Prioritizing America’s Water Resources Investments: Budget Reform for Civil Works Construction Projects at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

February 2007 - The nation’s water resources are a fundamental part of its wealth, and lie at the heart of its economic, social and environmental well-being.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has played a major role in managing those resources for more than 200 years. However, concerns have been growing about how the Corps’ projects are prioritized. In the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, questions about the Corps’ priorities grew more urgent. Congress asked the Academy to conduct a study that reviewed and recommended the best ways for the Corps to prioritize its projects.

Key Findings

The National Academy found that the Corps’ budget process greatly impacted its planning and prioritization of projects. In general, the Academy Panel recommended that individual projects be conceived as integral elements of strategically developed system plans designed to meet outcome-oriented performance targets consistent with high priority Corps missions.