96th Civil Affairs Airborne
The 96th Civil Affairs Battalion is the only
active Army civil affairs unit. It is readily available
to deploy and provides primarily tactical support.
It is both a contingency force, and a Special Operations
Force. The 96th has five companies and a headquarters
element. Each company has a displaced-persons/refugee/evacuee team.
The battalion as a whole has teams that concentrate on
civil supply, displaced persons, refugee/evacuees,
public safety and public health.
Civil affairs units help military commanders by
working with civil authorities and civilian populations
in the commanderís area of operations to lessen the
impact of military operations on them during peace,
contingency operations and declared war. Civil Affairs
forces support activities of both conventional and special
operations forces, and are capable of assisting and
supporting the civil administration in the area of operations.
Civil affairs specialists can quickly and
systematically identify critical requirements needed
by local citizens in war or disaster situations.
They can also locate civil resources to support
military operations, help minimize civilian
interference with operations, support national
assistance activities, plan and execute non-combatant
evacuation, support counter-drug operations, and
establish and maintain liaison or dialogue with
civilian aid agencies and civilian commercial
and private organizations.
In support of special operations, these culturally-oriented,
linguistically-capable soldiers may also be tasked to provide
functional expertise for foreign internal defense operations,
unconventional warfare operations and direct action missions.
The functional structure of civil affairs forces
and their expertise, training, and orientation
provide a capability for emergency coordination
and administration where political-economic structures
have been incapacitated. They can help plan U.S.
government interagency procedures for national or regional
emergencies. They can assist civil-military planning and
military support operations for theater commanders in chief.
Additionally, they can coordinate military resources to
support government operations, emergency actions and
humanitarian assistance from natural, man-made, or
The 96th Civil Affairs Battalion has a wide variety
of missions. Each unit has specialized teams to:
prevent civilian interference with tactical operations,
assist tactical commanders in discharging their
responsibilities toward the civilian population, provide
liaison with civilian governmental agencies, cope with
monuments and captured art and archives, help restore a
friendly nation's legal or economic system and a host of
other functions such as fighting famine, disease and death,
feeding innocent victims of destruction, protecting the
legal rights of the destitute and ensuring continued
education of the young.
The 96th is capable of rapidly deploying one of its
five regionally aligned CA companies to meet the initial
CA support requirement, with transition to Reserve
Components units beginning as soon as mobilization
permits. Oftentimes, the 96th CAB (A) is used as a
"quick fix" to provide assessments or other general
civil affairs support until the appropriate specialist
teams from the reserves are activated and deployed.
The RC civil affairs units have functional specialties,
with the unit's soldiers being assigned to functional teams.
Personnel from the 96th make up four percent of
United States civil affairs forces. The remaining
96 percent come from other units in the reserve
component such as the 351st, 352nd and 353rd CA
Commands and the 361st and 358th CA Brigades.
In March 1986, the 96th officially became an
airborne unit. It is stationed at Fort Bragg and
has performed civil affairs missions throughout the
world. Its performance in Grenada during Operation
URGENT FURY and in Panama during Operation JUST CAUSE
were classics of the constructive use of this scarce
asset. They were also the first Civil Affairs unit to
be sent to Saudi Arabia in August 1990 for Operation
Desert Shield. Their planning assistance and host nation
support operations were invaluable aids to preparing the
theater support structure to sustain the largest and fastest
U.S. Army deployment since WW II.
An element of the 96th CA Battalion (Airborne)
deployed from Fort Bragg, NC, to assist in the
Provide Comfort humanitarian relief operation.
Personnel from the 96th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne)
deployed to the east African nation of Kenya in June 1998,
supporting two missions. The four-man Tactical Support Team 33
of Company C was assisted by six members of the 422nd Civil
Affairs Battalion, Greensboro, N.C. The civil affairs soldiers
participated in Natural Fire '98, a Joint Chiefs of Staff
exercise involving Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, as well as
conducting disaster management training with the Kenyan government.