Sunday, August 19, 2007

Civil Affairs Doctrine for Dummies

Or is it BY dummies?

I don't think it is, of course. But at the same time...

Civil Affairs doctrine is being developed in real time, as Civil Affairs Operators return from Iraq/Afghanistan and furiously attempt to recreate a logical framework to describe what it was they did overseas.

Things sometimes end up jumbled in a pretty confusing fashion. For example, three of the five CA Core tasks are:

1) Support of Civil Administrations (SCA)
2) Foreign Humanitarian Assistance (FHA)
3) Nation Assistance/Management of Civil Authority (NA)

Each Core task has multiple sub-tasks. Many of the sub-tasks are identical from Core task to Core task. For example, a sub-task for Nation Assistance might be to "Perform QC of NA operations and associated costs". Well, simply take that sub-task and replace "NA" w/ "FHA", and wham-o, you have a subtask for FHA. Makes it a lot easier to memorize doctrine for exams and the like.

Except not all tasks are worded the same way, creating all sorts of (questionably necessary) confusion. For example, check out these three supporting tasks.

1) SCA: Coordinate and synchronize collaborative interagency/multiagency SCA operations
2) FHA: Participate in interagency planning and synchronization of FHA operations
3) NA: Synchronize NA projects with other programs, both military and civilian

All of these sub-tasks say more or less the same thing about their respective Core tasks. Does it make sense to re-write the damn thing each time, confusing already confused CA Operators who are trying to wrap their brains around the word casserole that is our ever changing doctrine? Hopefully this is something that they/we will be able to streamline as this process goes forward...but who knows.

Just goes to show...when you're writing the text book as the class goes along, you're bound to have some fun along the way.


mbatm27 said...

Actually, the doctrine is not being written during your class. It's been finalized.

It's always a little difficult to get your head around concepts if they are brand new and you have no anchor points of personal experience with which to relate them, don't worry, once you get down range, they'll maybe make a bit more sense.

And no, doctrine is not written by dummies, but by folks who have been exactly where you are today. The problem is that they sometimes have been so far removed from ground reality, that they sometimes miss the point.

It's good to have dynamic doctrine, that changes based on TTP and experiences of those who implement it. Otherwise, it get stale and useless.

Good luck with the class, we'll see you during the FTX.

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