The future of Civil Affairs and CIMIC

What might be the future of NATO CIMIC and US Civil Affairs? As being core military capabilities that investigate, analyse, and engage with the ~90% of any operating environment, which are the civil factors and not the enemy,  NATO CIMIC and US Civil Affairs have a vital role to play in the non-military aspects of competition and conflict.

Yet, NATO CIMIC and US Civil Affairs (CA) remain disputed and seem to be inadequately appreciated. In a chicken and egg discussion, one could argue whether there is a lack of performance of CIMIC and CA that fail to add obvious value to decision-making processes and missions, which then results in inadequate integration and inconsistent employment by the commanders, staff and forces they are supposed to support - or the other way round.

Reducing CIMIC elements and units to “Civil-Military Interaction Professionals” feeds the trend to merge them with other non-kinetic effectors (Communication & Engagement) and, by that, neglect the niche where these capabilities need to develop their second core competence: civil factors integration.

To spark a constructive debate and catalyse action related to the above-mentioned challenges, the CIMIC Centre of Excellence has commissioned a study paper by Dr Nicholas Krohley and LTC Stefan Muehlich.

The paper, available on the link below, compares and contrasts the doctrinal tasking of NATO CIMIC and US Civil Affairs, addresses key challenges facing both entities, and offers suggestions for innovation and optimization. 

Enjoy reading!