Skip to main content Skip to main navigation Skip to footer content

Center For Irrigation Technology

ADAPT & USACAPOC to Recruit & Train New Civil Affairs Specialists in Agriculture

(PDF version)

In 1942, following combat operations in North Africa and while preparing for combat in Europe, General Eisenhower communicated the following to the US Army Chief of Staff, General Marshall, "The sooner I can get rid of these questions that are outside the military in scope, the happier I will be!" This type of sentiment expressed by Military Commanders across theaters over the years is the norm, not the exception.

We are approaching 19 years since America was attacked on 9/11 and as a result, we have seen our Forces continuously engaged around the world. Most of these engagements are not defined in the traditional military sense - tank versus tank or even US soldier and Marine versus bad guy with a gun - but more often have to do with building relationships through military collaborations that appear to be more business, health care, education and infrastructure oriented. In other words, more “civilian” in nature.

Agriculture has been recognized by Commanders as a key component of local economies around the world. A stable agriculture sector touches every part of the Commander’s operating environment including the economy, health, and general disposition of the local community. In other words, the stability of the region. As military men and women continue to deploy around the world, Fresno State University has taken an active role over the last 10 years to teach our soldiers the fundamentals of Agriculture. This mechanism has been the delivery of “Agricultural Development for Armed Forces Pre-Deployment Training” (ADAPT), a hands-on, practical training program in agriculture that starts at the village level and works up to policy and planning in order to provide Civil Affairs practitioners and agriculture specialists with the perspective and the resources to stabilize local food systems.

Agriculture is complex and the world is complex. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has recognized the need to have more Americans in uniform who can deal with the world’s exponentially increasing complexities. For these reasons, the US Army is now seeking 25 professionals that will serve as US Army Civil Affairs Agricultural Officers. These Officers will assist Commanders around the world on all matters relating to Agriculture and Food Security. 

Even 25 agricultural professionals will not be able to address every aspect as it relates to Agriculture. For this reason, Fresno State and USACAPOC(A), (US Army Civil Affairs & Psychological Operations Command-Airborne), are exploring a relationship that would have Fresno State and ADAPT train and support these new Agricultural experts alongside other US Government entities like USAID.

This is not an entirely new concept. The approach was adopted during World War II and, more recently, best captured in popular culture in the movie “The Monuments Men.” The movie is a true story and focuses on professionals who are from the Smithsonian Institution or possess the type of skill sets the Smithsonian employs. The movie accurately depicts the need for specialists during WWII who had specific knowledge of the art world for the purpose of locating, authenticating, preserving and returning countless works of art stolen by the Nazis. The destruction of art and historical sites is still a significant issue today which is why the US Army last year signed an MOU with the Smithsonian Institute that will support a team of Cultural Heritage experts to serve in the US Army. 

Accordingly, Fresno State has recently submitted a proposal to USACAPOC(A) to be the partner institution that assists the Command with all things Agriculture. Although there are many approvals and reviews ahead, there is little doubt that Fresno State’s Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology will be a key enabler to USACAPOC(A) and its frequent engagements around the world where Agricultural and Food Security play a major role in stability. Stay tuned for more news about this exciting opportunity.

In the interim, if you are interested in being considered for a Commission in the US Army Reserves for this specific program please contact MAJ Dale Kooyenga at Candidates are required to have a Master’s Degree and at least 4 years of agricultural experience. Previous military experience and language skills are highly valued, but not required.

Major Dale Kooyenga is the 38G Capabilities Development Manager, Strategic Initiatives Group, USACAPOC(A)