As the result of frequent and deadly terrorist attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq, the U.S. military sought to quickly and efficiently improve safety at high-density locations used by our troops and diplomats. Experts from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Engineer Research and Development Center and the USACE Protection Design Center collaborated to determine the best approach to retrofitting existing facilities with no or minimal impact on operations.

Tetra Tech was lead engineer for the design of more than 100 multilayered protective structures at 22 military installations and U.S. Department of State locations in Iraq. The Overhead Coverage System (OCS) Program provides first-of-a-kind force protection structures never before implemented by USACE. Its technical and logistical challenges have included:

  • Fast-track project delivery in remote and hostile locations, with extreme weather conditions and a shortage of skilled labor and equipment
  • The need to keep all facilities fully operational during construction
  • The absence of as-built documentation for most facilities
  • The challenge of relocating utilities and equipment, given the tight interface between existing and new structures and footings at congested sites
  • The need for a separate foundation design for each facility, a challenge made more difficult by unfavorable soil conditions that precluded the use of standard foundation methods

In spite of these challenges, the OCS structures have performed as designed and withstood rocket attacks. They are a model for retrofitting structures for force protection in a fast and cost-effective manner. The OCS will usher in the next generation of physical protection capability. Tetra Tech has been recognized for its achievements under the OCS Program, receiving the following awards:

  • 2009 Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) National Program of the Year Award
  • 2009 CMAA New England Chapter Building Project of the Year Award
  • 2009 Design Build Institute of America (DBIA) Rehabilitation/Renovation/Restoration Project of the Year
  • 2007 American Council Of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts (ACEC/MA) Engineering Excellence Platinum Award
  • 2007 ACEC National Award Finalist