Norris, Shannon L (2020-06). Enabling the Enablers: Developing U.S. Army Special Operations Command Curricular and Training Support for Agricultural Assessment in Conflict Zones. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • Food security is directly linked to economic, political, and social stability. In 2017, one out of every nine--nearly 821 million people--were undernourished. Of immediate concern are populations living in conflict. Food insecurity and armed conflict often exist simultaneously, which makes addressing agricultural issues a vital need for international development and national defense. U.S. military service members are uniquely positioned to reach populations in these regions because they have access to conflict zones. The purpose of my exploratory sequential mixed methods study was to identify, investigate, and develop a curricular and training framework for soldiers in the U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) to complete agricultural assessments in conflict zones. I used an integrative literature review, semi-structured interviews with soldiers (n = 19) in the U.S. Army 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), and a Q sort with experts (n = 14) in international agricultural development. Phase one led to a conceptual model highlighting food (in)security variables found in the communication, education, and political science databases in the Web of Science Social Citation Index. Phase two led to identifying three themes USASOC soldiers need when conducting agricultural assessments in conflict zones--basics of food production, supply chain relationships, and food (in)security variables related to conflict zones. Finally, phase three led to the development of the agricultural assessment framework to address food (in)security in conflict zones. The final product was a curricular framework of FASCOPE/PMESII, which added food (in)security as a civil assessment consideration to assess among the U.S. Army's operational dimensions. Recommendations for practice are to implement food (in)security variables into a U.S. Army field manual, disseminate FASCOPE/PMESII Framework to the U.S. Army Special Forces, and conduct a training at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (USAJFKSWCS). Recommendations for research are to conduct quasi-experimental study, factor analysis, and qualitative case study. Recommendations for theory are to adopt the FASCOPE/PMESII Framework in U.S. Army doctrine and update Maslow's hierarchy of needs using a personal security lens. In short, training agricultural assessment variables can strategically prepare U.S. soldiers to deter war abroad and ensure security at home.

publication date

  • June 2020