When we think of the National Guard in conjunction with the Seven Revolutions, we tend to think of “conflict”. I recently learned that the modern National Guard is also very well suited to deal with the topic of “resource management”. The one advantage the Guard has over the other branches of the military is an advantageous emphasis on human capital. As citizen soldiers, the Guard is made up of civilian professionals from all walks of life. Lt. Gen. Clyde Vaughn, the Director of the Army National Guard, has seen the wisdom in bringing this resource to bare in Afghanistan. Gen. Vaughn, along with Secretary of the Army Pete Geren, Missouri Farm Bureau President Charles Kruse, and adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard Maj. Gen. King Sidwell, developed the Agri-business Development Team (ADT).
The ADTs are a National Guard units composed of farmers, extension agents, and engineers. These special units are helping Afghan farmers learn modern techniques in agriculture. Think “Green Revolution 2.0″ in Afghanistan. Since the advent of the ADTs, units from Texas have partnered with Texas A&M to analyze soil samples, aquifer withdraw rates, and crop suggestions. Other units from other states have established similar partnerships while partnering with specific regions or tribal groups in Afghanistan. The ADTs provide local farmers with the skills needed to manage their local resources. These connections allow the Afghan people to encounter Americans as more than soldiers with guns. The ADTs relationships with the local communities give the people the means to support themselves and their families. This is a huge step for building trust in a land where nearly 80% of the population is involved in agriculture.
It has been said that no country can win a war in Afghanistan. This may be true, but what the Russians couldn’t do with bullets, perhaps American can do with bread.