Items selected for printing

II. NATO organization and other military actorsselected for printing

2.4. Civil Affairsselected for printing

This sub chapter is mainly based on the US Army Field Manual 3-57, Civil Affairs Operations, dated 16 MAY 2018.

US Civil Affairs (CA) Breakdown “The What, the Who, and the Where”

US Civil Affairs (CA) Definition:

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. 


The role of CA is to understand, engage, and influence unified action partners and indigenous populations and institutions (IPI), conduct military government operations15 (MGO), enable civil-military operations16 (CMO), and provide civil considerations expertise through the planning and execution of civil affairs operations17 (CAO). This role, founded in policy, directive, and joint doctrine, clearly depicts the reason why the CA branch was established and the unique contributions it provides to the US army and US Department of Defense (DOD). CA forces are organized, trained, and equipped specifically to plan and execute CAO across the range of military operations, engaging the civil component (IPI, unified action partners, other civil entities, and interagency) to support the joint force commander’s (JFC’s) CMO concept. Senior-level CA planning and policy representation across army and DOD agencies is required to ensure proper integration and early determination of requirements.

The intent of CAO is to enhance stability, set conditions for the mitigation or defeat of threats to civil society, and to assist in establishing local government capability or enhancing its capacity for deterring or defeating future civil threats.

U.S. Civil Affairs logic chart


CA forces execute CA core competencies and functions. The CA branch provides three core competencies nested within CAO. The core competencies nest within the commander’s overall responsibility for planning and executing CMO. CA functions are structured under each competency, organizing tasks and systems (people, organizations, information, and processes) into executable capabilities to achieve the desired effects.

The functions nested under the core competencies are capabilities executed to accomplish the designated role of the branch. The CA branch has the overall responsibility to perform these functions; however, not every organization within the branch has the capability or requirement to fully execute every function.

CAO consist of the following core competencies and their nested functions:

Civil Affairs activities (CAA)

Civil reconnaissance (CR)

Civil engagement (CE)

Civil information management (CIM)

Civil-military operations center (CMOC)

CAO staff support

Military government operations (MGO)

Transitional military authority

Support to civil administration (SCA)

Civil Affairs supported activities (CASA)

Foreign assistance

Foreign humanitarian assistance (FHA)

Populace and resources control (PRC)

Civil-military engagement (CME)


Branch characteristics are nested with the core competencies and functions of CA and apply to the branch as a whole. The CA branch is:

Civil component oriented. CA is the commander’s primary tool for civil considerations during military operations. They focus on personal interaction and the management of civil information to develop the commander’s situational understanding of the civil component.

Culturally attuned. CA is aware of cultural nuances, divergent world views, biases, prejudices, and stereotypes that affect both the civil component and military operations.

Engagement focused. CA engages IPI and unified action partners to establish and maintain relationships and communication channels in order to enhance and influence the relationship between military forces and the civil component.

Civil information management focused. CA formations collect, collate, process, analyze, and evaluate civil data in order to produce valuable and timely information for dissemination.

Military government focused. CA supports or executes the functions of civil administration during transitional military authority or SCA missions.

Skilled integrators and coordinators. CA integrates and coordinates with IPI and unified action partners to facilitate information flow, synchronize efforts, and promote mission legitimacy. CA understands that relationships and coordination between affected parties enhance or enable successful mission accomplishment.

Diplomatically astute. CA understands the sensitive political aspects of military operations. They establish relationships with formal and informal leaders of influence and carefully manage those relationships to achieve positive outcomes during diplomatically sensitive interactions.

Skilled as negotiators and mediators. CA negotiates and mediates with and between IPI and unified action partners to further US objectives and resolve conflict.

Stability oriented. The CA core competencies provide required and reinforcing effects to the decisive action tasks of offense and defense, but they are most directly aligned in support of stability tasks.

Language capable. CA employs language skills and interpreters in order to enhance the execution of the core competencies of the branch.

Critical and adaptive thinkers. CA forces are self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-correcting in their ability to apply the elements of thought to the topics, situations, problems, and opportunities they encounter. When confronted by unanticipated circumstances during the execution of a planned military operation or event, they are able to make adjustments within the context of the plan to either exploit the advantage or minimize the impact, thereby assuring a more successful outcome.


CA principles provide comprehensive and fundamental rules or assumptions of central importance that guide how CA approaches and thinks about the conduct of operations and captures the broad and enduring guidelines for the employment of CA forces. The principles include the following:

a)CA only executes missions that support the commander’s objectives. All actions planned, programmed, or undertaken by CA must be tied to the commander’s objectives and directly support unified land operations. Operating outside this context reduces the effectiveness of U.S. operations and misuses finite resources.

b)Stability is the framework for CAO. CAO play an important role in supporting all army operations—offense, defense, stability, and defense support of civil authorities. Although the CA core competencies provide capabilities across the range of military operations, they are most directly aligned in support of the six primary stability tasks:

Establish civil security.

Establish civil control.

Restore essential services.

Support to governance.

Support the economic and infrastructure development.

Conduct security cooperation.

c)The civil component is a critical factor in all military operations. Military operations always have a degree of involvement (assistance, interference, or influence) with the civil component. CA plays a vital role in preparing, planning, and integrating courses of action that involve the civil component, reducing the friction between U.S. forces and the local populations and mitigating their impact on military operations.

d)CA is civil component oriented. The CA core competencies revolve around the identification of civil strengths and vulnerabilities with the goal of mitigating causes of instability. These CA competencies enable U.S. forces to engage unified action partners, the IPI, the threats, and the causes and conditions that give rise to the threats.

e)CA must not be tasked as active collectors of threat information. CA missions are dependent upon engaging and developing relationships with the civil component of the operational environment18. Through the course of these interactions, information is gathered that supports the development of civil considerations. A clear distinction must be made between civil and threat information. However, as every soldier is a sensor, CA forces will report information that they perceive as a threat or potential threat through normal channels. It is inappropriate and detrimental to the CA mission to task CA forces to actively collect threat information. If the civil component perceives that CA is acting on behalf of intelligence organizations (rather than a resolver of civil component issues), CA forces lose the credibility and access required to establish and maintain these critical relationships. This could have major negative impacts on the commander’s mission, creating additional protection risks for the CA branch overall.

f)Military analysts, in conjunction with CA personnel, conduct civil considerations analysis and evaluation for CA formations. The evaluation of civil information that leads to the identification of civil strength and vulnerabilities is a multifaceted problem that requires inter-branch coordination and cooperation. CA personnel collect, collate, and process civil information as part of the civil information management process. Trained military intelligence analysts within CA formations, in conjunction with CA personnel, then conduct in-depth analysis of this civil information to deduce, distinguish, and categorize relationships and networks from this information. That analysis is then evaluated and interpreted by CA personnel in order to assess, predict, validate, and determine the impact of ongoing CAO and CMO and to the commander’s overall mission. Leaders then use this evaluation to create adaptive plans and innovative solutions to the commander’s mission challenges.

