Small Wars Journal

civil affairs

Civil Affairs 2.0: Breaking the Circular Logic

Fri, 09/27/2019 - 1:35am
Army Civil Affairs (CA) faces an existential conundrum. The Army’s renewed focus on peer competition and lethality in Large Scale Combat Operations challenges how the branch defines itself and how the Army perceives its role. The inability of CA to define itself in relation to the Army’s operating concepts and doctrine is an enduring problem.

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Beyond Tacit Approval: Embracing Special Operations Civil Affairs Support to the Intelligence Information Report

Fri, 09/27/2019 - 1:14am
When Special Forces train foreign partners, I can know how many bullets exited a rifle and how many foreign partners eventually qualified on the weapons range. I’m just not sure I can see what your Civil Affairs Teams accomplished during their deployment. What can you show me?

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Civil Affairs, Winston Churchill, and the Power of Paying Attention

Sun, 06/16/2019 - 3:44am
This paper aims to show the value of CA to both the statesman and general as they are understood by Winston Churchill in Dr. Larry P. Arnn’s scholarly work Churchill’s Trial: Winston Churchill and the Salvation of Free Government. Although Churchill uses the term “general” to refer to commanders, CA’s value is by no means limited to flag officers. The CA team, the lowest-echelon CA element, is a battalion-level asset and can inform tactical decisions as well as operational and strategic ones. Similarly, CA support to statesmen is not limited to elected officials, as fostering partnerships within and supporting the various branches of government fall directly within the purview of Civil Affairs.

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Civil Affairs: The U.S. Army’s Civil Engagement Force

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 7:43am
The early integration of civil affairs forces at all echelons is necessary to determine what resources are available to support a commander’s civil-military operations (CMO). Enabling the sharing of information and resources with all partners contributes to a position of relative advantage during all phases of competition, armed conflict, and the return to competition.

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Reducing the Dependency on USSOF: The Kosovo CACOY Example

Sun, 06/09/2019 - 1:57pm
As evidenced from the KSF CACOY example, It is critical that USSOF eventually relinquishes command and control of institution building and allows the A/PN unit to succeed, or even fail, on its own. Had CMSE XKS not enforced the importance of KSF officers conducting their own execution and problem solving, they would continue to rely on the US support.

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Calibrating Civil Affairs Forces for Human Geography

Sat, 05/18/2019 - 3:39pm
A fundamental aspect to understanding human geography, insofar as it relates to the entirety of the academic field of geography, is gaining a grasp on the sheer breadth of it. The subdisciplines of geography can be bifurcated between the physical and the social sciences. “When geography concentrates on the distribution of physical features, such as climate, soil, and vegetation, it is a physical science. When it studies cultural features, such as language, industries, and cities, geography is a social science”.

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Calibrating Civil Affairs Forces for Lethality in Large Scale Combat Operations

Mon, 03/18/2019 - 5:07am
To remain relevant in the future operational environment, CA must counter enemy hybrid warfare in the expanded battlefield, specifically in operational and tactical support areas, as part of an integrated security team through civil reconnaissance, civil network analysis, and civil network development.

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Civil Affairs and Civil Society: Harnessing the Latent Power of Social Bonds SWJED Mon, 01/07/2019 - 12:22am
Civil Affairs and Joint doctrine allude to civil society’s important role within the OE. However, the concept receives only a few cursory mentions, including: defeating threats to it, mitigating vulnerabilities to it, and reintroducing former combatants into it. Civil society is addressed in neither practical nor theoretical terms. This lack of attention carries over into Civil Affairs Operations and civil-military operations.