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by Myrtle Vacirca-Quinn, M.D. Sternfeld and Luis Carlos Montalván
Small Wars Journal Op-Ed
The endemic problem of not having enough highly skilled and capable Civil Affairs personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan has negatively affected the Post 9/11 era of US military operations. The Civil Affairs (CA) problems of post-invasion Iraq should not have led our senior defense policy makers to move CA into the Regular Army as Secretary Rumsfeld directed. Rather, CA and Psychological Operations (colloquially known as PSYOP) should have been kept in the Special Operations Community.
In the first Gulf War, Civil Affairs (CA) worked well because it was part of US Special Operations Command. CA operators, specifically men and women of the Kuwait Task Force, planned post-combat reconstitution and reconstruction of Kuwait almost 6 months prior to the allied liberation. Indeed, post-combat planning began during the pre-combat phase called Operation Desert Shield.
This advanced detailed planning was very much in keeping with the tradition of the World War II Office of Strategic Services (OSS), America's first overseas intelligence and military special operations agency. In Italy during World War II, OSS operations began with detailed plans produced beforehand at Camp Lee, Virginia.