g)CAO are an information-related capability. CAO involve direct interaction with IPI and institutions and unified action partners for the collection, collation, and dissemination of civil information. They are a tool employed in the information environment that can be used to create effects and operationally desirable conditions.

h)A comprehensive, interrelated knowledgebase is an invaluable asset. CA gathers civil data for analysis, evaluation, and transformation into actionable civil information within the operational area. This information is collated and maintained within a central repository. This base of knowledge is available for dissemination and sharing, and it is critical for understanding civil component trends and predicting civil impacts on military missions or military impacts on the IPI.

i)Regional and cultural competencies are essential to successful CAO. CA rely on engagements, relationships, and an understanding of the civil component to effectively plan and execute CAO in support of the commander's mission. Regional and cultural competencies are not only the skills needed to interact with people of different cultures but also the knowledge and understanding of how local cultures interact with one another and how the overall region functions.

j)CAO are population centric. CAO require direct interaction with indigenous populations in order to open up communications and foster trust, legitimacy, and cooperation.

k)CA must analyze programs and projects for sustainability. CA forces must ensure program and project sustainability. Equipment, facilities, and services should be to the standard of, transitioned to, and sustainable by the IPI. Unsustainable programs and projects can create false expectations and lead to unintended effects, such as loss of credibility and popular support.

l)CAO mitigate civilian interference with military operations and the impact of military operations on the civil populace. CA identifies and addresses friction points between military operations and the civil population. A hostile civilian population threatens the operations of friendly forces and can undermine mission legitimacy. A supportive civilian population can provide freedom of maneuver, resources, and information that facilitate friendly operations.

m)CAO are nested with the joint construct of CMO. CAO enhance the JFC’s planning, execution, and assessment of CMO through assessments, identification of civil considerations and population centric operational variables, integration of CAO and CMO plans into campaigns and operations.


The US Army CA branch provides capabilities in support of joint and army requirements. These capabilities exist in both conventional force and special operations formations at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels. Most of the army CA force is in the United States Army Reserve which consists of four regionally aligned Civil Affairs Commands (CACOMS) that support the geographic combatant commands. The Active Army CA force consists of a special operations brigade with regionally focused battalions and a conventional force battalion with regionally aligned companies as well as a global response force company.

The total US CA capability consists of approximately 7000 officers and enlisted personnel spread across 4 CACOMS, 10 brigades, 39 battalions, 168 companies, 840 CA teams, and various headquarters staff positions.

US CA core competencies and functions (CCFs – Broken Down) “The How”


The three CA core competencies nested within CAO describe the overarching capabilities that the CA branch provides. CA functions are aligned under the core competencies, organizing tasks and systems (people, organizations, information, and processes) into executable capabilities. These functions may be executed prior to, simultaneously with, or in the absence of other military operations, across the range of military operations and all levels of war. The following figure shows the nesting of the CA core competencies and functions.

Civil Affairs core competencies and functions

CA forces, from the civil affairs team to the civil affairs command, possess capabilities within their formations that support or execute CAO. Each CA organization has the ability to reach-back to a regionally aligned higher CA headquarters, as well as other entities that possess more robust capabilities and resources that can be applied to assist in the execution of missions.


Civil affairs activities is a core competency under the umbrella term of CAO, and are those activities specifically planned, executed, and assessed by CA forces, which provide unique capabilities to the commander. They are enduring capabilities that increase the commander’s understanding of, deliberate interaction with, and planning for the civil component, to include the means to synchronize, coordinate, and integrate unified action partners during unified land operations. This includes civil reconnaissance (CR), civil engagement (CE), civil information management (CIM), civil-military operations center (CMOC), and civil affairs operations (CAO) staff support. These functions are critical to the successful integration of IPI, unified action partners, and the interagency into unified land operations and the understanding of civil considerations in support of the commander’s mission.

Civil reconnaissance

CR is a targeted, planned, and coordinated observation and evaluation of specific civil aspects of the environment. The civil information collection plan drives CR for the purpose of understanding the impacts of the civil component on military operations, the impacts of military operations on the civil component, and the development of assessments and running estimates, enhancing situational understanding and facilitating decision making. The purpose of CR as a function is to:

Verify or refute information.

Assess the operational environment.

Locate, identify, survey, and observe areas, structures, capabilities, organizations, people, and events (ASCOPE).

Detect and monitor changes in the civil component.

CA forces conduct CR to gather civil information and assess or monitor effects of military operations on the civil component. CR is focused by the civil information collection plan, which synchronizes CA collection efforts with the commander’s critical information requirements and specific requests for information through the operations process. The outcomes from CR flow into the information gathering process of CIM, which adds to the understanding of civil considerations and ultimately become inputs to the commander’s common operational picture (COP).

Civil engagement

CE is the planned and targeted activities in which CA forces deliberately focus on the interaction with the IPI, unified action partners, and other civil entities. CA conducts CE to promote the relationship between military forces and the civil component. This enhances the commander’s understanding of the civil component and legitimizes the U.S. mission. CE may be conducted in person or by other means of communication. The purpose of CE, as a function, is to:

Gather information.

Validate assumptions.

Facilitate operations.

Coordinate efforts.

Collaborate with the civil component.

Deconflict operations between the civil populace and military.

Identify local influencers and other centers of gravity.

Resolve conflict.

Mitigate the impact of military operations on IPI.

Influence actions by civil entities.

Evaluate civil considerations.

Identify key influencers.

CA forces are trained in language, negotiations, and mediation techniques, as well as the ability to identify cultural nuances, divergent world views, motivations, biases, prejudices and stereotypes. The outcomes from CE flow into the information gathering process of CIM, which adds to the understanding of civil considerations and ultimately become inputs to the commander’s COP.

Civil information management

CA forces provide the commander with expertise on the civil component of the OE. CIM is the process whereby civil information is collected, analyzed and evaluated, and disseminated to the supported element, higher headquarters, and other US government and department of defense agencies, international organizations, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). This process ensures the timely availability of raw and analyzed civil information to military forces throughout the area of operations in order to enhance the COP and the intelligence preparation of the battlefield/battlespace process.

CIM is conducted in six steps that generate situational understanding through collection, collation, processing, and analysis and evaluation of information, leading to the production and dissemination of civil information products that are fused with supported units and can be shared with unified action partners. The following figure depicts the six step process.

