Civil Affairs: Making More than the Papers

Updated: Feb 8, 2020

Concurrent to the expansion of platforms beginning last year, beyond the Civil Affairs Issue Papers, to help members of the Regiment tell the civil affairs story, a virtual barrage of articles and podcasts on CA-related topics has opened up.

Going only as far back to two capstone articles last fall, on the civil affairs role in U.S. stabilization in the Small Wars Journal and on CA’s longstanding value-added as a critical Army war-winning capability in Army magazine, more and more civil affairs professionals are contributing to what U.S. Army JFK Special Warfare Center & School (USAJFKSWCS) Commander Maj. Gen. Kurt L. Sonntag has called the “intellectual capitalization” of the civil affairs enterprise to educate itself, the Army, and others.

Beyond the Civil Affairs Issue Papers, now in its sixth annual call for papers on “integrating civil affairs” (due August 30th), members of the Regiment have been able to source the CA Centennial edition of Special Warfare Magazine, USAJFKSWCS quarterly CA newsletters (posted on the Association website), and SOF News articles on civil affairs, as well as the civil affairs working group report from the annual Peace & Stability Operations Training & Education Workshop and the CA Roundtable Report.

CPT Peter Hendrickson PhD

(CPT Peter Hendrickson, PhD in Liberia, Courtesy of LTC (ret) Ross F. Lightsey, Sr.)

Then there have been articles in the online Civil Affairs Journal to extend the discussions in the Issue Papers by contributors who re-wrote papers submitted but not published. This includes an article by Capt. David Harrell on mapping social media followed up by Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Peterson’s on how CA may support a major combat contingency in Korea and another by Maj. Nicholas Ashley on how CA can harness the power of civil society in its operations.

At the same time, however, CA professionals have been busy expanding the discussion beyond professional military journals to open-source publications with wider reach. Among these is the Small Wars Journal, which has become home for detailed discussions of the CA operational art. Among these is Army Strategist and CA officer Lt. Col. Arnel David and Dr. W.A. Rivera’s strategic explanation of how CA supports the Army’s current focus on lethality, complemented by CA Commandant Col. Jay Liddick and others’ more institutional treatment of CA and lethality.