* My Profile My Galleries My Networks

Spirit of American hiring military veterans for Afghanistan military/NGO operations

hi all, passing this on from Spirit of America. They’re looking for military veterans to join their team in Afghanistan.

As far as I know, they are the first “embedded NGO” – a civilian non-profit, whose field operators are former military officers. SOA provides assistance to US military units for their humanitarian assistance efforts in Afghanistan.

To say the least, it’s an unconventional approach that breaks the NGO-military firewall, and will probably make traditional aidworkers real twitchy.

In any case, there were a couple of SOA operators embedded with the same battalion as the Basetrack crew, and they were good guys.

best, T

fwd message:


We are looking for 3 outstanding veterans to join Spirit of America as part of our Commander Support Program to work alongside US Soldiers and Marines in Afghanistan. Their job will be to provide Spirit of America’s private-sector humanitarian and economic assistance in coordination with our troops.

Please circulate this email to your network and any veterans (or active military) you may know.

The key requirement is prior service in the US military with stability operations or civil affairs experience in Iraq or Afghanistan. Ideal former rank is at the Lieutenant, Captain or Major level or as a Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO). The job requires extraordinary initiative, an entrepreneurial orientation and an outstanding attitude.

While the position boasts austere conditions it does offer the opportunity to serve alongside our troops and help them win the fight and shorten the war. It’s also an opportunity to further establish Spirit of America’s innovative model of private-sector assistance on the front lines.

This is a great job for those who have served and miss the meaning and ability to make a clear and direct contribution that they had in their days in the service. Pay is based on the 2011 military compensation scale.

A full job description is below and at this link:

Thank you you for your help.
Jim Hake

Spirit of America
Commander Support Program
Afghanistan Field Representative Job Description


Spirit of America seeks an exceptional individual with a US military service background (E-6 or higher) to serve as an Afghanistan Field Representative. Our Field Rep will work in close cooperation and coordination with US Marines, Soldiers and US Government civilians and will be responsible for providing rapid humanitarian aid and development assistance for needs identified at the local/village level. This position is part of Spirit of America’s Commander Support Program.

This is an opportunity to see immediate results from one’s work and to directly impact progress on the front lines in Afghanistan. The Field Rep will improve the safety and success of our troops, the well being of the Afghan people and the outcome of the war.

The SoA Field Rep must have direct field counterinsurgency experience in Iraq or Afghanistan combined with optimism, patience and a great sense of humor in the face of adversity. The 8-month assignment supporting US Marine and Army units deployed to Regional Commands Southwest, South and East will include 3.5 months in Afghanistan, a 2 week leave, then 3.5 more months in-country, followed by 2 weeks of leave. Multiple Assignments are possible.

The Position & Responsibilities

The Afghanistan Field Rep will work at the Battalion, Company and/or Platoon levels. The Field Rep will be on constant look out for what is needed at the local level. They will work in close coordination with US military and civilian personnel to identify local/village needs; needs where the support of Spirit of America and the American people can make a rapid and important impact, as well as complement, or fill gaps in, military and US Government programs.

The Field Rep will:
- Coordinate the delivery of donated goods to ensure they are used where needed.
- Manage local projects supported with Spirit of America cash, including negotiating, budgeting, handling and documenting the use of cash payments and keeping records in accordance with industry-standard practices.
- Serve as a conduit for American private-sector expertise to provide input to, and to help develop solutions for, local projects (agriculture, irrigation, economic development, etc.) when needed.
- Identify questions that need to be answered and solicit a range of input to develop answers.
- Write up the results and lessons learned of projects supported by Spirit of America.
- Continuously seek the input and advice of US military and civilian personnel and coordinate and deconflict potential redundant efforts.
- Keep senior officials at the Regional Command, RCT and/or Brigade informed of Spirit of America projects and activities.
- Document with photos, video, blog posts and stories the results from Spirit of America-supported projects.
- Communicate and closely coordinate activities and projects with all levels of US military and civilian personnel ,撵 from Platoon to Brigade to Regional Command.
- Work closely with Spirit of America staff in the United States to develop creative ways that the support of the American people can be used to make a rapid, tangible difference on the ground in Afghanistan.
- Engage journalists in covering Spirit of America’s work.

Experience and Qualifications

SoA’s Afghanistan Field Rep will have combat, intelligence, and/or Civil Affairs experience at the Battalion, Company or Platoon level. The Field Rep must also have significant, direct counterinsurgency and/or non-lethal-effects experience at the field level in Afghanistan or Iraq. Experience in, or with, the private sector will be very useful. Program/project management experience for small- to medium-scale projects ($5,000 – $50,000) is also relevant.

The Field Rep must instinctively look beyond their own expertise to solve problems, asking “who knows more about this than me” and listening patiently to understand what local Afghans and military personnel know. They must tap into and rely heavily upon local military and civilian know-how. With the help of Spirit of America staff in the US, the Field Rep will look to private sector expertise in the US to help address local needs. The Field Rep must be good at synthesizing different inputs in determining a course of action. Thus, they must have an outstanding sense of the “art of the possible.”

Excellent written and oral communication skills, a strong attention to detail and excellent organizational skills are required.