Civil information management process

The data collected provides current civil component information for dissemination through the CIM process. Civil considerations are developed from data with relation to ASCOPE within the civil component of the commander’s OE. The management of civil information is the fusion of analyzed data into the COP to enhance the supported commander, department of defense, interagency, international organizations, NGOs, and IPI situational dominance.

CIM is not solely a task of a CA unit’s CIM cell. Every CA element has a role within CIM. CA forces should also actively incorporate the supported unit’s information requirements into the civil information collection plan to enhance the COP and the intelligence preparation of the battlefield/battlespace process. Every CA soldier has the ability to conduct basic analysis and evaluation of civil information, while CMOCs, CIM sections, and higher CA headquarters analysts conduct in depth analysis and evaluation of that civil information as part of the process that enhances the situational understanding of the supported commander and unified action partners.

Note: Army Techniques Publication 3-57.50, Civil Information Management, provides additional information on CIM.

Civil-military operations center19

The CMOC function requires over-the-horizon and nontraditional communications capabilities to most effectively conduct interagency collaborative planning and coordination, integrate nonmilitary stakeholders to synchronize operations, and coordinate plans and operations with the civil component of the OE.

The CMOC serves as one of the primary coordination interfaces for U.S. forces with IPI, unified action partners, and the interagency. A CMOC is tailored to the specific tasks associated with the mission and augmented by assets (for example: engineer, medical, transportation) available to the supported commander and unified action partners. The CMOC facilitates continuous coordination among the key participants with regard to CAO and in support of the commander’s CMO plan in order to manage civil information, analyze civil considerations, and develop civil inputs to the COP. This occurs from tactical levels to strategic levels within a given area of operations depending on the level of the CMOC.

Note: Army Techniques Publication 3-57.70, Civil Military Operations Center, provides additional information on CMOC.

Civil liaison teams (CLTs) exist at the CACOM, CA brigade, and CA battalion (with the exception of the battalions in the 95th CA Brigade) levels. The CLTs are organic components of the CMOCs they support. The CLT extends the outreach of its parent CMOC into multiple areas. A civil liaison team provides limited civil-military interface capability as a spoke for the exchange of information between indigenous populations and institutions, intergovernmental organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and other governmental agencies, and has limited capability to link resources to prioritized requirements. The CLT is a stand-alone team for the CMOC that acts in the same role as a civil affairs team does for a supported battalion. The CLT provides the supported CMOC with a CR and CE capability for CAO and CMO coordination without interfering with the regular staff functions.

Civil affairs operations staff support

CAO staff support provides a dedicated planning, integration, and assessment capability to army and joint staffs from brigade to combatant command and special forces battalion to theater special operation command. CAO staff support during the military decision-making process (MDMP) and the joint planning process synchronizes, integrates, and coordinates the civil component with the commander’s CMO responsibilities and operational plans. CAO staff, in coordination with the CMOC, integrate and synchronize CR efforts to inform mission analysis, develop and update the COP, and update the civil information collection plan.

CAO staff support is provided in the following ways:

J-9 Civil-military operations directorate. The J-9 coordinates with military and civilian organizations that influence operations or campaigns. The J-9 normally leads the civil-military staff element and is an important asset in planning and coordinating CMO within the joint planning process. JFCs can establish a J-9 to plan, coordinate, conduct, and assess CMO within the joint planning process.

Note: Joint Publication 3-57, Civil Military Operations, provides additional information on the J-9 CMO directorate organization, staff functions, and responsibilities.

Assistant chief of staff, G-9 (S-9), civil affairs operations. The G-9/S-9 is the principle staff officer responsible for the planning, integrating, evaluating, and assessment of civil considerations into the MDMP and army design methodologies. The G-9/S-9 is designated to provide the commander with actionable civil information that will increase the commander’s awareness and understanding of the civil component, ensure efficient use of finite resources, and synchronize the efforts of unified action partners, IPI, and the interagency within the operational environment.

Note: U.S. Army Field Manual 6-0, Commander and Staff Organization and Operations, provides additional information on the Army-directed responsibilities of the G-9/S-9.

Theater civil affairs planning team. The T-CAPTs are permanent, five-person, regionally aligned planning teams that performs CAO and CMO planning, coordination, and integration at the theater level to enhance the geographic combatant commander’s strategic plans, campaigns, or operations and theater security cooperation plans and programs.

Civil affairs planning team. The CAPT is a planning augmentation element that can be requested to supplement J-9/G-9 staffs to facilitate and manage CAO in support of the commander’s CMO plan.

In lieu of support. CA companies are templated by rules of allocation against a brigade combat team that, by the modified table of organization and equipment, has a dedicated S-9. In a brigade combat team (or special forces group) without an assigned S-9 or at battalion level where there is not a dedicated S-9 position, the CA company commander (at brigade combat team level) or a team leader (at battalion level) might be required to perform the duties of the CAO staff officer. It is critical that CA officers and noncommissioned officers understand the army MDMP and design methodologies and can incorporate civil data and information into all army planning processes.

Security force assistance brigade civil affairs operations staff section. The SFA brigade CAO staff section is responsible for training or advising foreign security force counterpart staff elements to enable them to engage and build rapport with civilian unified action partners, IPI, and independent foreign agencies within the operational environment. This section promotes foreign security forces’ capabilities to assess interests, functions, capabilities, and vulnerabilities of civilian unified action partners, IPI, and independent foreign agencies in the operational area; reduces interference of noncombatant civilians with combat operations; and plans, coordinates, and conducts foreign humanitarian assistance projects that reduce civilian vulnerabilities to security and environmental threats.


Military government is the supreme authority the military exercises by force or agreement over the lands, property, and indigenous populations and institutions of domestic, allied, neutral, or enemy territory therefore substituting sovereign authority under rule of law for the previously established government (JP 3-57). It requires a long-term commitment and the application of resources that would support the newly established government long after combat forces were withdrawn from the region. CA forces’ unique civilian-acquired skills and deep understanding of the civil component within the operational environment combine to provide the army with a capability to establish military government now and into the future.

CAO includes activities that:

Establish civil security, provide support to governance, provide essential services, support economic development and infrastructure, and establish civil control for civilian populations in occupied or liberated areas until such control can be returned to civilian or non-US military authority.

Provide expertise in civilian sector functions that normally are the responsibility of civilian authorities. That expertise is applied to implement department of defense policies to advise or assist in rehabilitating or restoring civilian sector functions.

Establish and conduct military government until civilian authority or government can be restored.

Military government operations (MGO) are executed when, through the course of military operations, replacement or sustainment of civil authority is required to maintain stability and governance. MGO support the US diplomatic, informational, and military and economic instruments of national power abroad through executing governance tasks mandated by US policy and international law.

MGO are a core competency of CA forces within CAO. CA Soldiers are trained, educated, and organized to support or execute the functions of a civil administration during transitional military authority or support to civil administration. These operations are supported by CA generalists through assessments and initial identification of civil vulnerabilities and executed by military government experts through the provision of expertise in civilian sector functions that normally are the responsibility of civilian authorities. MGO are designed to enhance, rehabilitate, restore, or establish civilian sector functions and are executed by providing support to civil administration to an established civil authority or asserting transitional military authority until a civilian authority or government can be established.

When force is necessary and a territory is occupied by an army, military authority is imposed in accordance with the law of land warfare and international requirements. Military authority is asserted through the imposition of military government. The objective of military government is to establish civil control and stability in support of the US government stabilization and reconstruction efforts. The end state of which is a reconstructed indigenous government that emulates governing policies that are consistent with U.S. interests. Once an interim civilian government is established, military authority is exerted to support civil administration, whether that civil administration is imposed by the occupying power or is inherently indigenous.

Transitional Military Authority

Transitional military authority is defined as a temporary military government exercising the functions of civil administration in the absence of a legitimate civil authority (FM 3-07). A variety of CA forces can support transitional military authority through the execution of civil affairs activity and civil affairs supported activities, while others are specifically trained and educated to conduct transitional military authority by applying civilian sector expertise to conduct government operations that are normally the responsibility of civilian authorities. Support to governance is one of six primary army stability tasks. CA provides transitional military authority assistance throughout the range of military operations and sometimes outside of the range of military operations, in order to meet life- sustaining needs of the population.

Within its capabilities, the occupying force must maintain an orderly government in the occupied territory and must have, as its ultimate goal, the creation of a legitimate and effective civilian government. During transitional military authority, the following terms apply:

Military governor. A military governor is the military commander or other designated person who, in an occupied territory, exercises supreme authority over the civil population subject to the laws and usages of war and to any directive received from the commander’s government or superior.

Military government ordinance. A military government ordinance is an enactment on the authority of a military governor promulgating laws or rules regulating the occupied territory under such control.

Support to governance is a stability task required for obtaining a stable population-centric operational environment. Transitional military authority enables commanders to achieve civil control and stability and enable civil security. The department of state has the lead on foreign policy and controls the majority of the resources which can be used under Title 22, United States Code, and the Foreign Assistance Act. These resources are typically tied to achieving U.S. interests. Once an interim civilian government is established, military resources are exerted to support civil administration.

Note: U.S. Army Field Manual 3-07, Stability, provides additional information on transitional military authority.

Support to civil administration

Support of civil administration (SCA) is assistance given to a governing body or civil structure of a foreign country, whether by assisting an established government or interim civilian authority or supporting a reconstructed government. SCA occurs when military forces support department of state in the implementation of interim civil authority or US foreign policy in support of host nation (HN) internal defense and development. SCA supports the US diplomatic, informational, military and economic instruments of national power abroad through executing tasks affiliated with cooperative security, theater security cooperation, and foreign internal defense as a function of stability operations and irregular warfare.

The CA responsibilities during SCA missions are designed to support the commander’s operational and support functions with respect to the continuity of government in a foreign nation or HN. Generally, these include the following:

Identifying, validating, or evaluating foreign nation or HN essential service infrastructure.

Assessing the needs of the IPI in terms of the CA functional areas.

Monitoring and anticipating future requirements of the IPI in terms of the CA functional areas.

Performing liaison functions between military and civilian agencies.

Coordinating and synchronizing collaborative interagency or multinational SCA operations.

Participating in the execution of selected SCA operations as needed or directed.

Performing quality control assessments of SCA operations and costs.

Assisting in the arbitration of problems arising from the execution of SCA operations.

Coordinating and synchronizing transition of SCA operations from military to indigenous government or international transitional government control.

Initiating or refining CIM process with geospatial projects that depict affected populations and civil vulnerabilities.

Civil affairs military government capability

There are 18 military government specialist capabilities and 8 other Army capabilities nested within 16 functional specialties that are aligned within the 5 functional specialty area framework. This provides the foundation of the Army’s required military government. The following figure shows the hierarchal structure of the functional areas down to the functional specialists.

Functional specialist hierarchy

Functional specialty areas

The CA military government capability is organized around five functional specialty areas based off the US government stability sectors. These functional specialty areas are:

Security. The CA security functional specialty area is concerned with civil security and public order that generates the foundational conditions for stability within the operational environment. This relates to the development and administration of policies, planning mechanisms, and training of partner nation public officials to respond to threats and hazards (man-made, natural, internal and external) across all levels of government. When required, the capabilities within this functional specialty area can assist in the establishment and maintenance of a transitional military authority.

Justice and reconciliation. The CA justice and reconciliation functional specialty area is concerned with the administration of legal systems and institutions for the application of civil and criminal laws within the civil component of the operational environment. When required, the capabilities within this functional specialty area can assist in the establishment and maintenance of a transitional military authority.

Humanitarian assistance and social well-being. The humanitarian assistance and social well- being functional specialty area is concerned with activities designed for the provision of basic needs and services (water, food, shelter, sanitation, and health services), as well as those that facilitate the restoration of a social fabric and community life, the systems and institutions for the provision of primary and secondary education, and the return or voluntary resettlement of those displaced. When required, the capabilities within this functional specialty area can assist in the establishment and maintenance of a transitional military authority.

Governance and participation. The governance and participation functional specialty area is concerned with public administration, cultural relations, public information, and environmental management. Collectively, these programs, policies, systems and institutions enable a state’s ability to serve the citizenry, articulate interests, manage resources, and exercise bestowed power in a society. These same programs, policies, systems, and institutions confer participation and the individual and collective citizenry’s ability to share, access, or compete for power through nonviolent political processes, and to enjoy the collective benefits and services of the nation. When required, the capabilities within this functional specialty area can assist in the establishment and maintenance of a transitional military authority.

Economic stabilization and infrastructure. The economic stabilization and infrastructure functional area is concerned with foundational commerce, monetary, fiscal labor issues, agriculture, utilities and public works, communications systems, and transportation fields. Collectively, these programs, policies, systems, and institutions constitute an economic system. The economic system is the intersection of government institutions and activities, corporate and private enterprises, populations, and the mobilization of resources for the production and distribution of goods and services, which are integral to the stability of a region or society. When required, the capabilities within this functional specialty area can assist in the establishment and maintenance of a transitional military authority.

Functional specialties

Each functional specialty area has one or more functional specialties nested within it. The following figure shows the nesting of functional specialties under each of the five functional specialty areas.

Functional specialty areas and functional specialties


Civil affairs supported activities (CASA) are those functions in which CA plays a key role in the planning, coordinating, or synchronizing but for which they are not the proponent. These supported activities include foreign assistance, foreign humanitarian assistance (FHA), populace and resources control (PRC), and civil military engagement (CME). These missions are executed through a combination of capabilities provided by multiple branches across the army, other services within the department of defense, or other governmental departments and agencies.

