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Revisiting Civil Affairs Operations in Operation Restore Hope

SSG Childs, Engineer Anshoor, CPT Cahill, and unnamed Somali employee of United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Mogadishu, circa mid-February 1993. Photo taken by unknown team member.

By COL(R) Dennis J. Cahill

Operation Restore Hope (ORH) was the United States-led, United Nations-sanctioned multinational mission conducted from 5 December 1992 to 4 May 1993 to “establish a secure environment for humanitarian relief operations in Somalia."[i] Ultimately, the multinational Unified Task Force (UNITAF) consisted of 37,000 military forces from 28 countries. The U.S. contingent consisted of a 3-star Joint Task Force (JTF) headquarters, a 2-star Army Force (ARFOR) formed around the 10th Mountain Division, a 2-star Marine Force (MARFOR) formed around the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (1st MEF), and elements of the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Special Operations Command. Civil affairs support to this operation was provided by 30 members of C Company, 96th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne) (96th CA Bn (Abn)) and 3 members of the 321st Civil Affairs Brigade (321st CA Bde).[ii] I was a captain in C Company and deployed as the team leader of Civil Affairs Direct Support Team (CADST) 32.

Upon our return from Somalia, I was tasked to write the company’s after-action report (AAR). With the 30th anniversary of the operation upon us, I recently reviewed the 30-page memorandum that I submitted to the battalion S-3 on 1 July 1993. Paragraph 5 in the base document stated: “C Company gained valuable experience during Operation Restore Hope. Knowing that every deployment is different, we’re sure that the lessons we learned will enhance the effectiveness of civil affairs during the next humanitarian assistance operation.”[iii] Paragraph 7 concluded the paper with the recommendation to “Consider the recommendations for each lesson in Enclosures 4 and 5 in future discussions of how to better conduct Civil Military Operations.”[iv] This article looks at the company’s experience in Somalia as confirmation that the current civil affairs core competencies and missions are valid and apply to civil affairs operations of 30 years ago as well as to current and future operations.

Operation Restore Hope was the first time a company of the 96th CA Bn (Abn) deployed as a unit since the end of Desert Shield/Desert Storm in January 1991 and, except for the company commander and operations officer, it was the first civil affairs deployment for the rest of us. At this time, the 96th CA Bn (Abn) was a direct reporting unit to the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) (USACAPOC(A)) under the U.S. Army Special Operations Command and the only civil affairs battalion in the Army’s active component. Its structure was a bit different from today’s special operations civil affairs units[v] and the civil affairs branch did not yet exist in the Army‘s active component. As a result, only the officers were formally trained in functional area (FA) 39, Civil Affairs, while the NCOs with maneuver, medical, and engineer military occupational specialties picked up what they could from reading FM 41-10, Civil Affairs Operations,[vi] discussions in the company area, reviewing and updating unit-retained area and country studies of each company’s designated area of responsibility (AOR), and actual deployments to the AORs.[vii] As I recall, we had no materials on the country of Somalia and were not tracking conditions there until late in 1992 when news agencies started to report on the deteriorating humanitarian situation resulting from 2 years of civil war and the deliberate interference with ongoing international relief efforts by the warring factions.

I was on a 3-month temporary duty tour at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, as an augmentee observer/controller at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) when Major James P. Nelson, the C Company commander, deployed to U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) headquarters in Tampa, Florida, on 29 November 1992 to participate in the final planning for ORH. His assessment that the JTF required a civil affairs brigade and the ARFOR and MARFOR each required a civil affairs battalion was rejected. He was told that U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) forces would not be activated for this operation and that only active-duty civil affairs forces would be used. Given that constraint, he was forced to change his recommendation to deploy only the USCENTCOM-focused company of the Army’s active-duty civil affairs battalion.

