Agrarian Warriors: The Quiet Success of National Guard Agribusiness Development Teams in Afghanistan

By Leppert, Martin A. | Army, June 2010 | Go to article overview

Agrarian Warriors: The Quiet Success of National Guard Agribusiness Development Teams in Afghanistan


Leppert, Martin A., Army


I have looked across the epic desolation of the Afghan landscape many times, pondering the country's future and how the collective power of the United States and its allies can be brought to bear to bring this ancient land back from the abyss of feudalism and chaos. Recent global conflicts continue to spark changes in military doctrine and training methodologies. Forward-thinking in their approach, these new concepts are deeply rooted in lessons learned from periods of conflict and reconstruction throughout history. %hus a look back at our proud military heritage reaps valuable .knowledge applicable today in the fight for the hearts and minds of the Afghan people.

In 2002, I took part in a joint combined military exercise conducted on the Japanese island of Hokkaido. Despite cold, gray days and lightly falling snow, I could not help but I notice the striking similarities between the Japanese rural landscape and the southern Wisconsin farm region where I grew up. Familiar Midwestem-style farms with ceramic silos, barns and dairy cows all reminded me of the toils iof my American youth.

Noting the commonalities, I asked a Japanese officer if he knew of Hokkaido's early development; his response was a revelation. In the late 19th century and during post-World War Il occupation, development advisors from the U.S. Army, academia and the private sector poured into Japan. Journeymen from America's heartland particularly reshaped the agribusiness sector of Hokkaido. Together these outsiders partnered to profoundly influence every facet of a nation's rebirth. I shelved that bit of information regarding Japan until fate - and the Army - ordered me to southern Afghanistan in 2006 as an embedded training brigade commander and senior advisor to an Afghan army brigade.

Throughout my tour, I experienced firsthand how decades of civil war and conflict with the Soviet Union devastated the once prosperous fields, farms, herds and remotest villages of the inner valleys and rural plains. In the late 1970s, Afghanistan had a sustainableagriculture economy that provided for its population and competed in international markets. Soviet occupation strategy targeted mujahedeen support among this very infrastructure. Scorch-and-burn tactics decimated the land and effectively incapacitated formerly profitable agrarian livelihoods. The Soviets incinerated and poisoned orchards and destroyed ancient canal systems and wells that were critical to irrigation.

Combined with natural effects of drought, these led even the toughest Afghans to flee centuries-old hereditary homesteads for Soviet-controlled urban areas. Refugees also migrated to neighboring countries and the United States, creating a drain of generational knowledge still affecting Afghanistan. Inevitably, Soviet strategy failed, their troops withdrew and the resultant systemic void left the door wide open for the emergence of corrupt warlords, the extremist Taliban and, ultimately, an influx of drug traders with their seed of choioe - the poppy. Afghans struggling to survive and subsist quickly succumbed to the easy, low-knowhow, high-profit crop. The poppy invaded Afghanistan, supplanting traditional and indigenous staple harvests, and became the illicit cash crop of insurgency.

Engaging an unconventional enemy requires unconventional solutions. Upon my return from Afghanistan, LTG Clyde Vaughn, then director of the Army National Guard, approached me with a novel idea for establishing teams of National Guard members uniquely equipped with civilian expertise in agribusiness. Our National Guard personnel represent a diverse and unique pool of military and civilian skill sets.

Like generations of citizen-soldiers and airmen before them, members of today's Guard are mature, responsible, versatile, competitive and entrepreneurial. Many who muster in hail from jobs associated with agribusiness. The practical expertise of the production farmer, the agriculture education instructor and the agronomy researcher simultaneously serving in uniform is a very positive force-multiplier for the current mission in Afghanistan. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Agrarian Warriors: The Quiet Success of National Guard Agribusiness Development Teams in Afghanistan
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.