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U.S. Army Special Forces
"The Green Berets"

U.S. Army Special Operations Command

Civil Affairs & Psychological Operations Command (CAPOC)

Civil Affairs (CA)

Civil affairs units help military commanders attain their objectives during peace, contingency operations and declared war. They support activities of both conventional and special operations forces.

Civil affairs specialists can quickly and systematically identify critical requirements needed by local citizens in war or disaster situations. They can also locate civil resources to support military operations, help minimize civilian interference with operations, support national assistance activities, plan and execute non-combatant evacuation, support counter-drug operations, and establish and maintain liaison or dialogue with civilian personnel agencies and civilian commercial and private organizations.

In support of special operations, these culturally-oriented, linguistically-capable soldiers may also be tasked to provide functional expertise for foreign internal defense operations, unconventional warfare operations and direct action missions. The functional structure of civil affairs forces and their experience, training, and orientation provide a capability for emergency coordination and administration where civilian political-economic structures have been incapacitated.

They can help plan U.S. government interagency procedures for national or regional emergencies. They can assist civil-military planning and military support operations for theater commanders in chief. Additionally, they can coordinate military resources to support government operations, emergency actions and humanitarian assistance from natural, man-made or war-related causes.

The 96th Civil Affairs Battalion, with four percent of the civil affairs forces, is the only active Army civil affairs unit. The unit is readily available to deploy and provides primarily tactical support.

The remaining 96 percent of the Army's civil affairs forces are found in the Reserve Component. They provide a prime source of nation-building skills.

Civil affairs units include soldiers with training and experience in public administration, public safety, public health, legal systems, labor management, public welfare, public finance, public education, civil defense, public works and utilities, public communications, public transportation, logistics, food and agricultural services, economics, property control, cultural affairs, civil information, and managing dislocated persons.

One of the most ambitious civil affairs undertakings during this century was the Marshall Plan which restored governmental infrastructure to the defeated Axis nations after World War 11. More recent employment of these assets include tactical support to military commanders during Operations JUST CAUSE and DESERT STORM, support to the restoration of the Panamanian government infrastructure during Operation PROMOTE LIBERTY, management of an encampment of refugee Haitians at Guantanamo Bay, natural disaster relief assistance to ravaged areas in the aftermath of hurricanes Andrew and Iniki and, assisting the humanitarian efforts in Somalia.

 - Back to CAPOC page. See Also:

 - JFK SWCS Civil Affairs Department


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