On 9 December 1992, the world watched as elements of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) conducted an amphibious assault onto the beaches of Mogadishu under the lights of curious camera crews from multiple news outlets. I was recalled from Fort Chaffee on 10 December 1992. When I returned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, late the next day, I found the company tactical headquarters support team (THST) had already deployed and the CADSTs were filling their vacancies with two USAR officers from the 422nd Civil Affairs Battalion in Greensboro, North Carolina, and six 18-series NCOs from 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) (SFG(A)), 10th SFG(A), and the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (USAJFKSWCS). For a reason unknown to me then as now, the civil assistance team was left off the deployment roster.

The two USAR officers were part of a command contingency plan in which the 422nd CA Bn was designated as a backfill to the 96th CA Bn (Abn) when deployed for operations. However, to be viable, the plan depended on mobilization authority. When it became clear that individual USAR Soldiers would not be mobilized for ORH,[viii]the USAR officers were sent home and replaced by trained officers from within the battalion. Consequently, my team, which had been granted extra time to prepare due to my delayed return from JRTC, was moved up in the order of deployment. Given this short notice and the flurry of activity required to get an unprepared unit packed and ready to go, those of us in the earlier-deploying teams designated to support 1st MEF units had very little time and virtually no information to properly prepare, receiving the first inkling of our mission requirements only after we arrived in Mogadishu. We later learned that 1st MEF suffered the same lack of time and information to properly prepare, relying on a cut and pasted sample civil affairs annex to “check the block” in its deployment operations order. The later-deploying teams designated to support 10th Mountain Division units fared a little better since the division had an assigned G5 civil affairs staff officer who kept them informed of ever-changing plans.

We deployed from Fort Bragg to Mogadishu, Somalia, in three serials, with the THST linking up with JTF Somalia headquarters on 13 December 1992, three CADSTs (32, 34, and 36) linking up with elements of MARFOR on 21 December 1992, and three CADSTs (31, 33, and 35) linking up with elements of ARFOR on 29 December 1992. The THST established a civil-military operations center (CMOC) at the UN humanitarian operations center (HOC) a few blocks from the Mogadishu Airport. Its primary role was to coordinate and facilitate requests for security and other assistance for the international humanitarian relief organizations (HROs) (also referred to as non-government organizations (NGOs)) operating from and within Mogadishu and to provide a communication link with the JTF headquarters set up in the U.S. Embassy compound located deeper into the city. As the CADSTs arrived in Mogadishu, we reported to the HOC for reception and staging before onward movement and integration with our supported units. We learned from the military deputy of the HOC, U.S. Marine Corps Colonel Kevin Kennedy, that our mission was to replicate the CMOC’s role by conducting liaison operations between the military forces providing security and the HROs providing humanitarian assistance in designated humanitarian relief sectors (HRSs). Interestingly, for those of us who ultimately supported the 7th Regimental Combat Team (RCT-7) of 1st MEF, the brief focused strictly on the HROs and neglected to mention the need to understand the human aspects of the operation embodied in the activities and concerns of the local populace.

Over time, as the tactical situation changed and supported units repositioned across the operational battlespace, CADSTs sought to be reassigned to where they were most needed within the ARFOR or MARFOR footprints to integrate military and HRO operations and to gain better understanding of the political, social, economic, and cultural aspects of the operational environment (OE). They weren’t always successful. Under lessons learned, the AAR stated: “Common experiences included problems resulting from: late linkup with the supported unit; a lack of Civil Affairs policies and directives from JTF to all units in Somalia; a lack of a central Civil Affairs link; inflexibility of supported units to free up Civil Affairs assets for other missions in sector; and a lack of translators.”[ix]

That said, many of the activities conducted instinctively by the members of C Company in ORH can be binned under the new civil affairs core competencies and missions published in the most recent version of FM 3-57, Civil Affairs Operations. The civil affairs core competencies are: transitional governance (TG), civil network development and engagement (CNDE), civil knowledge integration (CKI), and civil-military integration (CMI). The CA missions are: conduct civil reconnaissance, conduct civil engagement, conduct civil network development, conduct civil information evaluation, establish CMOCs, provide support to civil administration, and establish and maintain transitional military authority.[x] C Company executed all the core competencies and all but the last mission during ORH.

