Army Capt. Roman Terehoff (left) poses with TWI alumni Erin Moffitt (second from left) and Francisco Hernandez (far right), and Creative’s President Leland Kruvant (second from right). Photo by Erick Gibson.

For Civil Affairs officer, development offers new solutions to global challenges

By David Newstead

May 13, 2016

Creative’s work in conflict and post-conflict settings ranges from education in crisis to local governance and this naturally overlaps with many of the issues faced by military’s civil affairs personnel.

A unique program called Training with Industry connects the U.S. Army’s Civil Affairs with the private sector, including development organizations like Creative.

Training with Industry allows a U.S. Army officer to spend a year with the private sector, sharing critical expertise and gaining valuable knowledge to better inform their military service and the private sector. Officers from the Army’s Civil Affairs Branch apply and compete for the one-year fellowship.

Civil Affairs enable military commanders and U.S. Ambassadors to improve relationships with various stakeholders in a local area to meet the objectives of the U.S. Government. Civil Affairs work with U.S. Department of State, country teams, government and nongovernmental organizations at all levels and with local populations in peaceful, contingency and hostile environments.

They help host nations assess the needs of an area, bring together local and non-local resources to ensure long-term stability, and ultimately degrade and defeat violent extremist organizations and their ideologies. They may be involved in disaster prevention, management, and recovery, and with human and civil infrastructure assistance programs.

Army Capt. Roman Terehoff reflects on his one-year Training with Industry fellowship at Creative. A career officer, Roman has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, among other locations. Roman is a 2008 graduate of George Mason University. He is the third Civil Affairs officer assigned to Creative.

Below are his thoughts about his work at Creative and the importance of the Training with Industry program.

What’s been the focus of your work at Creative?

The main focus of my work has been centered on Creative’s work and issues related to countering violent extremism (CVE). It is being looked at as a field of practice in International Development and Creative has dedicated manpower and resources related to it.

Aside from daily interaction with Paul Turner, the Senior Conflict Advisor, a lot of focus was also given to the Communications Team, particularly through article and blog contributions that were heavy in CVE content.

How does that relate to your Army service?

Coming from Civil Affairs with a background in both Counterterrorism and CVE, it was easy to relate to some of the work that Creative was doing. Identifying CVE relevant work in Creative’s decades of activities in conflict and post-conflict environments helped me understand the International Development business practice and to look at the world through a non-military lens.

Do you feel like your perspective significantly contributed to your team here?

Both the CVE Team and the Communications Team received assistance on a number of projects. Specifically, the planning and execution of the CVE Symposium, took the most time and focus. As far as significant contributions, that’s a question for Creative!

How do you see your exposure to international development informing your work when you return to the Army?

The amount of knowledge and experience that I have been exposed to will enhance and compliment the Civil Affairs community once I return to my operational unit and apply that knowledge to missions.

The networks and relationships that I’ve built through Creative’s contacts will be essential in future collaboration between Civil Affairs, Special Operations Forces and the National Capital Region community of organizations.

To elaborate, the formation of the CVE Consortium will allow me to develop solutions to complex political, economic, social and humanitarian problem sets while operationalizing relationships allows me to consolidate lessons-learned and best practices.

Would you recommend the Training with Industry Program to others?

The simple answer is yes and yes!

The Training with Industry Program (TWI) was initiated in the 1970s in response to the Army’s critical need for officers with state-of-the-art skills in industrial practices and procedures not available through military or civil education programs. The Army’s main objective in sponsoring the TWI Program is to develop a group of soldiers experienced in higher level managerial techniques and who have an understanding of the relationship of their industry as it relates to specific functions of the Army and in my case the Special Operations Forces community.

Once the TWI student is integrated back into an Army organization, they can use this information to improve the Army’s ability to interact and conduct business with industry. Participants may also be exposed to innovative industrial management practices, techniques, procedures, etc., which have applicability to, and benefit for, the Army.

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