CA supports these operations through the planning, integration, execution, and transitioning of civil affairs activities and military government operations. CA knowledge and expertise of the civil component provides commanders the necessary tools to execute military operations with minimal impact by or on the civilian populace. Army, other services, and the joint force conduct these missions that are population centric and require CA capabilities.

CA integrate resources to support the commander’s mission. Unified action partners, IPI, and interagency provide unique expertise on humanitarian authorities to support the commander’s mission. Legal authorizations used to fund foreign assistance, FHA, and PRC are generally constrained by U.S. Congress for specific purposes. CA forces understand these authorities and should provide expert advice to the commander and staff. CAO in support of foreign assistance, FHA, PRC, and CME are discussed in the following paragraphs.

Foreign assistance

Foreign assistance is civil or military assistance rendered to a foreign nation through development assistance, humanitarian and civic assistance, and security assistance. The United States provides foreign assistance through security cooperation in conjunction with a geographic combatant commander’s theater security cooperation plan. Security cooperation is all department of defense interactions with foreign defense establishments to build defense relationships that promote specific US security interests, develop allied and friendly military capabilities for self-defense and multinational operations, and provide US forces with peacetime and contingency access to a host nation. Foreign assistance can also be provided when the United States is sponsoring a foreign internal defense program or foreign humanitarian assistance in conjunction with other security cooperation efforts. Foreign assistance operations support a HN by promoting sustainable development and growth of responsive institutions. The goal is to promote long-term regional stability. The following figure provides a visual representation of the components of foreign assistance.

Components of foreign assistance

CA forces can plan, program, execute, and assess civil affairs operations in support of the commander’s plan. Regional and cultural competencies possessed by CA Soldiers are essential to mission success. Civil affairs operations focuses on the civil component during foreign assistance to provide the commander with viable courses of action to assist in the stabilization of the focus area. CA forces are skilled integrators and coordinators of the populace and the resources within an operational area. These skills assist the commander in synchronizing efforts and capabilities in the most efficient manner possible. Ultimately, CA will reduce the redundancy of resources, maximize the usage of the current infrastructure, and assist in the coordination of unified action partners, IPI, and interagency groups supporting foreign assistance operations.

CA forces possess the capabilities to evaluate the civil component through the planning and execution of civil affairs activities in support of foreign assistance. The focus of foreign assistance programs is to legitimize and enhance the stability of a HN’s political, military, economic, social, informational, and infrastructure systems. CA forces can provide a sociocultural understanding of the operational environment that enhances the ability of the United States to achieve the desired end state. Support to foreign assistance can include technical expertise, advice, and assistance that can exponentially influence the success of other ongoing programs and initiatives. This assistance forms a better foundation on which a nation can build programs to meet the needs of the populace and promote its own sustainable development or growth. CA forces can assist in the development of these programs and provide assessments to the commander on their effectiveness.

Note: Army Techniques Publication 3-57.30, Nation Assistance, provides additional information regarding security assistance, FID, and Title 10, United States Code, authorities that oversee these missions.

Development assistance programs

A principal objective of the foreign policy of the United States is the encouragement and sustained support to people of developing countries for improving the quality of their lives. Development assistance programs are programs executed by the department of state directly or indirectly, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which finances numerous development assistance programs to address the following needs (which CA forces can support with the full range of civil affairs activities and support civil administration):

Agriculture and nutrition.

Population control.




Environment improvement.

Humanitarian and civic assistance programs

This assistance can only be provided in conjunction with military operations and exercises, and it must fulfill unit training requirements that incidentally create humanitarian benefit to the local populace. In contrast to emergency relief conducted under foreign humanitarian assistance operations, humanitarian and civic assistance programs generally encompass planned activities in the following categories:

Medical, dental, and veterinary care provided in rural or underserved areas of a country.

Construction and repair of basic surface transportation systems.

Well drilling and construction of basic sanitation facilities.

Rudimentary construction and repair of public facilities.

CA units and personnel supporting humanitarian and civic assistance provide unique capabilities of CR, CE, and CIM, combined with planning, coordinating, and synchronizing of the civil component, with an understanding of the cultures within the host nation.

Security assistance programs

Security assistance is a group of programs by which the United States provides defense articles, military training, and other defense-related services, by grant, loan, credit, or cash sales in furtherance of national policies and objectives. The principal components of these programs include foreign military sales, foreign military financing, international military education and training, peace operations, and excess defense articles.

CA personnel in support of these security assistance programs are able to—

Identify host nation requirements.

Develop or review the nomination list of programs or projects to support the mission objectives.

Provide input to the feasibility of each program.

Provide input to the prioritization of each program to meet the desired end states and goals.

Foreign humanitarian assistance

Foreign humanitarian assistance (FHA) are Department of Defense activities conducted outside the United States and its territories to directly relieve or reduce human suffering, disease, hunger, or privation (JP 3-29). Most US government agencies, as well as United States Code and DOD directives utilize the terms humanitarian assistance and foreign disaster relief (FDR). FHA operations are different from foreign assistance primarily because they have a direct humanitarian need. The department of defense uses appropriated funds specifically for FHA in the form of overseas humanitarian disaster and civic aid. Foreign assistance is not funded by overseas humanitarian disaster and civic aid, and it is intended as deliberate assistance to promote long-term stability. FHA activities conducted by US Armed Forces fall into two broad categories:

Steady-state FHA. Steady-state FHA are activities normally planned and conducted as part of the geographic combatant commander’s theater campaign plan. The intent of steady-state FHA activities is to assess and increase the affected nation’s capacity and capability to respond to disaster.

Foreign disaster relief. FDR is a limited duration contingency operation. The goal of FDR is to alleviate the suffering of foreign disaster victims, including victims of natural disasters and conflicts, internally displaced persons, refugees, stateless persons, and vulnerable migrants

The CA role in FHA is to assist the commander in planning, advising on the activities, and coordinating with unified action partners, IPI, and interagency to synchronize efforts. CA forces will also play a key role in conducting assessments. FHA operations are inherently complex and require a significant amount of interagency coordination. FHA is normally directed from the strategic level, coordinated and managed at the operational level, and conducted at the tactical level. On all levels in support of FHA activities, CA forces:

Participate in interagency assessment, planning and synchronizing of FHA activities.

Identify, validate, or evaluate host nation and international resources available for FHA activities.

Advice, assist, and plan displaced civilian movement and control.

Participate in the execution of selected FHA activities as directed.

Provide liaison with IPI.

Assist in the coordination of local labor.

Liaise with judge advocates to assist the commander to meet legal and moral obligations.

