Civil Affairs Officer

Civil Affairs Officer

Civil Affairs Officers are experts in acting as a liaison between the Army and civilian authorities and populations. In many respects, Civil Affairs Officers have to share the same skills as a public relations executive in the civilian world. Civil Affairs Officers many times must facilitate relationships between U.S. military forces and the people of the nation(s) in which those forces are operating.

The Civil Affairs officer combines regional expertise, language competency, political-military awareness, cross-cultural communication and professional military skills to conduct Civil Affairs operations and support Civil-Military operations in support of conventional and special operations forces. Civil Affairs involve humanitarian assistance, populace and resources control, support to civil administration, foreign nation support, emergency services and military-civic action. CA officers' unique knowledge and expertise enable them to command and coordinate CA operations that are planned, executed and transitioned to mitigate or defeat on-going or future regional and/or global civil threats. CA forms the nucleus of the Army's CMO expertise for Army Special Operations (ARSOF) and conventional forces.

The responsibilities of a Civil Affairs Team Leader may include:

  • Commanding and controlling Civil Affairs operations and combined armed forces during combat and peacetime.
  • Coordinating employment of Civil Affairs Soldiers at all levels of command, from platoon to battalion and higher, in U.S. and multi-national operations.


Civil Affairs Officer training includes completion of the Civil Affairs Officer Qualification Course (CAQC), where you will learn about the origins of civil affairs, leader responsibilities, organizational structures and relationships, mission types, CA tactics, techniques, procedures and other critical information sufficient for a base of knowledge that leads to success in the first unit of assignment. Your training will include classroom instruction reinforced by seminar and guest lecturers that combine with scenario-based practical exercises, a command-post exercise and qualification culminates with a situationally driven field-training exercise. Select officers will receive language training and attend a course of study focusing on a specific geographic region. Your training will take place in classrooms and in the field. Other training includes:

Helpful Skills

Being a leader in the Army requires certain qualities that provide the officer the ability to make sound decisions in the face of chaos and ambiguity. A Civil Affairs leader exhibits self-discipline, initiative, confidence and intelligence. They are mature, mentally tough, physically fit and can excel under physical and mental pressures. Leaders make decisions accurately, always focusing on completing the mission successfully, and show respect for their subordinates and other military officers. Leaders lead from the front and adjust to environments that are always changing. They are judged by their ability to make decisions on their own and bear ultimate moral responsibility for those decisions.

Advanced Responsibilities

Civil Affairs Officers may continue in the Operations career field, serving in Civil Affairs at ever increasing levels of leadership and responsibility. Responsibilities of a Civil Affairs Captain may include:

  • Commanding and controlling team or detachment-sized Civil Affairs units (4-20 Soldiers).
  • Coordinating employment of Civil Affairs Soldiers and the execution of Civil Affairs actions across the full range of military operations include U.S., joint, interagency and multi-national operations.
  • Developing doctrine, organizations and equipment for unique Civil Affairs missions.
  • Instructing Civil Affairs skills at service schools and combat training centers.
  • Serving as Civil Affairs advisor to other units, including Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve organizations.

Related Civilian Jobs

The skills you learn as a Civil Affairs Officer will help prepare you for a future with the US State Department, non-governmental and relief organizations, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Homeland Defense, and public administration. You'll be qualified to pursue a career as a senior executive, public administrator, project manager, or research analyst.