Academic journal article Military Review

Civil Affairs in Peace Operations

Academic journal article Military Review

Civil Affairs in Peace Operations

Article excerpt

CIVIL AFFAIRS (CA) doctrine states that "the CA mission is to support the commander's relationship with civil authorities and civilian populace, promote mission legitimacy and enhance military effectiveness."1In defining this mission, doctrine makes no distinction between combat and peace operations.

Recent operations have taught us that the CA mission is critical to the success of the overall mission, and that CA must be an integral part of both combat operations and peace operations. However, recent operations in Haiti and Bosnia have also shown that although the CA mission is different for both combat and peace operations, many commanders still do not fully understand how the CA mission should be accomplished in peacetime. This article examines how CA forces should support commanders during peace operations.

CA Supporting Missions

US Army Field Manual 41-10, Civil Affairs Operations, identifies civil-military operations (CMO) as a command and operational function. CA activities provide the commander with a tool to assist in CMO mission accomplishment. All CA activities fall under the category of "support to CMO." These activities include populace and resources control, humanitarian assistance (HA), military civic action, civil defense and support to civil administration. Joint and Army CA doctrine identify that both CA generalists and specialists may be required to support CMO based on the mission requirements and commander's intent in a given area of operations (AO).

Current CA doctrine states that "Support to civil administration fulfills obligations arising from treaties, agreements or international law. The military role in CA varies with the operational continuum. The NCA [National Command Authorities] direct support required by an allied government."2 This support to civil administration takes three forms: civil assistance, civil administration in friendly territory and civil administration in occupied territory.

The crucial difference between CMO and support to civil administration is as follows:

* In CMO, CA units directly support the military commander, even though civilians and civil organizations may benefit from such support.

* In support to civil administration, CA units directly support civil organizations, even though the military commander may benefit from that support.

The support to civil administration mission relies heavily on the civilian skills of US Army Reserve (USAR) CA soldiers, much more so than the CMO mission. Indeed, support to civil administration proclaims that "most CA operations require specific civilian skills that the RC [Reserve Components] can best maintain."3 This assumption is fundamental to the mix of CA forces, 97 percent of which are in the USAR.

From my standpoint, way too much emphasis is placed on support to civil administration and the corollazy assumption that most CA operations require civilian skills. Most CA operations should involve CMO, not support to civil administration. This is true across the spectrum of conflict, even in peace operations. CA support to civil administration is a major source of "mission creep," and occurs because:

* Some Active Component (AC) commanders do not understand what CA units can and should do to support them.

* CA doctrine overemphasizes support to civil administration and the importance of civilian skills.

* USAR CA commanders are overeager to "get into the ball game," and support to civil administration is the way to do it.

The Changed CA Landscape

The current concept of CA support to civil administration evolved from World War II military government operations and the immediate postwar period. CA forces were created to help govern occupied Germany.4 To accomplish this mission, the Army recruited CA officers directly from the civilian population to take advantage of their unique skills.

In Post-World War II Germany, military commander General Dwight D. …

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