Monitor and evaluate FHA.

Assess requirements and support for the operation of a civil-military operations center.

Conduct and maintain an assessment of humanitarian issues in designated nations or regions.

Identify shortfalls in host nation humanitarian assistance programs and resources.

Although FHA operations may be executed simultaneously with other types of operations, each type has unique characteristics. For example, FHA operations may be simultaneously conducted with peace operations, but each has its own strategic end state. Military commanders must be cautious not to commit their forces to projects and tasks that go beyond the FHA mission. Military commanders conducting FHA simultaneously with other operations must develop end state, transition, and termination objectives, as well as measures of effectiveness and measures of performance complementary to simultaneous military operations.

There are many operations that are related to FHA. These operations are diverse and CA forces will support these related operations as necessary. The related operations consist of:

Stability operations.

Foreign assistance, to include:

Humanitarian and civic assistance.

Security assistance.

Development assistance.

Peace operations.

Noncombatant evacuation operations.

Civil military operations.

Mass atrocity response operations.

International chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear response.

Note: Army Techniques Publication 3-57.20, Foreign Humanitarian Assistance, provides additional information on FHA.

Populace and resources control

Military operations are not conducted in a vacuum that is free of civilian presence or influence. No matter the operational environment, military operations can be disrupted by actions of the indigenous populace. Whether it is uncontrolled and uncoordinated movement of civilians within the operational environment, illegal activities, or any civil functions between these extremes, commanders must consider populace and resources control (PRC) measures in the planning and execution of operations. While PRC falls under the proponency of the military police branch, CA forces are integral to the planning, execution, and assessment of military operations concerning PRC measures. CA forces are highly attuned to the impacts that military operations can have on the civil population, as well as those the civil component will have on military operations. They assist in the development of courses of action that will support the commander’s goals, with minimum impact on civil-military relations and current and future operations.

PRC consists of two distinct, yet linked, components: populace control and resources control. Both components are normally the responsibility of indigenous civil governments. During times of civil or military emergency, proper authorities define, enact, and enforce PRC measures. For practical and security reasons, military forces employ PRC measures of some type and to varying degrees across the range of military operations. PRC operations are executed with, and as an integral part of, military operations. CA forces provide multiple capabilities to the commander that can assist in the development and execution of these measures.

Populace control

Populace control measures are a key element in the execution of primary stability tasks in the areas of civil security and civil control. Populace control involves establishing public order and safety, securing borders, population centers, and individuals. International law requires the military force to focus on essential tasks that establish a safe, secure environment and address the immediate humanitarian needs of the local populace. Control measures require a capability to secure borders, protect the population, hold individuals accountable for criminal activities, control the activities of individuals or groups that pose a security risk, reestablish essential civil services, and set conditions in the operational environment that support stability through unity of effort.

The authority and extent of populace control measures that a commander may impose varies greatly with the type of mission and the operational environment. The operational environment includes a wide variety of intangible factors, such as the culture, perceptions, beliefs, and values of adversary, enemy, neutral, or friendly political and social systems. These factors must be analyzed and continuously assessed throughout the operations process to develop a situational understanding of the environment. The characterization of the operational environment as permissive, uncertain, or hostile further impacts the planning for and the execution of populace control measures.

Dislocated civilian operations

Dislocated civilian (DC) operations are actions required to move or keep civilians out of harm’s way or to safeguard them in the aftermath of a disaster. The disaster may be natural (such as a flood or an earthquake), man-made (such as combat operations, social, or political strife), or a technological hazard (such as radiological disaster, network outage, intrusion, cyberspace attack, or a complete loss of electricity). The requirement to conduct DC operations may occur during any phase across the range of military operations. If the DC is within their nation’s borders, USAID may be involved in providing assistance, whereas a refugee falls under the assistance of the department of state’ population refugees and migration.

The CA supporting tasks in DC operations support the commander’s freedom of movement while safeguarding the civilian population. CA Soldier tasks include—

Identifying or evaluating existing host nation and international community DC plans and operations.

Advising on DC control measures that would effectively support the military operation.

Advising on how to implement DC control measures.

Publicizing control measures among the IPI.

Assessing measures of effectiveness.

Participating in the execution of selected DC operations as needed or directed and in coordination with the internationally mandated organizations (for example, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)).

Assisting in arbitration of problems arising from implementation of DC control measures.

Identifying DC locations and composition.

In DC operations, controlling agencies (for example, UNHCR, UN OCHA, ICRC, or HN) normally care for the basic needs of DCs, such as food, water, shelter, sanitation, and security. Controlling agencies must also be prepared to prevent or arrest the outbreak of communicable disease among DCs. This last point is important for the health of the populace and military forces.

Note: U.S. Army Field Manual 3-39, Military Police Operations, Army Techniques Publication 3-39.30, Security and Mobility Support, and Army Techniques Publication 3-57.10, Populace and Resources Control, provide additional information on DC operations.

During military operations, US forces must consider two distinct categories of civilians—those remaining at their homes or places of habitual residence and those dislocating. U.S. policy dictates the placement of people in one of these categories. The US category may conflict with how international organizations, NGOs, and the HN refer to the people. Therefore, CA Soldiers and civil affairs operation planners must be careful in how they describe categories of civilians. The first category includes civilians who are indigenous and other local populace, including civilians from other countries. Civilians within this category may or may not need help. If they can care for themselves, they should remain in place.

DCs are civilians who have left their homes. Their movement and presence can hinder military operations. They will likely require some degree of aid, such as medicine, food, shelter, clothing, and similar items. DCs may not be indigenous to the area or to the country in which they reside. The term dislocated civilian is unique to the Department of Defense and not used by the Department of State or NGOs. These organizations use the term internally displaced persons for civilians displaced within their country and the term refugees for people who flee their country of origin and cross an international border. The following distinctions exist among the various categories of DCs:

Displaced persons is a broad term used to refer to internally and externally displaced persons collectively (JP 3-29). In addition:

Returnees are displaced persons who have returned voluntarily to their former place of residence.

Resettled persons are a subset of displaced persons - civilians who have been able to resettle in a third country, usually with the assistance of UNHCR and the government of their new country of residence, rather than returning to their previous home or land within the country or area of original displacement. Resettled persons are usually a very small subset of the original displaced population as opportunities for third- country resettlement are rare.

Evacuees are civilians who are removed from their places of residence by military direction for reasons of personal security or the requirements of the military situation.

Internally displaced persons (IDP) are any persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their home or place of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or man-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized state border.

Migrants are persons who belong to a normally migratory culture who may cross national boundaries or have fled their native country for economic reasons rather than fear of political or ethnic persecution. Migrants travel to escape economic stagnation and poverty. This is in contrast to refugees, who travel to escape persecution, conflict, and perhaps death.