Transitional governance consists of actions taken to assure appropriate control and continuity of government functions throughout the range of military operations. Civil affairs units conduct TG by, with, and through mission partners to maintain stability in periods of competition, promote resilience in periods of crisis, and assure continuity of governance during armed conflict.[xi]

- Two years of civil war had broken down the formal, recognized government systems in Somalia. Humanitarian relief organizations operated by working directly with warring factions and local community leaders in cities and villages throughout the country. It was not within our mission parameters to address the lack of governance, but, as part of routine civil engagements with the local populace to understand and address security issues associated with the military mission, all CADSTs found themselves meeting with local elder committees who claimed to speak for specific communities. Through these civil engagements, we began to gradually understand the formal and informal governance structures in the OE.

- In early January 1993, when my team was in the city of Baidoa, the Baidoa Elder Committee told me the unwelcomed Governor of the Bay-Bakool-Gedo Region, appointed by faction leader General Mohamed Farrah Aideed, fled to Mogadishu just before the U.S. Marines arrived in mid-December. The elders now wanted to return to the traditional way of elder-led governance for the city and the region without the interference of outsiders from Mogadishu. Upon hearing this, I contacted Kate Farnsworth of U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance at the UN HOC in Mogadishu for guidance. Within a few days, she and UN representative Charles Petrie arrived to explain to the Elder Committee how it can show legitimacy by providing a consolidated list of prioritized requirements for the region to inform an upcoming UN session that was seeking funds for Somalia from the international community. Two officers of the 1st Battalion Royal Australian Regiment - the unit that was about to replace the Marine unit in Baidoa - participated in that meeting with the elders. About 2 weeks later, my team relocated to Mogadishu, leaving further engagements for support to civil administration with the Elder Committee to our replacements from the Australian unit’s fire support element.[xii]

- In the latter part of February 1993, the 10th Mountain Division G5 asked me to assist an ARFOR unit in Mogadishu to understand why two sets of local nationals were claiming to be responsible for the area adjoining the compound occupied by the unit. In coordination with the engineer battalion S-2, I met with the local nationals on two separate days. In the first meeting, Haji Muse Sudi Yalahow handed me a letter signed by Interim President Ali Mahdi designating him as the leader of the Madina-Dharkenley District in south-western Mogadishu. The following day, I met with a group of elders who admitted that Haji Muse Sudi Yalahow used to be the leader of the area, but they disagreed with him and took over the Dharkenley portion of the district. This encounter helped us identify one of several Ali Mahdi “pockets” in the portion of the city predominantly led by Aideed and provided insight into political dynamics at the district level.

Civil network development and engagement consists of actions taken to identify, engage, evaluate, develop, and integrate civil network information, capabilities, and resources into operations. A civil network is a collection of formal and informal groups, associations, military engagements, and organizations within an OE that interact with each other with varying degrees of frequency, trust, and collaboration. Developing and engaging civil networks provides commanders with a more complete understanding of the OE, while providing access to use those networks to shape operational outcomes.[xiii]

- As CADSTs 32 and 34 established CMOCs in Baidoa, we routinely met with members of the HRO community operating in the city and the Bay-Bakool-Gedo region. This community included representatives from CARE International, Irish Concern, Goal Ireland, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Medecins Sans Frontieres, and others. These individuals became the first members of our civil networks in Somalia and, through them, we were introduced to other HRO representatives and members of the local community as our need to answer civil information requirements or obtain civil resources grew.

- Just before Christmas 1992, the CADST 32 team engineer was approached by a U.S. Naval Construction Battalion (Seabees) team conducting road clearance operations for assistance in finding equipment for their demining effort. We recalled seeing some inactive construction equipment on a side street in Baidoa during our civil reconnaissance activities. Through our HRO contacts, we found out the equipment was owned by UNICEF. We approached the UNICEF representative who told us the equipment could no longer be maintained and gave us permission to take what we needed for the mission. We handed over the locally procured resources to the Seabees the next day.

