President Donald Trump recently appointed Maj. Gen. Richard G. Kaiser as the president of the Mississippi River Commission and Col. Paul E. Owen as a member of the commission. Commission appointments are nominated by the President of the U.S. and vetted by the U.S. Senate.
Kaiser is the commander and division engineer of the Mississippi Valley Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, headquartered in Vicksburg. He serves as the senior military officer in the division, responsible for water resource engineering solutions in a 370,000-square-mile area, extending from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and encompassing all or portions of 12 states. The division’s work is carried out by six district offices located in St. Paul, Minnesota; Rock Island, Illinois; St. Louis, Missouri; Memphis, Tennessee; Vicksburg; and New Orleans. Prior to assuming command of MVD, Kaiser served as commanding general of the Combined Security Transition Command and deputy chief of staff for Security Assistance, Headquarters, Resolute Support in Afghanistan.
Owen, who was confirmed for promotion to the grade of brigadier general by the U.S. Senate this month, is the commander and division engineer of the Southwestern Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, headquartered in Dallas. With four district offices in Little Rock, Arkansas; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Galveston and Fort Worth, Texas; the division encompasses all or part of seven states, and covers some 2.3 million acres of public land and water. As the SWD commander and division engineer, Owen oversees hundreds of water resource development and military design and construction projects. Prior to assuming command of the division, Owen served as the chief of staff for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, D.C.
The Mississippi River Commission was created by an Act of Congress on June 28, 1879, to plan and provide for the general improvement of the entire length of the Mississippi River. The commission studies and reports on modifications or changes made to the Mississippi River and Tributaries project, a project that delivers dependable navigation and flood risk management to the Mississippi River valley. Since 1928, the project has prevented more than $800 billion in flood damages, or $54 for every dollar invested, and is critical to the nation’s global economic prosperity, energy security, and arguably, the American way of life. The project reduces the risk of inundation and financial instability for a population of more than 4.5 million people; numerous power plants, oil refineries, oil and gas wells, and natural gas transmission pipelines; an agricultural industry consisting of 22.5 million acres of cropland valued at $51 billion; and manufacturing facilities that generate $106 billion in revenues and employ 207,000 workers.
The presidentially appointed Mississippi River Commission consists of three officers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a representative from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and three civilians, two of whom must be civil engineers. In addition to Kaiser and Owen, the current Mississippi River Commission is comprised of the following members: the Honorable Sam E. Angel, a civilian member from Lake Village, Arkansas; the Honorable R.D. James, a civil engineer from New Madrid, Missouri; the Honorable Norma Jean Mattei, Ph.D., a civil engineer from Metairie, Louisiana; Rear Adm. Shepard Smith, director, Office of Coast Survey, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Silver Spring, Maryland; and Brig. Gen. Mark Toy, commanding general of Great Lakes and Ohio River Division headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio.
For more information on the Mississippi River Commission, visit www.mvd.usace.army.mil/mrc.