Refugees are any persons who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, are outside the country of their nationality and are unable or, owing to such fear, are unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of that country.

Stateless persons are civilians who either have been denationalized, whose country of origin cannot be determined, or who cannot establish their right to the nationality claimed.

Resources control

Resources control provides security for the natural and man-made material resources of a nation- state, mobilizes economic resources, denies enemy access to resources, and detects and reduces the effectiveness of enemy agents and criminal entities. Resources control measures include, but are not limited to, licensing, regulations or guidelines, checkpoints, and border security, to include customs inspections, ration controls, amnesty programs, and inspection of facilities.

Resources control directly impacts the economic system of a host nation or territory occupied and governed by US forces. Resources control measures regulate public and private property and the production, movement, or consumption of material resources. Controlling a nation’s resources is the responsibility of indigenous civil governments. During a civil or military emergency, proper authorities define, enact, and enforce resources control measures to maintain public order and enable the execution of primary stability tasks in the areas of civil security, civil control, restoration of essential services, and support to economic and infrastructure development tasks.

Enactment of resources control measures must conform to legal and regulatory policy and be enforced justly and firmly by the governing authority. US forces will not execute these measures unless the requirements are clearly beyond the capabilities of the host nation’s security forces, the host nation has requested assistance, and appropriate US authorities (to include the US Ambassador) have granted approval for such assistance. Resources control includes property control which is the control of movable and immovable private and public property. CA generalists support the host nation’s lead by facilitating coordination and security while CA military government and functional specialists support by providing advice, assistance, and training for host nation forces executing these missions. Resource control measures may include:

Establishing procedures to resolve property rights for land and subterranean resources.

Implementing mechanisms to prevent unauthorized seizures of land or property.

Securing existing harvest storage facilities to prevent spoilage and looting of harvested crops.

Implementing rationing and distribution programs for key commodities (food and fuel).

Establishing border security, including customs procedures to prevent arms smuggling and stop contraband, such as drugs and natural resources.

Regulating and securing access to valuable natural resources.

Stopping illicit trade in natural resources and developing governance mechanisms and incentives to bring trade into the market.

Initiating processes for addressing and resolving resource ownership and access issues.

Freezing financial accounts of enemy combatants.

Locking international access of overseas financial accounts to prevent money laundering.

Protecting and securing strategically important institutions, such as government buildings and archives, museums, religious sites, courthouses, and communications facilities.

Implementing effective resources control requires the host nation government or transitional military authority to inform the populace of the measures to be imposed and the justification for the action. The message to the population must clearly convey that the control measures are necessary due to security and the populace. Enforcement of the restrictions must be consistent and impartial so the government establishes and maintains legitimacy among the populace. A well-crafted populace resources and control plan limits control measures to the least restrictive measures necessary to achieve the desired effect. Continuous assessment of the operational environment measures the effectiveness of the restrictions, the attitude of the population toward the government, and the impact the restrictions have on the operational environment. As the security situation improves, restrictions should be modified or rescinded.

Note: Army Techniques Publication 3-57.10, Populace and Resources Control, provides additional information on resources control measures.




Civil Affairs activities (CAA)

Civil reconnaissance (CR)

Civil engagement (CE)

Civil information management (CIM)

Civil-military operations center (CMOC)

CAO staff support

  • Civil assessment
  • CIMIC Liaison
  • CIMIC reporting/ Tracking system


  • CIMIC Center/ CIMIC Liaison
  • CIMIC Assets and Staff elements

Military government operations (MGO)

Transitional military authority

Support to civil administration (SCA)

  • Comprehensive Approach
  • CIMIC functional specialists

Civil Affairs supported activities (CASA)

Foreign assistance

Foreign humanitarian assistance (FHA)

Populace and resources control (PRC)

Civil-military engagement (CME)

  • Civil Military Interaction (CMI)


CA personnel prepare area studies, conduct assessments, and create and maintain running estimates to assist in the planning and updating of mission plans across the range of military operations. CA produced area studies, assessments, and running estimates include geo-references. These geo-references allow for future geospatial application of these products into operations and mission planning sequences. These products develop and update the understanding of the civil component for the commander’s common operational picture. The information and material contained within these products are critical for the commander’s and staff’s situational understanding and the formation of the commander’s vision for the operational environment, including:

Impacts of the populace on military operations.

Impacts of military operations on the populace.

Development of courses of action.

Development of branches and sequels.

Completion of objectives, goals, and milestones.

Facilitation of the transition of army operations.

Identification and reinforcement efforts to consolidate gains.

Information requirements that drive and focus the civil information collection plan.

Area studies

CA personnel obtain, analyze, and record information in advance of the need. The basic evaluation of an area is the CA area study that establishes baseline information relating to the civil components of the area in question. The CA area study is a pre-mission study prepared regionally by country or to a specific subnational area within a country as the baseline research document for CA forces. The CA area study presents a description and analysis of the geography, historical setting, and the social, political, military, economic, health, legal, education, governance, infrastructure, and national security systems and institutions of a country using a combination of open- and restricted-source materials. CA personnel update the information detailed in the CA area study periodically, as required, prior to the receipt of a mission. CA requires the ability to retrieve accurate and current data on demand. This requirement necessitates a system to capture, store, collate, and produce this data in the form of a report, which is comprised from all available collected data at any given time. This report provides the baseline for the area study.

This baseline information is used as the basis for the creation of the civil affairs operation running estimate during the planning process. If an area study does not already exist, then the CA force must, time permitting, create one during mission preparation and planning, or it must conduct similar research and analysis required to directly produce the running estimate.

Note: Army Techniques Publication 3-57.60, CA Planning, Appendix A, provides additional information on area studies.

Civil affairs assessments

CA assessments provide a precise means to gather meaningful and significant information. CA soldiers perform three basic types of assessments - the initial assessment, the deliberate assessment, and the survey. Gathering information should not be a haphazard process. Each type of assessment is based upon the information and analysis of the previous type. In addition, each type of assessment in the progression becomes more focused, specific, and detailed with an ultimate goal of identifying civil vulnerabilities that pose a threat to the successful and timely completion of the mission. As with all military missions, this task must have a well-formed, practical plan.

Initial assessments

While the area study is completed ahead of the need and reviewed and updated prior to deployment, the initial assessment is conducted upon entry into the designated AO. The objective and focus of the initial assessment should be broad enough to allow CA forces to quickly obtain an updated baseline of the general conditions within the entire AO to validate or refute the information and assumptions used in planning, as well as to update the CAO priorities and civil information collection plan. During continuous operations, the initial assessment requirement may not be necessary for follow-on CA forces because of the transfer of current and detailed operational data during transition. CA teams conducting initial assessments must be aware of the security situation at all times.

