Planning and Programming team wins national awards

Huntsville Center
Published Oct. 12, 2022
An F-22 is parked on the flightline on a foggy morning, Dec. 2, 2018, at Joint Base Langley Eustis, Virginia. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Bryan Myhr)

An F-22 is parked on the flightline on a foggy morning, Dec. 2, 2018, at Joint Base Langley Eustis, Virginia. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Bryan Myhr)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville’s Planning and Programming Support team received national recognition at the American Planning Association’s National Federal Planning Division Conference for the second year in a row.

During the 2022 event, held in June, the team received the Citation Award for Outstanding Federal Planning Program for their work on the Joint Base Langley-Eustis F-22 beddown project.

Following the devastation from Hurricane Michael in 2018, the Air Force ordered the 43rd Fighter Squadron, which handles F-22 training, out of its home at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida to Joint Base Langley Eustis in Virginia. The move required finding space on the already busy flight line for new functions, as well as the construction of six new facilities, said Diondra Nichols, Master Planning program manager at Huntsville Center.

“This project required interaction of people and integration of processes that don’t typically work together,” said Nichols. “But even more important was the short time frame – less than three years from notification to the arrival of F-22s. That meant we had barely over a year to complete our part, which was just the first pillar in a several-step process to get those aircraft to Langley.”

Despite the numerous challenges, the JBLE project has remained on schedule and within budget. This success is due to the combination of an Area Development Plan with Customer Concept Documents and efficient use of DD1391 forms to expedite the funding process, said Nichols.

In collaboration with multiple agencies, including the 633rd Civil Engineering Squadron at JBLE and USACE Norfolk District, the Huntsville Center Planning and Programming Support team completed a Flight Line Area Development Plan and multiple Customer Concept Documents, administered the project award, participated in site visits, provided detailed deliverables reviews, and conducted the close-out of the project.

This is the second year in a row that the Center has been recognized by the APA’s National Federal Planning Division for their work on the JBLE project. In 2021, the Planning and Programming Support team received the organization’s Merit Award for Outstanding Technical Plan or Study for the Customer Concept Documents created for the beddown, as well as the Merit Award for Outstanding Area/Site Development Plan for the Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Campus Area Development Plan.

Nichols, who joined the Planning and Programming Support branch in 2018, has been leading the Center’s efforts on the JBLE project from the very beginning. She said her military experience has helped her lead the team to success.

“My background is Air Force, so I speak their language, understand their wants and requirements, and know who to contact when we need something,” she said. “Those things were vital on this project because we didn’t have any time to waste.”

The Federal Planning Division is one of 22 divisions under the Chicago-based, 40,000-member American Planning Association, a promotion and support organization for the community planning profession.

The APA’s federal division is a worldwide network of planning professionals dedicated to protecting and enhancing federal properties while improving the quality of life for people using federal lands and facilities.

To learn more about Huntsville Center’s Planning and Programming Support Branch, click here