FORT BRAGG. N.C. - For three years, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Jacobs, outgoing commanding general of the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne), has been the main force behind the push for Civil Affairs branch equality in the Army. Today, he made one last effort to his cause and handed the responsibility of the cause and the command to his successor, Brig. Gen. Daniel Ammerman. Jacobs relinquished his position as commanding general to Ammerman, June 22, 2014, during a change of command ceremony at the Main Post Parade Field.
Deferring from the usual thank yous and reminiscent memories of his 35 years of service, Jacobs continued to explain the importance of Civil Affairs and to, what he feels, unfinished business to recognize Civil Affairs and all that it does and could do for the U.S. Army.
“In short, the Army treats Civil Affairs differently than virtually any other of its branches. I’m often asked what our component doesn’t give USACAPOC that it should give, but that’s not the right question. SWCS [Special Warfare Center and School] does a great job of producing trained and capable Civil Affairs Soldiers for both conventional and special operation forces both active and reserve. The question that needs to be asked however, is what is the Army not getting that it should be getting. And what the Army is not getting is a conventional force that fully understands the roles and mission capabilities of Civil Affairs units,” Jacobs said.
“I observed long ago that many conventional maneuver commanders, although are experts of employing their engineers, their aviation, their fire support, their logistics assets, you name it, they come up short when understanding how to employ their Civil Affairs forces … unless and until we can fix that disconnect, we, USACAPOC, cannot provide the best possible Civil Affairs support to the United States Army and the Army will not truly interest itself in CA and Civil Affairs will not achieve full equality as a branch of the Army … now I understand this is a complex issue; I know it’s a politically charged issue within the army; but I wanted to take one last shot at ensuring that my opinion is heard.”
Met with a round of applause, Jacobs continued, “I said I didn’t want to say a litany of thank yous, but I do have to recognize one very special group of people and those are the outstanding Soldiers and dedicated civilians in this command represented before you today on the parade field. [This command has] 12,797 Soldiers, and 340 civilians who work in 77 different locations in 30 states and Puerto Rico, who provide Civil Affairs and MISO (military information support operations) support to all six geographical combatant commanders every day who support the Army every day. Thank you for all that you do. I’m proud of each and every one of you. The Army is indeed the strength of the nation and you are indeed the strength of the Army, and I’m grateful to our families who remain the strength of our Soldiers.”
Jacobs, a 1979 West Point graduate commissioned as an infantry officer, took command of USACAPOC(A) in October of 2011. He served seven years on active duty in the 3rd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg and in the 3rd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell in Kentucky.
Jacobs lives in Columbia, South Carolina, where he is the chief legal counsel for the South Carolina Department of Insurance. He is scheduled to retire from the Army Reserve on June 27.
“During his time at USACAPOC General Jacobs has provided exceptional management of and support of more than 12,000 soldiers and civilians under his command. He’s guided the transformation of USACAPOC to meet the 21-century mission requirements,” explained Maj. Gen. Luis Visot, Army Reserve Command Chief of Staff. “Most important, in our opinion, he has significantly improved the retention, readiness and mobilization capacity of forces under his command. Major General Jacobs ensured that the command provided solidly prepared units, rather than unprepared individuals.”
“And as the Department of Defense senior Civil Affairs and MISO officer, he has been a trusted adviser and a valued subject matter expert on all aspects of civil affairs and psychological operations,” continued Visot. “Major General Jacobs was relied upon not only by myself and by Lieutenant General Tally, but by senior leaders from around the world who sought out his advice and guidance of civil affairs and MISO related operations. Once more, his respect and concern of Soldiers and families under his command was unparallell, personally visiting them in theaters of operation around the world, welcoming them home from deployments, and working with various groups to support the families of the fallen.”
“Major General Jacobs, you are leaving me a great command and big shoes to fill,” Ammerman said in his acceptance speech. “You have left a legacy of excellence focused on training and leader development. I’m committed to continuing this emphasis. Under your command the men and women of USACAPOC succeed across a spectrum of conflict and operations around the world. Thank you for your service, leadership, and dedication to our soldiers. I’m honored and also humbled to lead the magnificent Soldiers of the U.S Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command. It is my privilege and duty to serve you and lead you with sword, deed and word.”
Ammerman previously served as the deputy commanding general of the 99th Regional Support Command. He has more than 33 years of service, including deployments to Bosnia in 1996 and to Kosovo in 2001, where he was the Task Force Falcon G-5 and Civil Affairs Battalion executive officer.
In 2003, he commanded the 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion in Iraq and the 304th Civil Affairs Brigade from 2006 to 2010. In 2008, he led a jointly manned 304th Civil Affairs Brigade in Iraq to conduct civil military operations in support of Multi- National Corps-Iraq and earned the Meritorious Unit Citation.
“Dan is definitely the right officer for this job and at the right time. Man, I’ll tell you, you’re in for quite the ride and you won’t believe how fast your time in command will go. I couldn’t be leaving this command in better hands,” Jacobs said to Ammerman. “I first said in February of 1986 when I relinquished command of Charlie Company, 4-187 infantry at Campbell, and they pried the guidon out of my hands then and Major General Visot had to pry pretty darn hard today to get the USACAPOC colors out of my hands. And I’ve said it each of the four times I’m relinquished command since then but I’ll say it one last time: There is no greater honor than to command American soldiers. I’m proud to be able to say I soldiered with you.”
Ammerman comes from the 353rd Civil Affairs Command in Staten Island, New York. He is a resident of De Pere, Wisconsin, with his wife Marilyn, son Keith and daughter Lucy. He is a senior financial manager for Schneider Inc., a large international logistics company.