Personal Qualities

The Field Rep’s personal qualities are as important as his prior experience. They must be friendly, outgoing, natural relationship builders. The Field Rep needs to have exemplary patience and outstanding listening skills. They must understand that personal initiative, optimism, smiling and a good sense of humor are “secret weapons” that they must in abundance. They must combine a keen intellect with genuine humility and understand that “we” is smarter than “me.” “Know-it-alls” need not apply. Neither should those who like to work at a desk. The Field Rep will have very high personal initiative. They will spend the majority of their time interacting with the troops and the Afghan people. Success is measured partly by the number of boots that the Field Rep wears out.

The Field Rep must build and maintain highly positive relations with military host units and servicemen and women at all levels. They must take direction from Battalion Commanders regarding where they can/can’t go and which projects are not advisable. They need to be able to communicate easily and credibly with all levels of the military chain of command, civilian personnel and journalists.

The Field Rep will not only be a representative of Spirit of America but an Ambassador of the goodwill of the American people. They must operate with the highest levels of integrity and cultural sensitivity. The Field Rep must also have a deep understanding and appreciation of Spirit of America’s decentralized, non-bureaucratic approach for rapid local progress in Afghanistan.


Compensation will be based, in large part, on the 2011 Military Pay Scale and related to the candidate’s experience.

Spirit of America

Spirit of America, a 501c3 nonprofit charity, has supported the humanitarian and counterinsurgency efforts of American military personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2003. With contributions from thousands of Americans, and at the request of American Soldiers and Marines, Spirit of America has provided sewing machines, tools, irrigation equipment, school and medical supplies, shoes blankets and more—all for the benefit of local people. This support provides fast, flexible and decentralized improvement at the local level, improves relations and helps save lives. http://www.spiritofamerica.net.


Interested candidates: please take the time to understand Spirit of America and this position. Then, in an email explain your interest in this position and provide your resume. Also, please describe your field-level counterinsurgency and combat, civil affairs or intelligence experience in Afghanistan and/or Iraq.


Matt Valkovic, Manager, Commander Support Program at matt@spiritofamerica.net

by teru kuwayama at 2011-06-01 16:27:47 UTC | Bookmark | | Report spam→

That’s an interesting NGO. I wonder why they limit it to officers and NCOs. A thousand years ago when I was in the US Army there were a lot of warrant officers in the civil affairs units.

In any event, the characteristics and behavior sought sound exactly like what current counterinsurgency training for active duty personnel focuses on. In 2002 that’s what civil affairs units were already doing in Afghanistan, and with some effectiveness, according to some NGOs who were there early (of course things only could get better at that point). I wonder why it now takes an NGO to provide assistance on those projects.

by [former member] | 02 Jun 2011 13:06 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
Why does it say “Compensation will be based, in large part, on the 2011 Military Pay Scale and related to the candidate’s experience.”??

Are they basing pay off what you made previously in the military? That seems odd to me.

Also, I want this job so very bad, but I’m contractually bound to another for the time being.

by Randy Clinton | 03 Jun 2011 01:06 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
I think it means they’ll take your experience and base the pay within that scale. But the pay has to stay within that scale. But speaking from time over there its a fairly generous payscale.

by Bill Putnam | 04 Jun 2011 01:06 | Washington, D.C., United States | | Report spam→
“To say the least, it’s an unconventional approach that breaks the NGO-military firewall, and will probably make traditional aidworkers real twitchy.”

Got that right.

Seems to me politicizing humanitarian aid and linking it to military counter-insurgency efforts plays into the militant anti-western moral narrative and is counterproductive in the long term. its either shockingly naive, or brutally cynical, effort. But, hey: keep paving that road with good intentions….

by Tom Popyk | 05 Jun 2011 06:06 | Cairo, Egypt | | Report spam→
I’m tempted, as I have experience at NCO level in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, then Northern Ireland and Bosnia later on. Also, I am an Australian, so I don’t comply.

by Stephen Asprey | 05 Jun 2011 07:06 (ed. Jun 5 2011) | Sydney, Australia | | Report spam→
I’m a former Marine NCO and have no qualms about supporting the mission. I could already go over there and do my day job, but that just means I’d be sitting on a base all day waiting for comm equipment to break. I’d much rather do something like this.

by Nathan Keirn | 15 Jun 2011 13:06 | Hat Yai, Thailand | | Report spam→
i went 2 times in afghanistan and i was working beside US SF but with the french special forces…

by Jerome Durenne | 16 Jun 2011 06:06 | Tourcoing, France | | Report spam→

Get notified when someone replies to this thread:
Feed-icon-10x10 via RSS
Icon_email via email
You can unsubscribe later.

More about sponsorship→


teru kuwayama, I/O teru kuwayama
New York , United States
Randy Clinton, Randy Clinton
New York City , United States
Bill Putnam, Producer. Bill Putnam
Washington, D.C. , United States
Tom Popyk, Journalist/Videographer Tom Popyk
New Delhi , India
Stephen Asprey, Photojournalist Stephen Asprey
(Visual Journalism)
Sydney , Australia
Nathan Keirn, IT Nathan Keirn
Okinawa , Japan
Jerome Durenne, photographer Jerome Durenne
(free lance photographer)
Tourcoing , France


Top↑ | RSS/XML | Privacy Statement | Terms of Use | support@lightstalkers.org / ©2004-2015 November Eleven