The Chief of Engineers Awards of Excellence Program (AEP) was created in 1965 to recognize and promote excellence in design achievements by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its professional partners. Over its 57 year history, the program has presented a total of 577 awards in the 37 times it has been judged.

Two types of awards are given in each of the two primary categories of Design/Military Design and Environmental/Civil Design.

The Chief of Engineers Award of Excellence is the highest award. Only one award may be given for an entry in each of the two primary categories. This award requires the unanimous decision of the jury for an entry that truly exhibits excellence in all major professional design disciplines. The jury is not obligated to nominate any entry for this award.

Honor Awards are also given in both primary categories to entries that demonstrate or stimulate excellence in each of the design disciplines. The jury determines the number of awards. An honor award is given to an entry based on a majority decision of the jury with no juror casting a dissenting vote.

Merit Awards are given for projects that may be related to individual disciplines (e.g., landscape architecture, interior design, planning, historic preservation, adaptive reuse, sustainable design, discipline specific engineering, etc). The jury determines the number and types of merit awards. A merit award is given to an entry based on the recommendation of at least two jurors with no juror casting a dissenting vote.

USACE Design Team of the Year Award is awarded to the design team of the in-house designed project that achieves the highest-level award in the Chief of Engineers Design and Sustainability Awards Program. In the event that more than one in-house designed project receives the same level award, multiple awards will be given.