Updated: Feb 9
“Leveraging Civil Affairs”
The overall value of Civil Affairs (CA) has become increasingly apparent. Although long a national strategic capability to consolidate political-military gains and help post-conflict transition from war to peace and from military to civilian lead and control, CA also serves to engage partners and other players, to shape, influence, and stabilize the human environment, and to contribute to conflict prevention. CA can do so only when appropriately leveraged by commanders who understand its strategic as well as operation value.
This is most important at the theater strategic level, where CA is most useful to political-military strategies in planning and conducting peace and stability operations, supporting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, countering violent extremism, and performing security cooperation and assistance per the Army Functional Concept for Engagement. This includes Special Operations “persistent engagement” and General Purpose Forces “building partner capacity” missions as part of U.S. country teams and in greater cooperation with regional and multilateral organizations under renewed Executive guidance.
Within these frameworks, CA is also ideally suited to synchronize with other military capabilities, among them Military Information Support and Information Operations (MISO/IO), Foreign Area Officers (FAOs), and National Guard State Partnership Missions in regional contexts. The Marine Corps uses CA intensely. It is the Joint force of choice to work with an array of civilian agency, non-governmental, civil society, and private sector actors whose capacities best mitigate drivers of conflict and instability and promote peace.
But how can CA’s most important customers – the Geographic Combatant Commands and the Special Operations Command – best leverage CA’s full range of capabilities – Army and Marine, Active and Reserve, Special Operations and General Purpose? How can they use the inherent and comparative advantages of this diverse force, to facilitate desired regional strategic and operational outcomes? What capabilities do these commands most need in CA and other engagement forces and how can CA forces be best created, maintained, and generated? What policy, legal, institutional, organizational, or program and funding issues most encumber fully leveraging CA and what are the solutions?
To address these questions, the Civil Affairs Association and its partners are reaching out to experienced civil-military operators to contribute to this discussion by sending an originally written Civil Affairs Issue Paper (10 pp. not including endnotes, Cambria 12, 1.5/double-spaced) explaining their analysis and recommendations on some or all of these questions, with appropriate consideration of Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership, Personnel, Facilities and Policy (DOTMLPF-P).
The top five Issue Papers will appear in the 2016-17 Civil Affairs Issue Papers at the spring 2017 Roundtable in Washington, DC. However, the Association will select the top three papers, likewise based on response to the call, originality of thought, clarity of presentation, and feasibility of recommendations, for presentation and final voting by participants at the Civil Affairs Symposium in Mountain View, CA 17-19 November.
First prize is a cash award of $500; second prize is $250; and third prize is $100. The deadline for submission of papers is Friday, 16 September 2017. Send the papers to Colonel (ret.) Christopher Holshek, Civil Issue Papers Editor, at email@example.com.