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In civilian projects, the Corps of Engineers became the lead federal flood control agency and significantly expanded its civil works activities, becoming among other things, a major provider of hydroelectric energy and the country's leading provider of recreation; its role in responding to natural disasters also grew dramatically.In the late 1960s, the agency became a leading environmental preservation and restoration agency.Many of the early engineers in the Continental Army were former French officers.Louis Lebègue Duportail, a lieutenant colonel in the French Royal Corps of Engineers, was secretly sent to America in March 1777 to serve in Washington's Continental Army.To overcome this obstacle, the Confederate Congress passed legislation that gave a company of engineers to every division in the field; by 1865, they actually had more engineer officers serving in the field of action than the Union Army.
It comprises the executive office and 17 staff principals. Army Corps of Engineers is organized geographically into eight permanent divisions, one provisional division, one provisional district, and one research command reporting directly to the HQ. USACE built and maintained navigation systems and ports provide the means to deploy vital equipment and other material.
USACE has two directors who head up Military Programs and Civil Works, Director of Military Programs and Director of Civil Works. Corps of Engineers Research and Development (R&D) facilities help develop new methods and measures for deployment, force protection, terrain analysis, mapping, and other support.
USACE directly supports the military in the battle zone, making expertise available to commanders to help solve or avoid engineering (and other) problems.
In July 1777 he was appointed colonel and commander of all engineers in the Continental Army, and in November 17, 1777, he was promoted to brigadier general.
When the Continental Congress created a separate Corps of Engineers in May 1779 Duportail was designated as its commander. It was re-established during the Presidency of George Washington.