Civil Affairs

Apparently a survey of morale did not come up aces.

Civil Affairs differs from Civil-Military Operations in roughly the same way that Psychological Operations differs from Information Operations: the latter is the regular-Army, staff-section integrated attempt to command a job originally thought of as a kind of special operations. The lion's share of the older form has been pushed to the Reserves, where they serve as enabler units assigned to work under the authority of regulars. The older units still have the pride that comes from having been originally thought of as a special operations unit, and the pride that comes from having a degree of independence from the regular command. This gets expressed in ways that are sometimes fairly petty: for example, the PSYOP units I observed in Iraq would make it a point to wear the patrol cap if the regulars were under orders to wear boonie hats on base, or vice-versa.

It's a tough life. The other side of that independence is that the regulars don't really think of you as part of their organization, and have a fuzzy degree of sense of how much you're on the same team. They don't deploy at the same time that you do, so you were either there when they arrived (and thus are short-timers who shouldn't complain since they're on the way out the door) or are newcomers who aren't going to get to leave with you (and thus haven't suffered as much as you, and shouldn't complain until they have paid their dues).

Nevertheless both CA and PSYOP carry an important load in the kinds of wars we've been waging for so long. It would be good to get their morale issues taken seriously, just as the more commonly considered special operations units also have serious morale issues that come from the way we've been fighting.

No comments: