A Missouri farmer and civil engineer, R.D. James, has been selected to serve as assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works, a role in which he will oversee the U.S. Corps of Engineers among other responsibilities.
The post is important for the nation’s commerce, especially agriculture. In his new role, James will establish policy direction and provide supervision of programs for conservation and development of water and wetland resources, flood control, navigation and shore protection.
A native of Fulton County, Ky., James and his family have had farming, ginning and grain elevator operations in the Missouri Bootheel for decades. He served on the Mississippi River Commission for 37 years, first appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981. In that position, James helped lead the organization charged with improving the condition, fostering navigation, promoting commerce and preventing destructive floods in the nation’s most important waterway for shipment of goods.
He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate Jan. 25 and sworn in Feb. 5 as assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works. In announcing the confirmation, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “R.D. James understands the importance of our inland waterways system. He has an impressive background and is the right person to address our nation’s water infrastructure needs.