- CADST 36 operated in the Bardera HRS in support of two successive battalions of RCT-7 from late December 1992 through mid-April 1993. The battalions based their operations out of the airfield in Bardera. Shortly after occupying the airfield, a civilian aircraft landed with a load of khat[xiv]from a neighboring country. The battalion commander, considering khat an illegal drug, ordered the shipment confiscated and burned, which caused a riot at the entrance to the airfield. The CADST had established multiple contacts and relationships among the community in the few days it had been there. With the help of key community leaders, it was able to reduce tensions between the rioters and the Marines and negotiate an agreement regarding future khat shipments.

Civil knowledge integration consists of actions taken to analyze, evaluate, and organize collected civil information for operational relevance and to inform the warfighting functions. Civil knowledge resulting from this process is integrated with other knowledge about the OE to create shared understanding among commanders, unified action partners, international organizations, and civilian partners. Civil affairs units also use civil knowledge as inputs to the CNDE process to refine information requirements and to shape branches, sequels, and other future missions.[xv]

- “During Operation Restore Hope, there was no mechanism for CADSTs to conveniently contact or send and receive messages to/from the senior CA cell (in this case, the THST at UNOSOM’s [the UN Operation in Somalia] ...HOC). Because of distribution problems and the fact that the HOC was not located with the rest of the JTF staff, weeks would go by before the THST received a periodic CA report from the teams at remote locations. The cellular phones that were used by the THST were incompatible with MSE phones available to the CADSTs throughout Somalia.”[xvi] These communication challenges and the fact that there was no CKI process in place at that time hampered the timely analysis and sharing of civil information across HRSs. Civil knowledge integration was accomplished locally in Mogadishu as the THST reviewed each CADST’s weekly periodic CA reports and passed copies or relevant portions thereof to parties in Mogadishu that would benefit from the information.

- The C Company commander shared CADST 32 reports with the political officers of the U.S. Liaison Office (USLO) that included the names of local elders from various city districts with which it had been meeting. The political officer later told me that the database of political leaders in Somalia that had been maintained by the U.S. Embassy before it evacuated in January 1991 was left in the U.S. when Ambassador Robert Oakley and the USLO deployed to Mogadishu in December 1992. The political officer said he had encountered several of the former political leaders from Mogadishu in dislocated civilian camps outside of the city. He was using our reports to build a new database.

- When CADSTs 32 and 34 relocated from Baidoa to Mogadishu in late January 1993, one of the JTF J2’s civil information requirements was to determine the location of the suspected pockets of Ali Mahdi supporters in the Aideed-controlled portion of the city and Aideed supporters in the Ali Madhi-controlled portion of the city. Most of UNITAF lived and operated on the Aideed side while Italian forces operated primarily on the Ali Mahdi side. The maps used by U.S. forces were computer-generated with street names in small font and district names in larger font; however, the district boundaries were not known or depicted. As CADST 32 met with various elder groups throughout Mogadishu, we identified Ali Mahdi pockets on the Aideed side that generally coincided with districts or sub-districts, but the elders could not identify their district boundaries on the map. While coordinating projects with UN Development Program (UNDP) representatives, SSG David Childs, the team engineer, discovered that a local national UNDP employee, Engineer Anshoor, had once worked for the Mogadishu City Planner office. Using our team map, Engineer Anshoor outlined the district boundaries for us. We promptly sent an overlay of the boundaries through the THST to the JTF J2 which, in turn, disseminated it to the force as a classified intelligence product.

Civil-military integration consists of actions taken to establish, maintain, influence, or leverage relations between military forces and civilian mission partners to synchronize, coordinate, and enable interorganizational cooperation and to achieve unified action. The establishment of a CMOC, or other mechanisms, enables civil information sharing and integration.[xvii]

