support to 250 Army and Air Force installations in nearly 100 countries around the world. USACE has a key role in support to Overseas Contingency Operations, with thousands of Civilians and Soldiers deployed to support reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan. General Van is also responsible for hundreds of environmental protection projects and for overseeing the regulatory permit program to protect, restore and enhance thousands of acres of wetlands. In addition, USACE has an emergency response mission to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency in restoration and repair after a disaster, whether natural or manmade.

General Van took command of USACE after serving, most recently, as Commanding General, U.S. Army Accessions Command, responsible for recruiting and training thousands of young patriots who represent the epitome of "Army Strong."

Other command assignments include the U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center and Fort Leonard Wood; Commandant, U.S. Army Engineer School, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District during the Northridge Earthquake of 1994; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, South Atlantic Division, Atlanta, Georgia; and the 326th Engineer Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1972, General Van completed Ranger, Airborne and Air Assault training, and both the Engineer Officer Basic and Advanced Courses. He holds a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan and a Master of Business Administration degree from Long Island University in New York. He is a Registered Professional Engineer.

Lt. Gen. Van Antwerp was bestowed a special AAWRE recognition award at the 2009 EWRI Congress for his service to the nation and for his contributions to the engineering profession. He was also bestowed the Diplomate status in 2009. In this interview, LTG Van Antwerp shares with AAWRE on his career path, his duties as the U.S. Army Chief of Engineers, personal life and his leadership principles.