Col. James J. Handura, PMP

Commander, South Pacific Division

US Army Corps of Engineers South Pacific Division
Published July 9, 2021
Updated: Nov. 28, 2023

Colonel James J. Handura assumed duties as the Commander and Division Engineer of South Pacific Division (SPD), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Nov. 28, 2023.  Established in 1888 and headquartered in San Francisco, SPD is one of nine USACE regional commands. The region encompasses all or part of ten states with four operating districts headquartered in Albuquerque, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Francisco. As the SPD Commander and Division Engineer, he is responsible for leading a workforce of more than 2,500 military and civilians, overseeing hundreds of water resource development, military, and interagency design and construction projects valued at more than $6 billion in support of our communities, our Nation, and our warfighters.

A native of Clearwater, Florida, Handura graduated in 1996 from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee as a Distinguished Military Graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Geology, and a commission in the Engineer Regiment. He holds a Master of Science in Geology and Geophysics from the University of Missouri-Rolla, a Master’s degree in Military Art and Science – Theater Operations from the U.S. Army School of Advanced Military Studies, and a Master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College. He is also certified Project Management Professional.

Prior to South Pacific Division, Handura served as the Chief of Staff for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters in Washington, DC. Handura began his military service with the United States Navy Seabee Reserves, serving as a Utilitiesman from 1987 to 1989, at Bayboro Harbor, St. Petersburg, Florida. From 1989 to 1993, he served in the U.S. Army as an enlisted Combat Engineer, with the 82nd Engineer Battalion (Federal Republic of Germany) and the 20th Engineer Battalion (Ft. Campbell, Kentucky and later Ft. Hood, Texas).

Handura’s command assignments include Commander Sacramento District, USACE; Commander 19th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade, XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Knox, Kentucky; and Deputy District Commander New Orleans District, USACE.  

Handura’s key staff assignments include Joint Staff J7 Deployable Training Division Lead Observer Trainer, and Engineer Observer Trainer; Executive Officer and S3, 7th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade, XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Drum, New York; Commander’s Initiatives Group Strategic Planner, Multi-National Force-Iraq; J3 Future Operations Planner, Multi-National-Force-Iraq; Deputy Resident Engineer, and Project Engineer, Florida Area Office, Mobile District, USACE; and Assistant Task Force Engineer Task Force Falcon KFOR 3B. 

Handura’s operational deployments include Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm; Operation Joint Guardian; Operation Enduring Freedom; and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and the Meritorious Service Medal. He is a recipient of the Ranger Tab, Sapper Tab, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Joint Staff Identification Badge, French Commando School Badge, and the Army Engineer Association’s Silver de Fleury Medal.