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What is USAID's Office of Civilian-Military Cooperation?

USAID and the Department of Defense have been partners since the 1960s. They work together to align policies, planning and programming, learning and outreach to advance U.S. foreign policy.  USAID's Office of Civilian-Military Cooperation (CMC) serves as the primary point of contact with the Department of Defense (DOD). The office responds to the National Security Strategy's demand that development be a strong and equal partner with diplomacy and defense in collective pursuit of a world that promotes peace, security and opportunity for all.  CMC is driven by its goal to align development and defense and leverage the unique capabilities of both partners to achieve better development outcomes in pursuit of U.S. national security goals and national values. 

CMC maintains steady communication and synchronization of efforts with the DOD through:

  • Personnel Exchange:  USAID coordinates with DOD with a team of foreign service, civil service, active-duty military and technical professionals. This allows access and transparency between both agencies on policy, planning, outreach and education. Senior foreign service officers sit at six unified combatant commands (U.S. Africa CommandU.S. Central CommandU.S. European CommandU.S. Pacific CommandU.S. Special Operations CommandU.S. Southern Command) and at the Pentagon, to inform and advise DOD in pursuit of better development outcomes and promote cooperation, where appropriate.
  • At USAID, military personnel representing the commands inform USAID on DOD activities with development interests and also ensure access to all levels of DOD leadership.
  • USAID also hosts military liaisons from the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and  sponsors U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps fellows.
  • Policy Development:  It is USAID policy for all its personnel to cooperate with DOD in support of the Agency’s mission to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies while advancing our security and prosperity. CMC facilitates systematic exchange of feedback between USAID and DOD on relevant policies and strategies that affect USAID interests. The CMC policy team  regularly convenes a USAID civilian-military cooperation steering committee composed of representatives from USAID regional and technical bureaus to advance cooperation on policy matters.
  • Training:  CMC facilitates training for both USAID and DOD audiences through instructor-led courses, briefings and exercises. In 2014, the office launched Development in Vulnerable Environments (DIVE), a one-day course for DOD audiences on how USAID works with the military to improve development outcomes and strengthen U.S. national security. For USAID staff, CMC offers a one-day “Working with the Military” course that serves as an introduction on how to foster civilian-military cooperation in support of development objectives. CMC’s training team also routinely facilitates short and long-term DOD-hosted training opportunities for USAID staff.



Haitian locals work together to lift a bag of rice during a supply drop-off at Beaumont, Haiti, Oct. 13, 2016. After six days of supply drop operations, Joint Task Force (JTF) Matthew has delivered over 158 metric tons of supplies utilizing U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion and U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopters. The service members of JTF Matthew, a U.S. Southern Command-directed team, are providing critical airlift capabilities during the initial stages of the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) disaster relief operations in Haiti while the international response builds. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Samuel Guerra)

Related Links 

USAID Policy on Cooperation with DOD

USAID Training for U.S. Military Audiences

How to Work with USAID: U.S. Government Agencies & Military



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