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CA Call for Papers: “Optimizing Civil Affairs”

Updated: Feb 8, 2020

A century ago, Colonel Irwin L. Hunt’s analysis of the post-World War I occupation of the German Rhineland was pivotal to the creation of civil affairs as we know it. It anticipated many issues in CA force development and employment the Regiment is still seized with today – reflected in the new Field Manual (FM) 3-57 (Civil Affairs Operations) and the Civil Affairs Operations 2025 and Beyond White Paper. Historically, the U.S. has struggled to translate battlefield successes into sustainable political and civil outcomes favorable to its strategic interests.

Even before 1918, commanders contended with a difficult operating environment of political ambiguity and operational complexity to influence populations, security forces, and governments in operations describable as joint and multinational military engagement, security cooperation, deterrence, crisis response, contingency operations, large-scale combat operations, urban operations, and defense support to stabilization. Hence the creation of CA to plan and conduct civil affairs operations not just in post-conflict but the full range of operations – in particularly the “gray zone” – to enable civil-military operations and the consolidation of security gains into political and civil outcomes. At strategic, operational, and tactical levels, CA should promote local economic and political stability, enhance traditional and non-traditional partner capabilities, support cross-domain maneuver, enhance lethality, and facilitate economy-of-force to enhance security, stability, and peace. By applying its unique capabilities, CA can promote unified action and multilateral options for U.S. regional and global interests.

As DoD’s primary human geography-focused capability, however, it must be organized, educated, trained, and resourced – well beyond standard military program requirements – in order to understand and engage civil society and agencies and shape political-military environments by: anticipating and exploiting the changing conditions in the human geography; building and employing local, regional, and transregional networks; and conducting integrated security activities. Whether for special operations or conventional forces, the CA Soldier or Marine must be the commander’s subject matter expert on civil reconnaissance and civil engagement. Having this ready human security and engagement capability requires long-term investment in an innovative and adaptable force extensively networked in planning and operational relationships, and persistently engaged and aligned regionally to facilitate political-military goals and objectives before, during, and after conflict. In doing all these in today’s environment, policy and force stakeholders alike must also re-examine the culture for civil affairs.

Given the White Paper and new policies and doctrines such as the Stabilization Assistance Framework, how can the Regiment thus optimize its force? How can the Army and Marine Corps organize, train, educate, and resource CA forces to develop timely situational understanding, synchronize and leverage the efforts of multiple partners, and sustain persistent global and regional engagements to mitigate conflict, shape security environments, and prevail across the across the range of military operations and the “competition continuum” in the years to come?

To address these questions, the Civil Affairs Association and its partners invite experienced civil-military professionals to send an originally written Issue Paper (10 pages excluding endnotes, Cambria 12, 1.5/double-spaced, with short author bios) with an issue summary, analysis and discussion, and recommendations related to some or all of Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership, Personnel, Facilities and Policy (DOTMLPF-P), with reference to the above-cited documents.

The top five papers will appear in the 2018-19 Civil Affairs Issue Papers. Authors will present them at the CA Centennial & Symposium at Ft. Bragg, NC, 2-4 November, for cash awards per paper of: 1st prize, $1,000; 2nd prize, $500; and 3rd prize, $250. Selection is based on: quality of response to the paper call; relevance and originality; clarity and sourcing of argument; and feasibility of recommendations. Papers prepared jointly by civilian and military professionals are most welcome. The deadline is Friday, 7 September 2018. Send papers and inquiries to

For more information and for research references, go to the CAA home page and click on “About Us/CA Issue Papers” or “Research Resources.”


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