Industry sources say a search is on for candidates to be the 56th Chief of Engineers of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a presidential nomination requiring Senate confirmation. An Army committee of senior leaders is said to be assembling in secret a short list of candidates.

The chief’s post typically carries a four-year appointment. Lt. Gen. Robert L. Van Antwerp has held the position since May 2007.

Marc D. Young, a spokesman at Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C., says the Corps does not participate in the nominating process, which is managed by the Army’s chief of staff. “Usually we don’t find out until the rest of the world finds out,” Young says.

However, Corps observers tell ENR a short list is likely to include Maj. Gen. William Grisoli, deputy commanding general for civil and emergency operations since December 2009. Grisoli served a tour in Afghanistan as the senior engineer. Earlier, he was commander of the Corps’ Northwest and North Atlantic divisions.

Industry sources also mention Maj. Gen. Jeffrey J. Dorko, deputy commanding general for military and international operations. He led the Southwestern Division from June 2004 to August 2007 and commanded the Gulf Region Division in Iraq for a year, beginning in October 2007.

Another possibility, sources say, is Maj. Gen. Merdith “Bo” Temple, deputy commanding general and deputy chief of engineers since December 2009. But the deputy commanding general has become chief only five times since 1775.

Also mentioned is Maj. Gen. Michael J. Walsh, the Mississippi Valley Division commander since February 2008. He also has led the Gulf Region and South Atlantic divisions.

There may be other candidates. One source says, “What you never know is who else is under consideration by the board [who] would not be on your screen.”

A main focus for the new chief will be supporting the war in Afghanistan. On the civil-works side, the Corps’ budget is likely to be under severe pressure.