- The JTF’s CMOC in Mogadishu conducted 24-hour operations “to coordinate and facilitate all humanitarian relief organization requests for security and assistance required in support of relief operations...conducting liaison with NGOs, clan/tribal elders, and local government representatives. CMOC operated a HF radio net which allowed all NGO/UN agencies to access the JTF immediately via the CMOC. CMOC operations also ran a convoy escort desk responsible for coordinating NGO requests for security escorts provided by JTF. CMOC was the responsible agent for weapons control policy, pass and ID cards for NGOs, space available requests for JTF aircraft, and all other miscellaneous requests for assistance by the humanitarian relief community. CMOC also dispatched a field officer weekly who traveled to all the humanitarian relief sections (sic) in south central Somalia and met with local Somali leadership, NGOs, and military leaders.”[xviii]

- Like many military units participating in ORH, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) infantry battalion succumbed to “mission creep”[xix]and elected to sponsor a school in its security patrol area. In March 1993, Mark Mullen, a member of my HRO network who worked for Irish Concern, requested my assistance to resolve an issue brought to him by the Mogadishu Education Committee. The committee had been working with Irish Concern and CARITAS Germany to rehabilitate schools throughout the city according to a prioritized schedule. Not aware of that arrangement, the UAE selected a school that was already assigned to one of the HROs for rehabilitation later in that schedule. I brought the UAE battalion S3 and another staff officer to meet with the Mogadishu Education Committee to discuss the issue. In the end, both parties agreed that the school would be removed from the prioritized list and UAE would continue to support rehabilitation and sustainment of the school in unity of effort with the committee and the HROs.

- One of the consistent complaints heard by CADST 32 during civil engagements in Mogadishu concerned a UNDP water project that was slow in fixing the water system and getting water to the complainants’ part of the city. SSG Childs and I contacted UNDP and discovered that the city’s water originated in a well system in Afgooye, 30 kilometers north of Mogadishu. Starting at this source, the UNDP project first rehabilitated the pumps, then fixed pipes that had broken in multiple places during 2 years of civil war and neglect. It was slow going because the work was being done with hand shovels. While military engineer units were primarily engaged in security-focused horizontal and vertical construction projects, SSG Childs was able to coordinate military excavator support to the UNDP project for a short period of time, promoting interorganizational cooperation and expanding the civil network for future collaborative efforts.

The activities conducted by C Company, 96th CA Bn (Abn) in ORH effectively exemplify the competencies and missions detailed in current civil affairs doctrine and demonstrate the value of tactical civil affairs forces to humanitarian assistance operations as well as to military operations across the competition continuum. Yet, except for the CMOC’s tasks and responsibilities, these examples (and the AAR) only provide a picture of local civil affairs activities at brigade and below. With limited CA staff at the ARFOR headquarters, no CA staff at the MARFOR or JTF Headquarters, and no CA or civil-military cooperation (CIMIC)[xx] forces or staffs at coalition force units, the forces of UNITAF and its political partners at the USLO and UN headquarters still did not fully understand the human, information, or physical dimensions of the operational environment, leading to missteps that contributed to the deterioration of the security situation in the latter days of ORH that only worsened in the follow-on Operation Continue Hope. From a civil affairs perspective, and as alluded to in the AAR, this can be attributed to the lack of adequate civil affairs capabilities deployed to ORH, the lack of an overarching JTF plan for civil affairs operations, and the lack of a civil information sharing architecture that linked civil knowledge produced by CA forces to the JTF’s operations, intelligence, and targeting processes.

If ORH were to happen again tomorrow, it would likely be categorized as a stability operation.[xxi] The latest version of FM 3-0, Operations, states that, in rear areas during the offense in combat operations, “The land component commander can establish a civil affairs task concentrate stability operations in an AO under a commander’s main effort.” The civil affairs task force (CATF) can also be employed for stabilization during crisis response. According to FM 3-57, “The primary mission of the CA task force is to focus the stabilization efforts in an AO under one command line, thereby increasing the speed and efficiency of stabilization operations tasks...CA task forces provide the important linkage between interagency, interorganizational, and NGOs which are important to the success of stabilization operations.”

