What is Civil Affairs?
Joint and Army doctrine defines civil affairs as “designated active component and reserve component forces and units organized, trained, and equipped specifically to conduct civil affairs operations and to support civil-military operations,” which in turn support broader U.S. interagency stabilization efforts. CA is the Defense Department’s “primary force specifically trained and educated to understand, engage, and influence the civil component of the operational environment, conduct military government operations, and provide civil considerations expertise.”
Far more than a force multiplier, CA is a national strategic land power capability to consolidate military and security gains into political and civil outcomes – before and during as well as after decisive military action. Beyond its more storied role in transition management, from war to peace and from military to civilian lead, it engages partners and others in the “human geography” in support of national interests and policy objectives in all operations, phases, and levels.
In today’s people-centric irregular conflicts of influence and great power competition, CA has even greater importance as a unique economy-of-force capability that helps commanders preserve their combat power and concentrate its lethality only when and where necessary—and make good on the blood and treasure they may have to employ on the nation’s behalf.
In other words, Army and Marine civil affairs are an integral part of winning and not just fighting wars, or to “secure the victory,” per the Regiment’s motto.
Civil affairs’ enduring values-added stretch back well over a century. You can learn more by looking at the civil affairs briefing and notes on this website.
Civil Affairs Corps
The U. S. Army Civil Affairs Corps was established as the U. S. Army Reserve Civil Affairs Corps by Department of the Army General Order 22 in June 1989.
Following the establishment of the Civil Affairs Branch in the Army Active Component, the name of the Corps was changed to the U. S. Army Civil Affairs Corps. The Civil Affairs Corps is authorized by Army Regulation 600-82, The U. S. Army Regimental System.
The Civil Affairs Corps and the Civil Affairs Association have joined in a number of projects to enhance the esprit of Civil Affairs Soldiers and units. They have supported the Marquat Library at Fort Bragg by purchasing books which supplement the Library’s budget.
The outstanding graduates in Civil Affairs classes at Fort Bragg have been recognized with Civil Affairs coins and a complementary membership in the Association. The two organizations have sponsored summer interns to work for the historians at Fort Bragg to organize and catalog Civil Affairs archives at the post.
The Civil Affairs Corps recognizes its distinguished members with a Distinguished Member of the Corps Certificate and the Civil Affairs Corps Esprit Medallion. Others who are not members of the Corps, but make noteworthy contributions to Civil Affairs, are awarded the Honorary Member of the Corps Certificate and the Medallion.
In cooperation with the Civil Affairs Association, the Corps has selected from Civil Affairs unit nominations a Junior Officer of the Year, NCO of the Year, and a Civil Affairs Soldier of the Year. These persons have been recognized at the Annual Conference of the Civil Affairs Association.
Civil Affairs Commands
The U. S. Army and Marine Corps currently have Civil Affairs units. Click on the links below for more information about the various commands and units.
Civil Affairs Maxims
1. Promise nothing and validate every word with deed
2. Influence is your greatest talent and weapon – failure to motivate the expenditure of others’ time and resources towards your objective is a burden of yours alone
3. Treat every verbal encounter like hand-to-hand combat, victory comes from mental, physical and moral preparation
4. Take no personal credit, but exploit all information systems to advertise progress in the legitimate government’s goals and objectives
5. Ensure every action positively and directly affects US national and foreign policy objectives
6. Plan and take command and responsibility of the plan on day one – be prepared to relinquish command and transition the plan on day two
7. Ours is a target rich environment – exercise precision in your effects by attacking the part that leads to your objective, not the whole
8. Establish the moral high-ground and build an impenetrable fortress around it
9. Do no harm – build nothing that is not immediately absorbed and exploited by the indigenous government and its people to ensure political dominance and the preeminence of civil society
10. Leave nothing to memory – plan and use all devices necessary to document the environment and operations
11. Decide whom to trust by understanding what you have to lose