HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Two U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville employees were recognized in late June by Brig. Gen. Geoff Van Epps, Northwest Division (NWD) commander, for their contributions to NWD while serving on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Sentinel Program Reconnaissance Team from September 2022 to June 2023.
Bret Styers and Carson Walker, USACE Ballistic Missile Defense Mandatory Center of Expertise (BMD MCX) employees, were both recognized with Army Civilian Achievement Medals for their efforts under the Sentinel Integrated Program Management Office while supporting the fielding of a strategic weapons system for the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center (AFNWC).
Set to replace the Cold War-era LGM-30 Minuteman III weapons system, the LGM-35A Sentinel weapon system weapon system requires upgrades in missile silos, control centers, and other ground infrastructure.
Established in 2006, AFNWC is the nuclear-focused center within Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) synchronizing all aspects of nuclear materiel management on behalf of the AFMC commander and in direct support of Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC).
USACE’s BMD MCX within the Center’s Ordnance and Explosives Directorate supports Department of Defense (DOD) BMD stakeholders and responsible USACE geographic divisions and districts by providing technical expertise and contract support in development and rehabilitation of tactical and non-tactical facilities and infrastructure. Huntsville Center has been designated to be the BMD MCX for USACE since 2016.
Walker is the BMD MCX technical integrator at a forward site located at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and sits directly with the AFNWC chief engineer. Styers is the BMD MCX senior program manager responsible for the Air Force and Army and provides senior leadership accountability within the USACE Integrated Program Office (IPO).
Styers said he and Walker are primarily responsible for the overall integration of all Huntsville Center resources and subject matter experts into Sentinel program infrastructure upgrades.
“We are members of the USACE Sentinel IPO where we are fully partnered with Northwest Division (NWD) in helping coordinate the work across multiple Districts and Divisions to assist the AFNWC in delivering the Sentinel Program,” Styers said.
“We are pulling the lessons learned from our extensive ballistic missile defense experience from across the enterprise and incorporating them into the program."
Jeff Watts, BMD MCX chief, said Styers and Walker’s work ensures NWD and AFNWC have the appropriate specialized BMD technical subject matter experts within Huntsville Center and USACE for the design of launch facilities and launch centers, through construction, to include available Architecture and Engineering acquisition tools.
“It’s great to see our partners take time to recognize our people and I’m so proud of Brett and Carson, but also all the folks working for this vital program,” Watts said.
“Although the Cold War ended, not much has changed in the mission of defending our homeland except for quickly advancing technology requiring change, and our mission focused team (including Derek Beck, Jerry Henley, Josh Gaines, Dan Hawk, Jeff Hoki) does an outstanding job collaborating with all the stakeholders supporting the BMD mission.”