NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 12, 2021) – John Carter, security specialist in the Security Office, is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Employee of the Month for June 2021. He is recognized primarily for his efforts to identify the need for and detail a low-cost solution to obtain security signage for project sites across the district’s area of responsibility.
Lt. Col. Joseph Sahl, Nashville District commander, announced Carter’s selection and lauded him for being proactive and crafting an innovative process for acquiring signs for restricted areas at Corps facilities.
“Federal guidelines regarding restricted areas recently changed, requiring updates to signage. Though the guidance was updated, no process was identified within the guidance for ordering the new signs,” Sahl said. “He not only ensured the Nashville District was taken care of, but also shared what he had learned with the wider community of practice.”
The commander said Carter’s actions resulted in a process that will be used USACE-wide, setting the standard to be used by other security offices. In addition, he requested and secured headquarter approval to ensure funding was available to move forward with correcting all signs needing replacement, Sahl added.
In the Nashville District Security Office, Carter is responsible for the planning, development, evaluation, implementation, and review of Security Office programs. He is the district’s subject matter expert on physical security, antiterrorism and force protection, and crime prevention. He also develops and maintains physical security plans and conducts security reviews for construction projects.
Jay Klinger, Security Office chief, said he is accustomed to Carter’s problem-solving abilities. His tenacity to overcome challenges and pave a way forward with developing a plan for new signage requirements is exactly what he expected.
Klinger explained that significant regulatory changes with restricted area signs in the past two years dictates specifically approved verbiage. However, multiple variations of how signs are used, such on entry doors and fences, are inconsistent. Carter discerned the need for a clear course of implementation for the creation and ordering of all new signs, he added.
“John’s expertise, experience, and high degree of problem solving allows for hands off tasks, meaning I give him a mission and it will be completed to a high degree of proficiency without constant oversight,” Klinger said. “As with other offices we are faced with growing missions utilizing the same number of employees. His contributions enable a large degree of mission accomplishment, allowing the rest of the office to focus and multitask on other functional areas.”
Carter is the liaison with federal, state, military, and local law enforcement and security agencies. In the Nashville District he is charged with conducting physical security risk analysis and inspections of vulnerable areas, critical assets, locks, dams, power plants, operations areas, and resource offices
“As an operation security officer, I train the workforce on the OPSEC process and I review operational security requirements for contracts,” Carter said.
As for the security signs initiative, Carter said that he had to do research and find solutions because no guidance existed to fund and design a correct “restricted area” sign. He spent numerous hours contacting department public works offices at Army installations and physical security offices for information needed to meet requirements outlined in the Army regulation for the Army Physical Security Program.
“Because I had done the research months prior about the sign, I forwarded the printable sign and all the info I had to these offices and headquarters, which will use this sign that I constructed. It will be published in Army Regulation 190-13 for making an official sign. It will be used Corps wide,” Carter noted.
Carter is a native of Huntsville, Alabama, and his parents still live about 10 miles from Guntersville Lock on the Tennessee River where the Nashville District operates and maintains the navigation lock at the Tennessee Valley Authority project.
He served in the U.S. Army with the Military Police Corps and retired with more than 20 years of service in 2010. His assignments included locations in Asia and Europe. He also served previously in civil service as a physical security specialist at Fort Carson, Colorado, and Kaiserslautern, Germany. He joined the Nashville District in 2017.
In his off time, Carter said he enjoys boating, cooking, and visiting family, including his children and grandkids. When visiting projects, he said it’s fun to view the nature and wildlife.
Carter noted that his selection as employee of the month caught him off guard, but he is pleased to know that the Corporate Board voted for him due to his effort to fix something that was broken.
“I want to thank my wife Kim for all the support she has lent me throughout whatever endeavors I have taken on, never leaving my side,” Carter said.
Klinger noted that Carter’s contributions, especially with security signage, saves the entire U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, if not the entire Corps, immeasurable time and money with the in-house purchase avenue that has now been documented, and will likely be added to future operational orders.
“John’s strategic planning and keen perception in the field of security functions, particularly regarding signage regulations and requirements, will not only have a lasting effect on the Nashville District, but will help close the loop for others,” Sahl said.
(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.)