1st Theater Sustainment Command


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Civil Affairs Regiment commemorates 66th Anniversary

By Spc. Zoran Raduka | 1st Theater Sustainment Command | August 17, 2021

FORT KNOX, KY --

The U.S. Army Civil Affairs Regiment commemorates its 66th anniversary of inception Aug. 17.

In 1955, civil affairs was formally established as a U.S. Army Reserve branch. It was designated as the Civil Affairs Regiment in October 1959. In October 2006, civil affairs was further established as a basic branch of the Army.

The purpose of the Civil Affairs Branch is to help military commanders and staff work with civil authorities and populations and assist and support the civil administration of a unit’s area of operations.

Capt. Colleen R. Cooper, deputy civil affairs officer, 1st Theater Sustainment Command, was previously deployed in support of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command in Germany for a mission supporting the Balkan region of Europe. Along with her team of civil affairs Soldiers, she worked with governments and local authorities to coordinate for the upcoming Defender 2021 exercise.

The civil affairs force structure is currently found in both U.S. Army Reserve and active components. Civil affairs units support conventional and special operations forces during peacetime and conflict throughout the world. Since 2001, they have deployed continuously during the Global War on Terror since.

Cooper expressed that on this 66th anniversary, it is important to make the distinction of the changes the Civil Affairs Branch is making to improve the Army as a whole, as well as support our partner nations.

“The civil affairs proponent just released a new doctrine that puts a heavy focus on differentiating special operations support by civil affairs and civil affairs that supports large scale combat operations that the Army as a whole is moving towards,” Cooper said.

Cooper went on to explain that the 1st TSC is different because they have active combat zones in their area of responsibility. However, their engagements are similar to how they were conducted at the 21st TSC doing exercise support.

“It is all a very real mission within the exercise support, particularly with how the planning was to have strategic effect in the U.S. European Command AOR,” she said. “Here, since we are so focused on combat operations, we can leverage some aspects better. For example, the 310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command is currently supporting 1st TSC efforts in Saudi Arabia to set conditions for future operations.”

Cooper explained there are a lot of misconceptions about what civil affairs is and there is more to it than just humanitarian assistance.

“My advice to anyone thinking of going into the Civil Affairs Branch is to read the new doctrine that was published and then internalize it,” she said. “It is about the long-term effect we’re trying to achieve. See if this is something you really want to do. Get in touch with someone in the civil affairs community, talk to them, and learn their perspective. It’s usually more intuitive than just speaking to a recruiter.”