The military commanders of the Army Corps of Engineers are waging a behind-the-scenes campaign to boost the agency’s $4 billion civil works budget by more than 50 percent, even as the Clinton administration is publicly questioning the agency’s traditional agenda of major water projects. Many of those projects have been criticized as wasteful and environmentally destructive; earlier this month the agency was accused of manipulating a Mississippi River study to justify a new construction project opposed by enviros. The Corps’ military leaders presented a detailed slide show on the expansion plans to Corps officials nationwide, but without the knowledge of the civilian assistant Army secretary, Joseph Westphal, who is supposed to control the agency’s civil works policy. After being informed about the growth plans by a reporter, Westphal said, “Oh my God. My God. I have no idea what you’re talking about. … I don’t think we should be in the business of searching for work.”