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II. NATO organization and other military actorsselected for printing

2.3. Integration/ relationsselected for printing

CIMIC staff is fully integrated into the respective HQ’s operations; this includes representation in key multi-disciplinary/ cross-functional groups as part of the overall battle rhythm and through normal inter-relationships for managing/dealing with operational working. Figure “CIMIC staff relations and interactions” shows as an example the broad interaction in a higher tactical (joint) staff between the J/X9 staff division and internal branches/organizations on operations.

Staff layouts may differ in different echelons, but the principles of integration remain the same. CIMIC is integrated in all phases (pre-operational, operational, transition). Tasks/activities are different though (see Chapter 5 and 6).

CIMIC staff relations and interactions

Besides the different staffs and functions, CIMIC is related to other capabilities as follows:

Strategic communications

Strategic communications (StratCom) effects must be integrated in CIMIC planning and execution of activities at all levels because they influence the perceptions and decision-making of key audiences and leaders, thereby assisting mission accomplishment. To ensure coherence of messaging, CIMIC staff should participate in the communication planning cycle including the StratCom working group and the information activities coordination board, alongside more routine public affairs and StratCom coordination meetings.

Information operations

CIMIC activities assist the commander in shaping the information environment and perceptions. In addition to civil-military liaison, CIMIC staff will establish relationships with a variety of non-military actors and thereby establish a valuable source of information to support Info Ops planning. To secure the desired influence, planned and regular key leader engagement will be essential. The CIMIC staff will lead and facilitate civil-military liaison.

Psychological operations

Psychological operations and CIMIC can be mutually supporting. CIMIC interaction with civil agencies and populations will aid wider knowledge development and assist with understanding the information environment and the audiences within it. Psychological operations may affect the attitudes of population groups and therefore make an area more permissive for CIMIC.

Special operations

Special operations (SOF) and CIMIC can mutually support each other in their efforts. SOF can provide a military enhancement to the civilian mission, making improvements in the local community.

Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defence

Local civilian authorities have prime responsibility for dealing with CBRN incidents within their jurisdiction but, if their resources are inadequate, they may request military assistance. CIMIC should facilitate the coordination between own forces and the stakeholders involved.

Electronic warfare

The broad and increasing usage of the electromagnetic environment (EME) by different types of actors, affects critical infrastructure. It is therefore critical to coordinate own activities with various actors, friendly or neutral, to avoid or minimize undesired effects. CIMIC has a facilitating function.

Counter improvised explosive devices (C-IED)

Counter-IED measures are primarily done by military and law enforcement. It involves a comprehensive approach of countering the threat networks that employ improvised explosive devices (IEDs), defeating the devices themselves, and training others. Counter-IED, or C-IED, is usually part of a broader counter-terrorism, counter-insurgency, or law enforcement effort. Because IEDs are a subset of a number of forms of asymmetric warfare used by insurgents and terrorists, C-IED activities are principally directed against adversaries and not only against IEDs. CIMIC facilitates the civil-military interaction with relevant civil agencies and the populace.

Force protection

CIMIC activities have the potential for promoting acceptance of NATO operations, thereby helping to reduce incidents against the NATO-led force and contributing to the overall force protection effort. This can be achieved through trust and confidence that can be developed by unbiased liaison with all relevant actors and equally balanced support to different recipients. Further, CIMIC may receive information through its liaison that can be useful for improving force protection, such as information on the overall acceptance of the force amongst the population or warnings on current threats.


NATO uses the joint targeting process and the information operations processes to identify targets and decide on applicable effects. CIMIC assessments as well as CIMIC liaison activities are an essential contribution to the targeting process. CIMIC assists in identifying critical infrastructure (sites of significance/ sites of major significance) and principal actors within the joint operations area, supports the development of the no-strike list and provides an overall assessment of the impact of any military activity on the civil environment (and non-military actors). It is essential to harmonize and synchronize all actions at all levels to prevent unintended detrimental effects.

CIMIC input to staff functions

The list below reflects other possible staff functions in a joint structure and is not exhaustive. For more staff functions, see figure “CIMIC staff relations and interactions”.

J/X 1: Terms and conditions of service for locally employed civilians. Identification and provision of specialist manpower (e.g. linguists). Responsible to organize functional specialists.

J/X 2: Input to development of joint collection plans: J2 may use information derived from the CIMIC process. Cooperation between J2 and J9 is the most important relation to enhance Situational Awareness and to achieve Situational Understanding.

J/X 3/5: Active involvement in the conduct of current operations. Accounting for the effect of current operations on the civil environment, particularly the population. Awareness of the effect of the civil environment on own operations. Inclusion of civil factors in short term planning.

J/X 4: Usage of lines of communication and de-confliction with civil usage. Host nation support/civil-military resource management.

J/X 5: Integration of CIMIC into long-term plans, both prior to an operation and in the execution phase (e.g. branch/sequel plans, transition planning).

J/X MILENG: CIMIC staff should facilitate the interaction between military engineering (MILENG) and relevant non-military actors. The commander must balance the requirements for MILENG efforts in support of operations and assistance to non-military actors.

Staff Advisory Group

The staff advisory group (SAG) contributes to a comprehensive approach, conducting civil-military interaction routinely and have direct or indirect links, relationships and need for coordination with CIMIC staff. Close relations are key to get a deep Situational Understanding. Members of a SAG can include but are not limited to:

  • political advisor;
  • legal advisor;
  • gender advisor;
  • medical advisor;
  • provost marshal;
  • special operations forces advisor;
  • StratCom advisor; and
  • public affairs advisor.