News

Professor, Veteran Published, Profiled in Science Journal

Alexander K. Stewart, St. Lawrence University assistant professor of geology, was recently published in the academic journal Science and Diplomacy. He was also profiled in an article written by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Stewart — a retired veteran of the Afghanistan, Iraq and  Gulf wars — was a member of the United States Army Agriculture Development Teams (ADTs). In his March 3 journal article, titled "U.S. Army Agriculture Development Teams," Stewart writes that the 21st-century military is not just about ground troops and firearms. Instead, modern operations require using both civilian and military efforts, which are important for defeating and containing insurgencies.

Stewart goes on to describe several of the projects his ADT undertook in Afghanistan, including setting up a community-owned demonstration farms to provide expertise and support to interested farmers, working with locals to determine the sites and sizes of earthen dams for capturing spring runoff from the mountains, and establishing the agriculture library at Ghazni University.

Stewart addresses in his article some criticisms that "militarized aid," in the form of Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs), has received from NGOs and academics alike. Instead, smaller agricultural teams, such as the ADT Stewart was a member of, are comprised of 12 soldiers who, like himself, are also professionals in a specific field of science. These teams train together before deployment then work with and in local Afghan communities on agricultural-related projects.

“It's an unprecedented, modern approach to fighting,” Stewart told Science, after giving a presentation at the Geological Society of America's meeting in October 2013.

Stewart was also recently profiled in the November 2013 edition of Science for his service in Afghanistan assigned to duty as a soldier-scientist.