Corps of Engineers Alters Levee Strategy

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As the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced new measures to prevent another levee failure. The Corps says it will start assessing projects based on risk instead of cost.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

As New Orleans works to rebuild its justice system, the Army Corps of Engineers is working toward preventing further levee failures. The Commander of the Corps, Lieutenant General Carl Strock, has announced several new measures. Chief among them is a better review system.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Experts agree that more reviews, better materials and smarter designs could have prevented the breach of the levees and saved New Orleans from flooding. Other changes include assessing projects based on risk and not cost, looking at inspections of public works for the entire life-span of the infrastructure, and doing more to communicate with the public about the dangers they face.

MONTAGNE: One long-time critic with the National Science Foundation team studying the levee failures says the changes are a step in the right direction but that real improvement will only come from more fundamental changes to the core bureaucracy.

General Strock has been criticized for the Corps's failures in New Orleans, as well as the slow pace of reconstruction in Iraq. He announced his retirement earlier this month, citing family and personal reasons.

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