Natural resources talk covers military conflict
The program will be held at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 1 in Bowers Auditorium at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
Discussion will focus on how natural resources drive, or contribute to, conflict in specific locales; how the United States and its coalition partners can best use civilian and military assets to mitigate conflict; and case studies related to both eastern Afghanistan and Liberia, according to a statement.
Panelists are Harry Bader, a F&ES doctoral candidate who works for the U.S. Agency for International Development; Dante Paradiso, a Yale College graduate who just finished a tour as the senior civilian representative with Brigade Combat Team Task Force Bastogne; and Col. Randy George, former commander of the Army’s Task Force Mountain Warrior and now a military fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
The natural resources counterinsurgency cell, better known as the Afghan tree army, was modeled after the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps and was launched in May after a five-week training program for a core group of 13 local forest supervisors, mostly graduates of Nangarhar University in Jalalabad. Rather than using Hellfire missiles, the tree army aims to defeat insurgents with homemade Pulaski axes and Biltmore sticks, the tools of conventional forestry roughly a century ago.
Despite American support, the tree army is entirely an Afghan operation. The 13 supervisors are now passing on their knowledge to 50 newly hired foremen, who will recruit 250 workers this fall in mountain villages around Nangarhar province. If the Afghan tree army succeeds during the initial rollout, then Zorghun Afghanistan (Green Afghanistan, as it is known locally) could go nationwide. The goal is to have tree armies in four northeastern provinces. The basic tactic is to recruit the same young men of military age who would otherwise be most heavily recruited by insurgents to provide forest and range management in watersheds.
Editor's note: All of the information contained in this post was released by Yale University