The George Washington University
Engineering Management & Systems Engineering Department (EMSE)
Environmental & Energy Management Program (E&EM)
Spring 2001 (Volume 2, Number 1)

E&EM Discusses Corps of Engineers on CNN Radio Show

Lieutenant General Vald Elvin R. (“Vald”) Heiberg III, former commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and E&EM lead professor Jonathan P. Deason were featured on the CNN radio talk show “GW Washington Forum” on March 10, 2001.  The topic of the show addressed recent allegations that the Corps “cooked the books” in a $55 million study of a proposed $1 billion expansion of the Upper Mississippi River- Illinois Waterway (UMR-IWW) navigation system.  Heiberg and Deason were interviewed by former NBC broadcaster Richard Sheehe, currently Director of Media Affairs at the GW Medical School.

The allegations against the Corps were featured in a five-part, front-page series of articles that appeared in the Washington Post in February 2000.  In response to the allegations, the Secretary of Defense commissioned the National Research Council, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences/National Academy of Enginering, to investigate the allegations.  Deason was part of an 11-member expert panel that conducted the investigation.

Heiberg and Deason discussed the findings of the National Academy study, which were released in the form of a National Research Council report on February 28, 2001, only a few days prior to the

broadcast.  In summary, while National Academy investigation made a number of recommendations regarding ways in which the Corps of Engineers could improve its economic and environmental analyses of major projects, it did not confirm allegations of misdeeds by Corps planners and senior officials during the UMR-IWW study. 

Among the changes that Heiberg and Deason predicted would be imposed on the Corps as a result of the National Academy study were the establishment of an independent project review process for the evaluation of future Corps studies, and significant changes to methods used by the Corps in conducting major system-wide economic and environmental studies.  Heiberg and Deason also indicated that they expected extensive scrutiny of the Corps over the next several years in the form of congressional hearings on the controversy, intensive media attention, and further federal executive branch deliberations concerning structural changes to the agency.

The GW Washington Forum program was broadcast on March 10, 2001 on the CNN radio network (WRC, 570 AM) in Washington, D.C.


Jonathan P. Deason, Ph.D., Lead Professor