Deliberate assessments

Deliberate assessments are conducted in a methodical manner in accordance with civil affairs operations priorities and the civil information collection plan on specific geographic areas or social, economic, governmental, or infrastructure systems of interest. They are a determination of current conditions, capabilities, or attitudes within these defined areas. Deliberate assessments are characterized by firsthand observations, interviews, and other tools to gather information used to make knowledgeable decisions and to determine locations and priorities for follow-on, in-depth analysis. CA teams may use a wide variety of detailed checklists or formats during a deliberate assessment to ensure it has scrutinized all aspects of the assessment area.


The survey is a detailed assessment in which the object of the assessment is examined carefully, as during an inspection or investigation. Surveys are conducted in a methodical manner in accordance with civil affairs operations priorities and the civil information collection plan on specific subjects identified as requiring in-depth investigation during deliberate assessments. This investigation may include people, groups, locations, facilities, or capabilities within a location or part of a critical geopolitical, cultural, or ethnic system. During the survey, the CA team may use a variety of detailed checklists or formats within the civil information management construct to ensure it has scrutinized all aspects of the specified entity, location, or facility targeted for survey. Survey development should leverage operations or research analysis capabilities if available. The findings of a survey may lead to refined mission statements or reallocation of forces and resources.

Note: Army Techniques Publication 3-57.60, CA Planning, provides more information on CA assessments.

Civil information collection plan

An information requirement is any information element the commander and staff require to successfully conduct operations (ADRP 6-0). Commanders cannot successfully accomplish activities involved in the operations process without the necessary information to make informed decisions. Civil reconnaissance, civil engagement, and data mining (the collection of information from a combination of open- and restricted-source materials for routine and continuous study and research) should be synchronized into the civil information collection plan. For the purposes of the mission command warfighting function, validated civil information collection plan requirements are requirements that, when answered, will fill a gap in knowledge and understanding of the civil component through analysis of civil considerations within an area of operations and the area of interest. Civil reconnaissance and civil engagement fill identified gaps or requirements in the civil information collection plan and may be conducted concurrently with other operations. The commander’s intent, priority intelligence requirements (PIR), and the commander’s critical information requirements (CCIR) focus civil affairs operations and the civil information collection plan. In return, CA forces provide the operations process with a continual flow of essential civil information through the running estimate during offensive, defensive, and stability tasks. This relationship tailors civil affairs operations to effectively identify and assess civil vulnerabilities, enabling U.S. military forces to achieve decisive results.

Note: U.S. Army Field Manual 3-55, Information Collection, provides the fundamentals of information collection, and Army Techniques Publication 3-57.50, Civil Information Management, provides additional information on the civil information collection plan.

Running estimate

Army Doctrine Publication ADP 5-0 describes how running estimates provide information, conclusions, and recommendations from the perspective of each staff section. Running estimates help to refine the common operational picture and supplement it with information not readily displayed. Staffs evaluate and synthesize information and provide it to commanders in the form of running estimates to help commanders build and maintain their situational understanding. Upon receipt or in anticipation of a mission, each staff section begins updating its estimate based on information requirements related to the mission. CA forces record relevant information in running estimates. They maintain a continuous assessment of the civil component as related to current operations as a basis to determine if they are proceeding according to the mission, commander’s intent, and common operational picture.

The running estimate feeds directly into the military decision making process, whether conducted unilaterally as part of CA-only operations or integrated into the supported unit’s planning process and development of the common operational picture. To focus the estimate process, planners first develop a restated mission statement that delineates those civil affairs operations tasks necessary to successfully support the commander’s mission. The mission statement is a short sentence or paragraph describing the unit’s civil affairs operations essential task (or tasks) and purpose that clearly indicate the action to be taken and the reason for doing so. It contains the elements of who, what, when, where, and why, as well as the reasons thereof, but seldom specifies how. Figure 3-1, page 3-14, shows the crosswalk of the military decision making process steps with the information in the running estimate.

During course of action analysis, CA staff officers ensure each course of action effectively integrates civil considerations and present a summary of their running estimate to describe how their findings impact or are impacted by other staff functions. The CA staff officer must be able to articulate how operations affect civilians and estimate the requirements for essential stability tasks that commanders might have to undertake based on the capability of the force and that of the interagency, international organizations, and NGO partners. Ultimately, the CA staff officer recommends the best course of action from the civil affairs operations perspective even though it may not be the course of action the staff recommends to the commander.

CA planners and staff use the running estimate throughout the operations process to assess the current situation, determine if the current operation is proceeding according to the commander’s intent, determine if future operations are supportable, and develop branches and sequels to current operations.

Note: Army Techniques Publication 3-57.60, CA Planning, provides additional information on the CAO running estimate.


FM 6-0 describes how staffs support the commander in understanding, visualizing, and describing the operational environment; making and articulating decisions; and directing, leading, and assessing military operations. Staffs make recommendations and prepare plans and orders for the commander. Staffs use annexes as attachments to plans and orders to provide more detail and organize information. The civil affairs operations (CAO) staff supports the commander in communicating the commander’s decisions and intent through these products. Key information recorded in the running estimate informs the orders process, particularly in the functional annexes. The CAO staff (G-9/S-9) refines the CAO aspects of the plan and order by publishing Annex K (Civil Affairs Operations), further amplifying the commander’s intent in terms of CAO. In addition to Annex K, the CAO staff is involved in the development of Annex V (Interagency Coordination), in conjunction with the assistant chief of staff, operations (G-3) or the battalion or brigade operations staff officer (S-3) and operations staff. In addition, the CAO staff must take great interest in Annex P (Host-Nation Support).

Doctrinal Matchup / Comparison “The Why”

U.S. Army Doctrine hierarchy for Civil Affairs.

  • 15

    Military government operations: Operations executed by civil affairs to provide expertise in the civil sector functions in order to establish transitional military authority or conduct support to civil administration.

  • 16

    Civil-military operations: Activities of a commander performed by designated civil affairs or other military forces that establish, maintain, influence, or exploit relations between military forces, indigenous populations, and institutions, by directly supporting the attainment of objectives relating to the reestablishment or maintenance of stability within a region or host nation.

  • 17

    Civil affairs operations: Actions planned, executed, and assessed by civil affairs forces that enhance awareness of and manage the interaction with the civil component of the operational environment; identify and mitigate underlying causes of instability within civil society; or involve the application of functional specialty skills normally the responsibility of civil government.

  • 18

    NATO use operating environment.

  • 19

    With the exception of the 95th CA Brigade Headquarters and its subordinate battalion headquarters, CA units are still organized to provide the supported commander the manpower and equipment to form the nucleus of the CMOC.