Updated: Oct 23, 2020
Videos for the Civil Affairs Association’s annual fall Symposium are now available on the Association YouTube channel and event site. This year’s meetings on “Civil Affairs: A Force for Influence in Competition” gathered over 723 registrants – by far the largest Association event in decades.
The expanded, multicomponent, interservice, and interorganizational platform for rich intellectual capitalization of civil affairs professional and force development took place from Monday-Wednesday, 5-7 October 2020. Lieutenant General Charles Hooper (Ret.), Former Director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency led off as keynote speaker with a webinar on “Beyond Random Acts of Kindness: Coordinating Military Engagement in the Era of Multi-Domain Operations.” In his remarks, LTG (R) Hooper talked extensively of CA’s critical role in one of the main objectives of the U.S. National Security and National Defense Strategies; namely, to “strengthen alliances and attract new partners” – a theme often hit on throughout the workshops and panel discussions.
Lieutenant General Jody J. Daniels, former CA officer and the first woman selected as Chief of Army Reserve and Commanding General, U.S. Army Reserve Command, followed up with remarks on “Civil Affairs and the Future of the Army Reserve.” Brigadier General Robert S. Cooley Jr., a CA officer now U.S. Army Reserve Command Chief of Staff, closed with comments and further discussion on how CA can be prepared to deliver “last inch influence.”
Workshops began later that day, the first run by the Proponent at the U.S. Army JFK Special Warfare Center & School, on Civil Affairs Force Modernization Update on CA in Army and Marine Corps Initiatives. The second workshop, belonging to the U.S. Army Civil Affairs & Psychological Operations Command (Airborne), featured new Commanding General Brigadier General Jeffrey Coggin’s vision for going forward on command strategic initiatives for “harnessing collective influence.”
Tuesday the 6th resumed with the Non-Commissioned Officer Forum on “The Role of the CA NCO in Multi-Domain and Joint All-Domain Operations” featuring key senior Army and Marine NCO leaders. The fourth and final workshop, on Current CA Operations, gathered perspectives from junior CA leaders from major geographic regions with fresh experience in CA operations.
Panels on special topics began later that day, the first an interagency panel on “Young Leaders Working Across Gaps and Along Seams.” Two of the four panelists, from Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development, also serve in Army and Marine reserve CA. The second panel, on “Gender, Population Engagement, and Civil Affairs,” drew a very large online crowd. In addition to the Army Combined Arms Center, women CA leaders weighed in on gender mainstreaming CA programs as well as doctrine.
Wednesday the 7th opened up with two more panel webinars, one on Allied and multinational perspectives on civil-military engagement and influence. CA officer Lieutenant General Hugh Van Roosen, Deputy Military Advisor at the United Nations Office of Military Affairs, briefed on major innovations on civil-military coordination (CIMIC) and other engagement capabilities in UN peace operations. Updates during the well-attended discussion also came from the NATO CIMIC Center of Excellence, British Army Land Warfare Center, and Canadian Army Influence Activities Task Force.
Finishing the panel webinars was a civil affairs industrial base discussion, led by Association Vice President Lieutenant Colonel Arnel David, on “An Innovative Partnership with Hollywood and Valka-Mir on the Human Domain Matrix VR Simulation, Training Cross-Cultural Communications and Civil Engagement.”
The Symposium finale was the presentation of the five papers selected for publication by the Association of the United States Army Institute of Land Warfare. Webinar participants competed for best paper presentation cash prizes of $1,000 (first); $500 (second); and ($250) third. The winners were (in order of award):
· “Strategic Engagement: Illuminating Civil Affairs Influence Pathways”
- Lieutenant Colonel Shafi Saiduddin and Mr. Robert Schafer