USAID Office of Civilian-Military Cooperation Training

The Office of Civilian-Military Cooperation (CMC) Learning and Outreach Team serves as the primary point of contact for the Department of Defense (DoD) and USAID for civilian-military training opportunities. The Learning and Outreach Team works to improve mutual DoD and USAID understanding of each other’s roles and capabilities in order to improve development outcomes.  The the team is responsible for conducting instructor-led training to both internal USAID and external DoD audiences as well as facilitating USAID participation in DoD exercises, organizing DoD engagements and outreach with USAID personnel.

Internal USAID Training

The internal USAID training portfolio includes the Working with the Military instructor led training and a suite of online Working with the Military courses; Insignia & Rank, Basic DoD Information, DoD Funding Basics, and Putting Cooperation to Work.  CMC also coordinates other  training for USAID staff on topics related to civilian-military cooperation and national security.  CMC services include facilitating participation by USAID personnel at all levels in short-term DoD leadership, planning, and sector-specific courses.  In addition, CMC works closely with USAID/Office of Human Resources (OHR) to identify and provide support to USAID candidates selected to attend long-term training programs at DoD war and staff colleges.

Working with the Military - Instructor Led

The one-day Working with the Military instructor-led course teaches USAID personnel how to foster civilian-military cooperation in support of development objectives.  The course covers topics such as DoD planning and operations, structure and staffing, and funding basics. The course is essential to USAID employees who need to build effective civilian-military relations, identify and communicate with key DoD personnel, and plan and participate in civilian-military activities.

Working with the Military - Online Courses

The Working with the Military online courses are designed to provide information about the military that can help USAID professionals become more effective in a collaborative environment.  The Working with the Military program offers four visually engaging, interactive courses:

  • Insignia and Rank—identifies military rank structures and their relationships to Foreign Service Officer and General Schedule grades
  • Basic DoD Information—provides information about the Department of Defense and how its military components interrelate and support one another
  • DoD Funding Basics—addresses DoD funding for humanitarian, disaster, and civic aid activities, with an emphasis on aligning USAID and DoD efforts
  • Putting Cooperation to Work—illustrates best practices and methods for USAID/DoD collaboration

DoD Training Opportunities for USAID Professionals

CMC routinely facilitates short term, DoD-hosted training opportunities for USAID staff.  In these courses, USAID personnel join personnel from DoD and other interagency partners in DoD classrooms.  The following list highlights some of those training opportunities but is not comprehensive.

Army Senior Leader Seminar -  This one-week course enhances the preparation of the US Army’s senior colonels and GS-15 civilian employees for service at the national level.  The program is designed to better prepare attendees to serve in key strategic and advisory positions by exposing them to the insights and perspectives of a wide variety of notable strategic-level practitioners from both the public and private sector.  

Marine Senior Planners Course - The Marine Corps Senior Planners course is a two-week advanced professional military education opportunity designed to bridge the gap between top level schools for Lieutenant Colonels and senior leader development programs/capstones for Brigadier Generals. The course is intended to further educate and develop leaders to think critically at the interface of strategy and policy and lead effectively in the joint/coalition warfighting arena.

Joint Special Operations University (JSOU) educates Special Operations Forces executive, senior, and intermediate leaders and selected other national and international security decision-makers, both military and civilian, through teaching, research, and outreach in the science and art of Joint Special Operations.  JSOU invites USAID to participate in its Interagecy courses each year.  Course options include

  • Combating Terrorist Networks Interagency Seminar (CbTNIS)
  • Combined/Joint Force Special Operations Component Commander COURSE (C/JFSOCC)
  • Combating Terrorism Executive Interagency Seminar (CbTEIS)   
  • Special Operations Forces - Interagency Collaboration Course (SOFIACC)

Security Cooperation Management Action Officers Course (SCM-AO) - The Defense Institute for Security Assistance Management (DISAM) offers SCM-AO to provide a functional knowledge of security cooperation / security assistance planning considerations, authorities, funding and roles of the Department of State (DoS), Department of Defense (DoD) and other U.S. government agencies.

