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Symposium Produces Winners

Updated: Feb 8, 2020

Ryan McCannell’s “The Evolution of Civil Affairs and Interagency Partnerships in Sub-Saharan Africa” was the winner among the Civil Affairs Issue Papers presented at the 2018 Symposium at Ft. Bragg, NC. First prize was a cash award of $1,000.

Coming in second was “Optimizing Civil Affairs through Branding and Narrative Strategies” by Maj. Shafi Saiduddin and Sgt. 1st Class (Ret.) Robert Schafer, which drew a $500 prize for the paper.

Tied for third was Capt. Patrick Casserleigh’s “Optimizing Civil Affairs through Reorganizing the Force” and “Civil Affairs 38G Functional Specialists: From Strategy to Reality” by Maj. Giancarlo Newsome and Capt. Jesse Elmore. Each paper was awarded $250.

Rounding out the five papers to appear in the 2018-19 Civil Affairs Issue Papers was “Developing Civil Affairs: Increasing Soldier Flexibility and Doctrinal Specificity” by Maj. Mazi Markel and Sgt. 1st Class Max Steiner.

“The quality of these papers becomes better and better each year and are more responsive to the Call for Papers with granular recommendations the Regiment can work on.” Issue Papers Committee Chairman Brig. Gen. (ret.) Bruce Bingham noted as he introduced the authors to the nearly 100 Symposium participants who cast their ballots.

As a platform for open exchange of ideas involving those with the greatest stake in the future of their force, the Symposium, including the workshop, keynote presentation, civil and military panels, and paper presentations, helps policy-level and civil affairs leaders at command and institutional levels shape the future of civil affairs. The U.S. Army JFK Special Warfare Center and School, which holds the proponent office for civil affairs and looks at force development and doctrine issues, obtains operator input for key documents such as Army 2028 Echelons Above Brigade in Multi-Domain Operations it is working on this fall.

“We hope our paper helps senior leadership,” Giancarlo later commented. “38G needs a good senior leader champion. The Symposium gave us missing context and language.”

“[It is] challenging to foster innovation within large organizations like the military,” Saiduddin added. “The Association, working closely with the Proponent, has really been a catalyst for change, sort of like a startup incubator. I haven't seen anything similar in other military branches or government organizations.”

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Along with the Symposium executive summary and workshop report, the papers will be published next spring in time for the Civil Affairs Roundtable in Washington, D.C. on April 2nd .

Meantime, the paper summaries (here) and presentations (above) are available for download. A more detailed report on the Symposium is to come.

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