The COVID-19 pandemic forced the Civil Affairs Association to hastily move its 7 April Roundtable from the National Guard Armory in Washington, D.C., to cyberspace. Beyond maintaining momentum, it turned out more productive than originally anticipated.
At least 300 participants logged in for the main tele-meeting alone, instead of the 100 or so who normally attend in person. The event, made possible by Defense Innovation Network’s HeySummit platform, centered around a virtual panel of military and civilian interagency guests to ensure the Civil Affairs Corps and its many partners heard the latest and greatest from around the table. The Civil Affairs Proponent at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center & School (USAJFKSWCS), U.S. civilian interagency partners, and the Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) Center of Excellence provided live updates on changes and initiatives of impact or interest as the Corps deliberates its future in the 2020 Civil Affairs Force Modernization Assessment, due for completion this fall.
In a highly effective and efficient manner, the virtual version of the annual force and professional development gathering also enabled CA-related policy and institutional leaders in Washington, and Ft. Bragg, NC, to gain informed feedback on critical related policy development and implementation. Beyond significant improvements in online services, such as the Eunomia Journal, the Association tapped into powerful new ways and means to strengthen the Corps that secures the victory.
With the overwhelming success of the virtual version of the Roundtable having gone viral, the Association is contemplating hosting more online events for the benefit of its members, the CA Corps, and its partners. Later this spring, it will decide on this as well as the timing and location of the next Symposium under the topic of “Civil Affairs: A Force for Influence and Competition” for which the next call for papers will appear in mid-May.
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