If tomorrow’s ORH planners establish a CATF to address stabilization activities while the maneuver forces focus on security, the CATF would operate in direct support of JTF Somalia with staff ties to all levels of command and would likely include USAR CA units from U.S. Army Forces Command, special operations CA units from U.S. Army Special Operations Command,[xxii] U.S. Marine Corps Reserve CA units, civilian interorganizational partners, selected medical, engineer, and military police units, and civil affairs and CIMIC capabilities developed by the coalition forces of UNITAF in the years since ORH.[xxiii] The increased capacity and capability provided by these forces will more effectively address the shortfalls encountered by C Company, 96th CA Bn (Abn). The CA core competencies and missions would take place on a greater scale across all 8 HRSs, providing the operational- and tactical-level relationships, resources, and information needed to better understand and engage the critical civil component of the OE. If integrated properly with the intelligence, operations, and targeting processes, civil affairs operations will prove to be a major contributor to situational understanding, protecting the force, and setting conditions to Secure the Victory in future peacetime stability operations.

Colonel (Ret.) Dennis J. Cahill is the Deputy Civil Affairs Capability Manager at the U.S. Army Special Operations Command's Force Modernization Center at Fort Bragg, NC. He is a Distinguished Member of the Civil Affairs Corps, served as the 2nd Honorary Colonel of the Civil Affairs Corps, and was a National Security Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University under the U.S. Army War College Fellowship Program. A 1984 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, commissioned as a Field Artillery officer, he began his uniformed career in Civil Affairs in 1992, starting as a Civil Affairs Direct Support Team Leader with C Company, 96th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne) and ending as the G-3/5/7 of U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) and Development Line of Operation Chief for CJTF-82/Regional Command-East. His Civil Affairs deployments include Operation Restore Hope in Somalia in 1993, Operation Iraqi Freedom Study Group in 2003, and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2007 and 2009-2010.

CADST32/C Co/96th CA Bn at Mogadishu International Airport on the morning of 21 Dec 1992, lined up and ready for convoy to Baidoa with 7th RCT. Left to right: CPT Dennis J. Cahill, 13A/39C, Tm Ldr; SFC Larry A. Colley, 18D, Tm Medic; SSG David R. Childs, 12B, Tm Engineer; SFC James B. Riddell, 11B, Tm Sergeant. Photo taken by unknown team member.

First meeting in Baidoa to discuss Elders’ desire to establish traditional rule in Bai-Bakol-Geddo Region, mid-Jan 1993. UN and USAID OFDA reps advised the elder council to develop a list of priorities for a UN funding meeting taking place the following month. People at table in the center include, from left, CPT Dennis J. Cahill (CADST32/C Co/96th CA Bn), Col Werner Helmer (CMOT Chief, RCT-7/1st Marine Division), Col “Buck” Bedard ((Commander, RCT-7/1st Marine Division), Charles Petrie (UN), and Kate Farnsworth (USAID OFDA). Photo taken by SSG Childs.

CPT Dennis J. Cahill (CADST32/C Co/96th CA Bn) and Mr. Mark Mullen (Irish Concern) outside the CADST32 quarters within the former Somali Airlines kitchen facility at Mogadishu International Airport, circa Feb 1993. Photo taken by SSG Childs.

3/11 Marines Battalion Commander (LTC Edward J. Lesnowicz, Jr. – 2nd Marine from right) inspecting W Hawlwadaag Rd on western edge of Bakara Market (vic East Africa Hotel), late Feb-early Mar 1993. W Hawlwadaag Rd was a paved city street once capable of supporting at least 2 lanes of vehicular traffic but reduced to a footpath due to the relocation of vendors from other city markets during the civil war. Purpose of the visit was to inform the vendors of his intent to clear out the stalls and open the street to military traffic to increase security in the area. Also pictured is LTC Lesnowicz’s U.S.-hired civilian Somali interpreter (center, in uniform, with megaphone) and members of his personal security detail. Photo taken by CPT Cahill.

Outdoor meeting with the Hawlwadag Political and Reconstruction Committee, circa early March 1993. Previous 5 meetings with this committee, beginning on 4 Feb 1993, had taken place in the Olympic Hotel, until 3/11 Marines got word that ranking members of Mohamed Farah Aideed’s militia resided there. LTC Lesnowitz seated in center on bench. CPT Cahill standing behind him with slung M-16A2. Photo taken by SSG Childs., circa early March 1993. Previous 5 meetings with this committee, beginning on 4 Feb 1993, had taken place in the Olympic Hotel, until 3/11 Marines got word that ranking members of Mohamed Farah Aideed’s militia resided there. LTC Lesnowitz seated in center on bench. CPT Cahill standing behind him with slung M-16A2. Photo taken by SSG Childs.


[i] United Nations Security Council Resolution 794, 3 December 1992. [ii] The 321st CA Bde is a U.S. Army Reserve unit stationed in San Antonio, TX. As stated in this article, USAR forces were not mobilized for ORH. Based on a habitual training relationship with the 13th Corps Support Command (COSCOM) at Fort Hood, TX, the three officers mentioned here deployed as the COSCOM’s G5 Civil Affairs staff section in January 1993 without the knowledge of USACAPOC(A) headquarters, which was required to validate their presence by cutting ex post facto deployment orders. [iii] CPT Dennis J. Cahill, Memorandum, 96th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne), Subject: After Action Report for Operation Restore Hope, 1 July 1993, p. 3, hereafter cited as 96th CA Bn (Abn) AAR. [iv] 96th CA Bn (Abn) AAR, p. 3. [v] For context and comparison to a civil affairs company of today’s 96th Civil Affairs Battalion (Special Operations) (Airborne), the company structure at the time consisted of a 6-member company Tactical Headquarters Support Team (THST), six 4-member CADSTs, and a 13-member Civil Assistance Team. On the unit’s Modified Table of Organization and Equipment, the THST consisted of a Functional Area (FA) 39C (Civil Affairs) company commander (O4), an 11B first sergeant (E8), a 39C operations officer (O3), a 92Y supply sergeant (E5), a 96B intelligence analyst (E5), and a 71L clerk typist (E4). The CADST consisted of a 39C team leader (O3), an 11B team sergeant (E7), a 12B engineer non-commissioned officer (NCO) (E6), and a 91A medical NCO (E6). The Civil Assistance Team consisted of a 39C team chief (O4), a 31A public safety officer (O4), a 60C preventive medical officer (O4), a 65D physician assistant (O4), a 90A logistics officer (O4), a 21B construction management officer (O3), a 75A field veterinary services officer (O3), an 88N movements supervisor NCO (E7), a 92Y property coordination NCO (E7), a 91R veterinary services NCO (E6), a 91T senior animal care sergeant (E5), and a 71L administrative specialist (E4). Not every position was filled at the time of notification for deployment. [vi] The Army changed the designation of Civil Affairs doctrine from 41-10 to 3-57 in 2011 when it realigned the numbering convention for all doctrinal publications. [vii] At this time, there were only 4 companies in the 96th CA Bn (Abn) and each company was focused on a separate Geographic Combatant Command AOR: A Co – U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM); B Co – U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM); C Co – U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM); and D Co – U.S. European Command (USEUCOM). [viii] In another example of the confusion of this deployment, three officers of the 321st CA Bde were able to circumvent this constraint by “accidentally” deploying with the 13th COSCOM, with which they had a habitual training relationship, without the benefit of a proper mobilization process. Once USACAPOC(A) learned they were already in country, it took the necessary steps to put them on approved deployment orders. [ix] 96th CA Bn (Abn) AAR, p. 3. Interestingly, I saw these very same issues in Regional Command-East in Afghanistan 17 years later during Operation Enduring Freedom. The common denominator seems to be limited or inconsistent experience of maneuver force units with civil affairs operations prior to deployment, resulting in a hesitation of commanders to fully trust their little-known civil affairs staff officers or take risk in unfamiliar operations. [x] Field Manual (FM) 3-57, Civil Affairs Operations, 28 July 2021, paragraph 1-23. [xi] FM 3-57, paragraph 1-17. [xii] After redeployment to Fort Bragg in May 1993, I found out that CADST 33, led by CPT Todd Wheeler, had a similar challenge in Kismayo where a citizens security committee, formed by the 10th Mountain Division’s Task Force Kismayo, soon began discussing the political situation and expressing