Development in Vulnerable Environments (DIVE 1.0)

USAID cooperation with the Department of Defense (DoD) is an essential condition for the achievement of U.S. development and defense objectives. In order to achieve this, USAID and DoD must first have an understanding of and respect for each other’s roles and responsibilities, policies and strategies, and plans and programs. To advance shared learning, USAID’s Office of Civilian–Military Cooperation has developed a one-day course for U.S. military audiences called USAID DIVE 1.0:  Development in Vulnerable Environments.


The course is designed to provide an overview of USAID to a range of military audiences, however content is specifically tailored for those who may interact with USAID at the Combatant Command or field level.

Objectives and Methods

The central theme of the course is:  Development gains are critical to advance U.S. national security.  At the end of the course, participants will be able to:

1. Demonstrate increased knowledge of USAID’s structure, mission and best points of contact to collaborate on planning and implementation.

2. Describe some of USAID’s key strategies, policies, and activities.

3. Identify the components of USAID’s Program Cycle and potential areas for cooperation.

DIVE features a mix of instructional methods, including hands-on, interactive exercises designed to build on DoD participants’ experience and fully engage them in the application of concepts presented. It also incorporates recent examples of USAID - DoD cooperation in the field as a basis for a capstone exercise that allows DoD participants to link exercise decisions to real-life outcomes.

Course Outline

  Lesson 1: USAID Mission and Structure

  • Defines development and gives a brief history on the evolution of USAID.  

  • Explains why good development is vital to national security and USAID's role in the National Security Strategy.

  • Outlines USAID's budget, organizational structure, employee demographics, mission statement, values, and core objectives.

  • Describes where USAID works and how it has been able to impact change in developing countries with the help of implementing partners.

  • Briefly describes USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, the Office of Transition Initiatives, and more broadly, the Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance Bureau.

  • Highlights coordination opportunities.

Lesson 2: Strategies, Policies, and Activities

  • Introduces the “discipline of development” articulated through USAID’s Program Cycle, which reinforces USAID's policies, priorities, and strategies.

  • Identifies global development challenges confronted by DoD and USAID, and then demonstrates how USAID policies and strategies mitigate these challenges.

  • Discusses aid effectiveness, local solutions, USAID Forward and the USAID Policy Framework 2011-2015.

  • Introduces USAID’s operational principles and highlights its new U.S. Global Development Lab.

  • Explains specific USAID strategies and policies that are critical to civilian-military cooperation.

  • Gives real-world examples of activities that illustrate how policies and strategies are implemented.

Lesson 3: Planning and Implementation

  • Describes utility of USAID Country Development Cooperation Strategies in context of overall USG country planning.

  • Illustrates USAID's program planning processes and crosswalks them with DoD planning.

  • Describes how USAID designs programs using a variety of implementation mechanisms and partnerships.

  • Explains utility of USAID monitoring and evaluation.

  • Allows participants to apply knowledge and concepts presented, combined with DoD context, in the analysis of cooperation scenarios.

For questions about DIVE, please contact


Last updated: November 30, 2017

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