Job Facts About Army Civil Affairs Specialists (38B)

These Specialists Deal With Civilian and Military Interactions

Members of the 457th Civil Affairs Battalion stand in formation at the 361st Civil Affairs Brigade’s activation ceremony Sept. 17 on Daenner Kaserne, Kaiserslautern, Germany.
Image courtesy Spc. Glenn M. Anderson, 7th Civil Support Command Public Affairs/U.S. Army /

The Civil Affairs Military Government Branch was established on August 17, 1955. These soldiers are important to global peacekeeping operations.

Civil affairs personnel have five core tasks: Civil Information Management, Foreign Humanitarian Assistance, Nation Assistance, Population Resource Control and Support to Civil Administration.

In the Army, the main role of civil affairs specialists is to prevent and mitigate civilian interference with military operations.

Civil affairs soldiers help plan missions that may involve civilians, such as evacuations, and work with civilian aid agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and commercial and private organizations. They may also support counter-drug operations that involve civilians or non-combatants.

Teams of civil affairs soldiers support of both conventional and special operations forces. Civil Affairs specialists identify critical requirements needed by local citizens in combat or crisis situations. They also locate civil resources to support military operations, deal with any incidents or injuries to non-soldiers, help with humanitarian relief efforts and act as liaisons to civilian agencies such as the Red Cross. 

An equivalent civilian job to civil affairs specialist would be that of an emergency management specialist: someone who acts as a liaison among various agencies and organizations during a crisis situation to ensure a positive outcome with minimal casualties for all parties.

A civil affairs specialist also researches and coordinates planning and production of civil affairs documents, such as press releases.

Soldiers in the Civil Affairs MOS assist and support all aspects of functional specialty missions, including coordination, research, and production. 

In addition, civil affairs soldiers may help plan government interagency procedures in the event of a national or regional emergency situations.

Coordination of military resources to support activities like reconstitution or reconstruction and support of national disaster, defense or emergency assistance and response activities are also among civil affairs' duties.

The primary role of civil affairs specialists is fostering and maintaining communication with civilian aid agencies, and put into place mechanisms for coordination in the event of emergencies. This is particularly crucial in situations where political and economic systems are incapacitated, such as a natural disaster like an earthquake or hurricane. 

Civil Affairs Training

Job training for a civil affairs specialist begins with 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training and 13 weeks of Advanced Individual Training, where you’ll learn the skills of a civil affairs specialist and be assigned to an Army Reserve civil affairs unit.

Airborne-qualified active duty non-commissioned officers can reclassify as a civil affairs sergeants after successful completion of an intensive 20-week training program that includes language, negotiations and regional training.

The required score on the Skilled Technical (ST) aptitude portion of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test (ASVAB) is 96.


Security Clearance: Secret

Strength Requirement: medium

Physical Profile Requirement: 222221

In addition, civil affairs specialists must be U.S. citizens, and have no record of conviction by court-martial and no record of conviction by civil court for any offense other than minor traffic violations. 

From Army Careers site: Civil Affairs Specialist 38B