interest in forming a government to “return to some form of pre-conflict normalcy.” The task force commander “had no political advisor to run to for advice and guidance on political issues” and, evidently, CPT Wheeler did not have the same network or reach back capability to Mogadishu that I had. (96th CA Bn (Abn) AAR. [xiii] FM 3-57, paragraph 1-18. [xiv] Khat is a plant with leaves and stem tips that are chewed for their stimulating effect. Consumers of khat initially get a feeling of well-being, mental alertness, and excitement followed later by insomnia, numbness, and lack of concentration. The excessive use of khat is known to create considerable social, health, and economic problems among users. The chewing of khat in Somalia - PubMed (, accessed 4 February 2023. [xv] FM 3-57, paragraphs 1-19 and 1-20. [xvi] 96th CA Bn (Abn) AAR, p. 4-3. During our in brief at the UN HOC, the C Company Operations Officer directed the CADSTs to provide a weekly report to the THST/CMOC by whatever means possible using the Periodic Civil Affairs Report format from Appendix C in FM 41-10. [xvii] FM 3-57, paragraph 1-21. [xviii] 96th CA Bn (Abn) AAR, p. 3-1. [xix] According to Merriam-Webster, mission creep is ”the gradual broadening of the original objectives of a mission or organization.”, accessed 13 Feb 2023. During ORH, the creep from providing security to the relief efforts of the international community to directly participating in humanitarian operations resulted from a failure to fully appreciate the operational environment during mission planning. ”An appreciation of civil considerations enhances the commander’s selection of objectives; location, movement, and control of forces; use of weapons; and force protection measures. It also helps him avoid, or at least minimize, “mission creep” into civil areas that are beyond his mission parameters or resource capabilities. Mission creep occurs when commanders choose to use, or are forced to use, their resources to address (allegedly) unforeseen factors after they have begun an operation.” FM 3-05.401/MCRP 3-33.1A, Civil Affairs Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures, Headquarters, Department of the Army, Washington, D.C., 23 September 2003, p. 3-4. [xx] While several UNITAF units, particularly those of NATO countries, had CIMIC doctrine in 1992, they had no trained staffs or forces dedicated to CIMIC. According to, accessed on 20 March 2023, “In 1997, following peace support operations in the Balkans area, NATO recognized its need for a civil-military cooperation capability to interface with the civil environment and facilitate the accomplishment of its mission. Consequently, NATO reviewed its doctrine and decided to create a specialized unit, incumbent and solely responsible for civil-military cooperation.” Today, most, if not all, NATO and non-NATO forces have or are developing CIMIC or CA capabilities. [xxi] According to FM 3-0, Operations, 1 October 2022, a stability operation is “An operation conducted outside the United States in coordination with other instruments of national power to establish or maintain a secure environment, provide essential governmental services, emergency infrastructure reconstruction, and humanitarian relief.” According to Department of Defense Directive 3000.05, Stabilization, 13 December 2018, “The Department of State is the overall lead federal agency for U.S. stabilization efforts; the U.S. Agency for International Development is the lead implementing agency for non-security U.S. stabilization assistance; and DoD is a supporting element, including providing requisite security and reinforcing civilian efforts where appropriate and consistent with available statutory authorities.” The civil affairs task force provides the military capability that reinforces civilian efforts. [xxii] In 1992, all U.S. Army CA units based in the continental United States were designated as special operations forces and assigned to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command. In 2006, by order of the Deputy Secretary of Defense, all USAR CA units were designated as no longer special operations forces and reassigned to the U.S. Army Reserve Command under U.S. Army Forces Command. [xxiii] U.S. Special Operations Command, The Civil Affairs Task Force in Rear Area Operations Concept of Employment, DRAFT, 8 August 2022, currently available in the U.S. Army FORGE database.


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It's clear that you've delved deep into the subject matter, providing not just a historical overview but also a nuanced understanding of the lasting impact of civil affairs operations.

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