One of the most important aspects of managing a conflict is civil affairs. Today’s operations are no longer confined to open fields and lines of fortifications; instead, they focus on cities and population centers. The needs of the people living in these areas are vitally important to the successful completion of an operation. Having the support of the local population can often be the difference between success and failure.
Who Manages Civil Affairs?
Appropriately named, Civil Affairs Specialists operate as a resource for citizens in combat and crisis situations. They are also utilized in times of peace to coordinate emergency response plans for regional and national disasters in our own country and abroad. Civil Affairs is often seen as the hinge between military branches and local communities, governments, and relief agencies in order to maintain a high quality of life for people affected by conflict and disaster.
How Are Civilians’ Needs Addressed By The Army?
Civil Affairs Specialists perform many of the on-the-ground tasks and are the face of the armed services to local communities and organizations. Specialists are trained to identify and address critical needs of local populations. They also locate civil resources to support military operations and to minimize civilian interference with those operations while facilitating humanitarian assistance activities.
A large amount of research and communication is needed to perform these duties. Meeting the needs of civilians while still supporting military goals can be a difficult balance to achieve, but failure is never an option for any part of the Army.
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