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Roundtable Report: “Campaigning and Civil Affairs”



Christopher Holshek 


The 2024 Civil Affairs (CA) Roundtable on April 18th closed out another annual cycle of Civil Affairs Corps thematic discussions for CA force and professional development. As with all 15 Roundtables before it, this event’s look at “Campaigning and Civil Affairs” served to advance a more strategically coherent, comprehensive, and integrative understanding of civil-military capacities and capabilities.


The Roundtable followed a similarly productive CA Conference held at Fort Liberty, NC, last December. Among the observations captured in the Conference Report, posted in the 10th volume of the Civil Affairs Issue Papers, were that:


  • Civil Affairs capabilities and Civil Affairs Operations (CAO) are integral to campaigning.

  • The theater-strategic and operational levels are critical for integration of CA forces.

  • Campaigning at joint command and country team levels is inherently an interagency undertaking.

  • Campaigning is not only the best way for Geographic Combatant Commands (GCCs) and Army Service Component Commands (ASCCs) to leverage CA but also the best way for CA to support and integrate with these commands.

  • Multicomponent CA and multidisciplinary information-related force teaming is the way forward to successful integration of CA forces in strategic competition, integrated deterrence, campaigning, and large-scale combat operations (LSCO).

  • Army 38G Military Government Specialists are ideally suited for employment in campaigning and for multicomponent CA teaming.

  • The need for dedicated maritime CA forces has once again become more obvious.

  • The extended CA Corps needs to create an identifiable 21st century strategic narrative for Civil Affairs writ large.


The most impactful and far-reaching of these observations were on multicomponent CA teaming and the need to promote a universal and unifying narrative on Civil Affairs.

Every year, the Roundtable shifts the CA Corps’ annual discussion towards how to best ready CA forces within the context of new strategic and policy guidance along the lines of the annual theme, with a closer look at the doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, facilities, and policy (DOTMLPF-P) implications of the above findings. This year, the opening panel of the Roundtable provided updates from representatives of the Joint and Army CA Proponents, the U.S. Army Civil Affairs & Psychological Operations Command (Airborne), 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Special Operations) (Airborne), the U.S. Army Peacekeeping & Stability Operations Institute (PKSOI), and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO’s) Civil-Military Cooperation Center of Excellence (CCoE).  Their insights are discussed in detail in the Report.


Keynote speaker Dr. Ajit Maan, Founder & CEO of Narrative Strategies, provided some context on what “narrative” is and why it matters to Civil Affairs. Her presentation helped set the stage for an in-progress report, directed at the December Conference, on “finding a Corps-wide narrative on the Civil Affairs value proposition.” Comments on the capstone paper on this project, available in the “2024 Roundtable” folder on the Association website, are welcome until the end of this month.

 

Last, as always, was the open discussion on the next annual theme for the 2024-25 Civil Affairs Issue Papers, the 2024 Symposium to take place in the Philadelphia area from 15-17 November, and the 2025 Roundtable that takes place online each April. Later on this month, with input from numerous partners and CA stakeholder commands, the Association will publish its call for papers, due on September 13th.

 

The Roundtable agenda, slide decks, and other documents related to the discussion are available in the “2024 Roundtable” folder in the Research Library on the Association website. The 2022-23 Civil Affairs Issue Papers and Roundtable Report are also available on the website. Videos of the discussions are viewable on the Eunomia Journal YouTube channel.


In addition to its own convening role and platforms for multipoint CA-related dialogue, the Association is connected with numerous organizations facilitating the growth of a global network to enhance the value-added of the CA Corps. This includes the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), CCoE, Reserve Organization of America (ROA), Foreign Area Officer Association (FAOA), International Stability Operations Association (ISOA), Alliance for Peacebuilding, and U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. It also includes: the Modern War Institute and Irregular Warfare Initiative at West Point; the PKSOI at the Army War College, the Joint Special Operations University; and, the Joint Civil-Military Interaction Network. Its sponsors include: The Patriot Fund; Third Order Effects; Civil Solutions International; Valka-Mir Human Security; and Conductrr.

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1 Comment


The 2024 Civil Affairs Roundtable sounds like it was an incredibly productive event. It's great to see such a comprehensive approach to advancing CA force and professional development. The focus on multicomponent CA teaming and a unified strategic narrative is especially promising. snake game

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