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K-State Today

November 8, 2011

Faculty help prepare 1st Infantry Division for deployment to Afghanistan

Submitted by David Stone

On Wednesday, Nov. 2, a team of K-State faculty briefed the leadership of the 1st Infantry Division on the challenges and opportunities they will face in their forthcoming deployment to Afghanistan.

Daryl Youngman, associate professor at K-State Librarires, spoke on the political structure of Afghanistan and the importance of informal leaders in Afghan society.

Vincent Amanour-Boadu, associate professor of agricultural economics, presented his own research on promoting agricultural development through empowering local entrepreneurs to find sustainable solutions to their problems.

David Stone, Pickett professor of military history, discussed Afghanistan's neighbors and the challenges they presented to building security, while Craig Beardsley, program administrator for the National Agricultural Biosecurity Center, reviewed the successes and lessons learned of Kansas National Guard Agri-Business Development Teams. 

Youngman also spoke about ongoing information support from K-State, now and while the division is deployed.

The presentations, along with comments by the Big Red One's commander Maj. Gen. William Mayville, stressed the importance of understanding the vital local context in order to provide security and promote economic development.

"It was a real pleasure to give something back," Stone said. "We can't match the local knowledge and concrete experience that these soldiers possess, but we might help them put what they're seeing on the ground into a broader context."

Lt. Col. Matt Van Wagenen, speaking on behalf of 1st Infantry Division staff, thanked the speakers for "the graduate level of education we all received.”

The briefing was organized by Youngman; Steven Graham, assistant to the dean of the College of Agriculture; and Maj. Darin Gaub, who received a master's from K-State's security studies program while at Fort Leavenworth.