Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Ivor van Heerden warned about this.

NEW ORLEANS – Three top-ranking Army Corps of Engineers officials who led the agency's reconstruction work after Hurricane Katrina are stepping down, prompting critics to again question whether the Corps is able to protect the city from future disasters.

The latest retirements include two top civilians and the New Orleans district engineer. They come on the heels of the retirement of the agency's chief, Lt. Gen. Carl A. Strock, who said in August he was leaving his post for “family and personal reasons.”

The departing Corps officials dismissed suggestions that they are leaving because of criticism showered on the agency after Katrina. Forensics investigations into what caused flood walls to collapse revealed flawed work in the past largely caused the flooding of the central parts of New Orleans.

They're not leaving because of criticism; it's par for the course for the Corps of Engingeers. The top people never stay long, and the Corps loses expertise and institutional memory. It's part of what's been wrong all along. Somewhere in the archives I have a quote from an article in which Ivor van Heerden predicted this would happen.

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