Dr. Rajiv Shah and Brigadier General Guy “Tom” Cosentino, Commandant of the National War College
Dr. Rajiv Shah and Brigadier General Guy “Tom” Cosentino, Commandant of the National War College, at the college's "USAID Wall"
(Photo by NDU AV)

Long Term Training Opportunities 

USAID personnel are assigned to DoD war colleges as students and faculty. These assignments are 1 year for students and 2-3 years for faculty and are an essential investment in the development of Agency leaders.  These opportunities provide both students and faculty the tools to think strategically, allow time for reflection and learning, and expose them to different perspectives in a rapidly changing world.  Below is a list of DoD long-term training venues that currently host USAID personnel.

National Defense University, Washington, DC

National War College - The National War College (NWC) prepares selected military officers and civilian officials for senior leadership roles through a course of study and related research that explores the elements of strategy, critical thinking, strategic analysis as well as leadership necessary to achieve national security objectives.  Graduates are awarded a Masters of National Security Strategy.  USAID typically has two faculty members and two students assigned to NWC.

Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy (formerly the Industrial College of the Armed Forces) - The Eisenhower School prepares selected military and civilians for strategic leadership by conducting postgraduate, executive-level courses of study and associated research dealing with how the nation resources its national security strategy. Graduates receive a Master of Science degree in National Resource Strategy.  USAID typically has two faculty and two students currently assigned to the Eisenhower School.

U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania - The U.S. Army War College (USAWC) prepares selected military, civilian, and international leaders for the responsibilities of strategic leadership in a joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational environment.  Students earn a fully accredited Master of Strategic Studies degree and gain valuable training in leadership, problem-solving, strategic planning, and contingency preparedness.  USAID typically has one faculty member and one student assigned to AWC.

U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS) - The School of Advanced Military Studies educates members of the U.S. Armed Forces, allies, and interagency partners on the volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous dimensions of the strategic security environment, and the effect of those dimensions on strategy formulation, implementation, and campaigning in a dynamic global setting.  One student, an FS 03 or equivalent, is assigned to the program focused on operational planning.  The other student, an FS02 or equivalent, is assigned to the smaller, senior-level program that is focused at the strategic level.  Graduates earn the Master of Military Art and Science degree.

External Training

The External portfolio includes: the Working with USAID course, participation in DoD’s exercise program, and ad hoc engagements with DoD that promote a greater understanding of civilian-military cooperation, the role of development in national security, and an overview of USAID and its capabilities.

Working with USAID

The half-day, instructor-led Working with USAID course for U.S. military audiences is designed to promote DoD’s understanding of USAID’s unique objectives, roles and capabilities.  The course features interactive methods designed to capture DoD participants’ experiences and fully engage them in the application of concepts presented in the course.  Department of Defense participants acquire knowledge that will enable them to understand USAID operations.  During the training the participants have the opportunity discuss the USAID policies that shape USAID programs in the field.  They also learn how to affect USAID’s planning process, and where the various touch points are for effective collaboration.  The course offers many examples of activities USAID implements worldwide, including examples that highlight civilian - military cooperation.

While the course is designed to provide an overview of USAID to a range of military audiences, the course is particularly useful for civil affairs staff and planners.  The course is modular in design, which facilitates tailoring of the content so the course can be given to a variety of military audiences.  USAID is currently piloting the Working with USAID course at military schools and combatant commands.  

Have you already completed the Working with USAID course? Click here for additional resources.

Exercise Participation   

CMC fields and prioritizes many requests from DoD partners for USAID personnel to participate in military exercises--both tabletop and field-based exercises.  CMC cooperates with the Joint Staff J7, Combatant Commands, and Military Services to develop exercises that permit USAID to help shape the scenario, provide a meaningful role for USAID participants, and enhance DoD understanding of USAID and the development mission.      

Other Engagements

CMC's Learning and Outreach Team delivers briefings that help explain the organization and key functions of USAID to DoD partners and familiarize U.S. Government civilians with military culture, structure, funding procedures, and other key information. Other briefings offered by CMC include “USAID 101” briefings for a variety of DoD audiences and a briefing on the Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster, and Civic Aid (OHDACA) program to familiarize civilians with funding and guidance. CMC engagement activities seek to promote more effective civilian-military relationships both at headquarters and in the field.


For information on these opportunities please contact

Last updated: July 14, 2014

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