Corps' NW Division & Portland District
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has new hands on the reins as of May 30 with Col. William E. Rapp assuming command of the Northwestern Division and Col. Steven Miles becoming commander of the division's Portland District.
Rapp, selected by Army for promotion to brigadier general, most recently served in Iraq for Gen. David Petraeus as director of the Commander's Initiatives Group for the Multi-National Forces-Iraq. He has also held numerous staff and command positions in the United States and abroad. Lt. Gen. Robert L. Van Antwerp, chief of engineers, presided over the command change ceremony held at the site of the old Portland Armory Annex.
From his Portland headquarters, Rapp directs a 4,700-member workforce and more than $3.2 billion in civil works, environmental restoration, and military construction in more than a dozen states, primarily within the Columbia and Missouri river basins. These activities are primarily implemented through five subordinate district offices in Seattle and Walla Walla, Wash., Portland, Kansas City, Mo., and Omaha, Neb.
Rapp, a distinguished graduate of the Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers in 1984. He holds a master's degree and a doctorate in political science from Stanford University and a master's degree in national security policy from the U.S. Army War College. He is a licensed professional engineer.
Miles, the outgoing division commander, assumed command of the Portland District office in a separate afternoon ceremony.
Miles takes over for Col. Thomas O'Donovan, who was selected to command the Afghanistan Engineer District in Kabul.
The Portland District is responsible for the Corps' water resource activities in western Oregon and southwestern Washington and has one of the Corps' most comprehensive and diversified civil works programs. Emphasis is placed on environmental protection and restoration, fish and wildlife protection and enhancement, hydropower production, navigation, flood damage reduction, recreation and operation of the Corps'' center of expertise for hydropower and pump station engineering.
A native of Cherry Hill, N.J., Miles received a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Norwich University and was commissioned in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1985. He earned a master's degree in business administration from Boston University in 1994 and a second master's degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College in 2007.
Miles served as Northwestern Division commander from November 2007 to May 2008 and as deputy commander from July to November 2007.
Earlier assignments included deployment to Fallujah, Iraq, with the Gulf Region Division as the area engineer in direct support of the Marine Expeditionary Force, executing stability and reconstruction operations in western Iraq (Al Anbar Province), 2005-2006.
Miles is a licensed professional engineer in Oregon and Virginia.
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