FIG Peer Review Journal


The Pentagon Looks with Interest at Land Administration in Afghanistan (2798)

Douglas Batson (USA)
Douglas BATSON
U.S. Department of Defense
U.S. Department of Defense, NGA D-61
4600 Sangamore Road
Corresponding author Douglas BATSON (email: douglas.e.batson[at], tel.: 301 227-5716)

[ abstract ] [ handouts ] [ handouts ]

Published on the web 2008-03-21
Received 2008-01-31 / Accepted 2008-03-14
This paper is one of selection of papers published for the FIG Working Week 2008 in Stockholm, Sweden and has undergone the FIG Peer Review Process.

FIG Working Week 2008
ISBN 978-87-90907-67-9 ISSN 2307-4086


Land is often a significant factor in violent conflict and is also a critical element in peace-building in post-conflict situations. Recent operations have, at times, forced U.S. military forces to assume the unconventional roles of humanitarian aid providers and nation-builders. A smoother transfer of those responsibilities from military to civilian government organs has been difficult to achieve, thus the creation of a new U.S. State Department Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization, a national, executive-level, management structure to ensure vertical and horizontal unity of effort. A community-based mapping in rural Afghanistan and a USAID-funded project to upgrade urban informal settlements in two districts of Kabul fit well into a proposed Afghan land administration system, which should rest upon a viable Afghan land policy. These efforts have attracted the attention of the U.S. Department of Defense and bode well in the future to win the peace as much as to win the war. Douglas Batson is a 26-year U.S. civil servant. Following 10 years as a civilian with the U.S. Army in Germany, he is in his second stint with the U.S. Department of Defense. A political geographer, he is a staff member to the Foreign Names Committee of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. Batson holds a Master of Education from Boston University and a Bachelor of Science degree in geography from Excelsior College in Albany, New York. He previously worked for the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Department of Justice, and is retired from the U.S. Army Reserve. Available as a PDF file at the website below, his book, Registering the Human Terrain: a Valuation of Cadastre, is the product of a proposal to build U.S. “soft power” that earned him a 12-month research fellowship in 2006.
Keywords: Capacity building; Cadastre; Security of tenure; Informal settlements; Afghanistan, Post-Conflict Land Administration, Reconstruction and Stability