Capacity Development

Capacity Development Mission

The Corps has an important mission of providing engineering, construction, and technical services to customers world-wide. The success of this mission is measured in terms of sustainable results.  Therefore, the Corps employs a process called “Capacity Development to help achieve these results.

The Corps has adopted the following definition for Capacity Development:

“Capacity Development is the building of human, institutional and infrastructure capacity to help societies develop secure, stable and sustainable economies, governments and other institutions through mentoring, training, education, and physical projects, the infusion of financial and other resources, and most importantly, the motivation and inspiration of people to improve their lives.”

                            - LTG Henry J. Hatch (Ret.), USACE Commanding General from 1988 to 1992.

  The consistent use of Capacity Development results in the following benefits:

  • Conditions are improved for the population served;
  • The beneficiary of services is better able to manage its own affairs without reliance on external support; and,
  • The service provided is more likely to be successful over the long-term, so the investment made by the U.S.Government or other stakeholders is better protected.

Capacity Development Business Practice and Sub-Community of Practice
The Commanding General established the Capacity Development Business Practice in 2008, as the formal authority to guide the application of Capacity Development for the Corps’ international and domestic programs and projects.  The business practice resides with the Headquarters Directorate of Military Programs, Interagency and International Services (IIS) Community of Practice (CoP).

The business practice has responsibility for establishing policy, guidance, and training materials to assist Corps personnel at all levels in the planning and implementation of Capacity Development. 

The Capacity Development Sub-CoP, comprised of individuals with diverse backgrounds and skill sets, is an essential element of the business practice.  This group provides the guidance and experience necessary to ensure that Capacity Development is designed and implemented in a consistent, yet flexible manner that fits with actual conditions encountered at the program or project level.

Application of Capacity Development
Capacity Development is applicable to a wide variety of programs and projects undertaken by the Corps.  The approach is structured and systematic; however, it contains sufficient flexibility to apply to unique or specific circumstances within a program or project.

The spectrum of conflict, ranging from stable peace to general war, offers differing opportunities for Capacity Development.  The steps of identifying, sequencing, and applying the right Capacity Development activities are essential to optimizing desired program and project outcomes across the spectrum of conflict.

The Corps, in consultation with other stakeholders, considers how Capacity Development can best be applied, based on the existing operating environment. 

Principles of Capacity Development
The Corps has identified four basic principles that apply to Capacity Development.  Each of these principles, shown below, are critical to successful planning and implementation of Capacity Development and to achieving sustainable outcomes.

  •  Local ownership and participation at the national, regional, and local levels are vital.  Implementation, management, and evaluation of projects, returns on investments, and sustainability of the programs and projects are enhanced when local communities have direct input into design.
  • Actions must be consistent with societal, political, and cultural context.  One must understand how the society organizes itself, how development takes place, and what critical capacities are required to make transformation.
  • Proper sequencing of Capacity Development activities supports successful outcomes. 
  • Timing of Capacity Development assistance is a key to success.   

Contact Us

National Program Manager for Capacity Development
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