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A Review of Coastal Navigation Asset
Management Initiatives Within the
Coastal Inlets Research Program (CIRP)
Part 1: Coastal Structures

by Kenneth Ned Mitchell

PURPOSE: This is the first Coastal and Hydraulics Engineering Technical Note (CHETN) in a series summarizing research initiatives underway since fiscal year (FY) 2007 within the Coastal Inlets Research Program (CIRP) concerning asset management of coastal navigation structures and channels. This CHETN describes the Coastal Structures Management, Analysis, and Ranking Tool (CSMART), a decision-support package for prioritizing coastal structures for annual maintenance funding that has been developed within the CIRP’s Coastal Navigation Portfolio Management (CNPM) work unit.

BACKGROUND AND OVERVIEW: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has had a formal Asset Management (AM) program in place since FY2006. This is a Headquarters (HQ) initiative intended to provide an all-encompassing, systematic framework for risk-informed lifecycle management of civil works assets owned and maintained by the Corps (USACE Asset Management Plan, 2008). The AM philosophy applies to all phases of a project’s life cycle, from planning and construction through periodic maintenance and upkeep, major rehabilitation(s), and eventual divestment. At each phase, the project is evaluated in terms of risks and consequences of failure, and funding decisions are made so as to maximize the return on investment over the anticipated project life cycle. One caveat to this approach is that present funding realities within the Corps compel decision makers to allocate limited resources towards only those projects deemed most critical to fulfillment of the USACE mission. Several issues are driving the funding shortfalls, including the reduction in funds released from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) over the last several years (GAO 2008). Therefore, adoption of the AM approach should be made with the understanding that investment decisions will be made based upon a project’s relative performance against all others in the USACE portfolio.

Since its inception, the USACE-HQ AM initiative has worked with the Corps R&D community and District and Division personnel to develop tools and strategies for implementation of the asset management philosophy into the Corps business practice. The research initiatives described herein have been supported solely by the Corps’ Navigation Business Line through annual R&D funding, and represent a good-faith effort to be proactive in adopting the asset management philosophy for operations and maintenance (O&M) of the coastal navigation infrastructure. The primary mission of the CIRP is to conduct research and develop tools for reducing the costs of maintaining Federal navigable coastal inlets and channels (Hughes and Kraus, 2006), making it well suited for the task of applying AM methods to the USACE coastal navigation portfolio.

In keeping with the spirit of the AM initiative as it pertains to coastal navigation infrastructure, the CIRP established a Coastal Structures Asset Management work unit in FY 2007. Initial