January 23, 2009
DAI Honored for Civil Affairs Training Provided to Deploying Troops
There are field manuals. And then there is the ground truth.
DAI’s Bronwen Morrison was presented a plaque of appreciation this week in recognition of the training assistance she and DAI colleague Karen Walsh recently delivered in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The award was presented by Army Maj. Sean D. McLaughlin, manager of the Mobilization Civil Affairs Course, 1st Training Brigade, U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command.
In September and November of last year, Morrison and Walsh, both principal development specialists in DAI’s Stability Operations team, spent four days sharing their on-the-ground knowledge with U.S. troops preparing to deploy to Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Horn of Africa. The troops are to serve as civil affairs officers and work with Provincial Reconstruction Teams. Morrison and Walsh have a combined 35 years of overseas experience, many spent in conflict zones.
“They [Morrison and Walsh] are good because they have a lot of real world experience in the theater,” McLaughlin said. “They were able to tell the guys, this is how it looks in the [field manuals], but this is the ground truth of how it really operates.’”
Civil affairs is one of the fastest growing specialties in the military, McLaughlin said. Civil affairs personnel serve as a liaison between the inhabitants of a conflict zone or disaster area and the military presence. Among other duties, these troops advise the local commander of the status of the civilian population, facilitate assistance to locals by coordinating military operations with nongovernmental and intergovernmental organizations (NGOs and IGOs), and distribute aid and supplies directly to those in need.
McLaughlin credited Morrison and Walsh with training the deploying troops on how they could best work with assets already on the ground—including U.S. Government interagency actors, NGOs, and IGOs—to carry out projects that serve local populations.
Morrison and Walsh performed similar training last year in Fort Meade, Maryland, and have been invited to help train the Staten Island-based 353rd Civil Affairs Command.
For more on DAI’s Stability services, click here.