Sunday, December 9, 2012

U.S. Army Civil Affairs - Are You Ready?

The purpose of this post is to help prepare interested Soldiers/Officers to take that first step toward becoming a Civil Affairs Specialist/Officer. All of the information put out here is public information and their sources can be found at the bottom of this post. I hope that you will find this information both informative and inspiring.



First off, who am I?

My name is SGT Harmon, and I am an active duty Soldier currently serving as a 56M (Chaplain Assistant). About nine months ago I decided that I wanted to try something different with my Army career, and so I started researching the Special Operations side of the house. (You can find information on the different Army SP OPS branches HERE.)

The branch that immediately caught my attention was 38B (Civil Affairs). I submitted my packet, and within weeks I received a letter saying that my packet had been accepted and that I was good to move on to the next phase: CAAS (Civil Affairs Assessment and Selection.)

About seven months ago I attended and passed the rigorous 10-day selection course at Camp McCall (Fort Bragg, NC). Please do not ask me what the selection course was like, I can not give out that information. However, I will say this: Do not show up unprepared! Ask your recruiter to send you a physical fitness schedule and stick to it! The course is designed to push you to the utmost both physically and mentally. After all, you are trying to enter a component of the U.S. Army Special Operations forces!



What is Civil Affairs?

According to the Special Operations Recruiting Battalion website, "Although Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations activities often complement each other, each battle system operates individually in support of field commanders. Civil Affairs Soldiers are the field commander's link to the civil authorities in his area of operations. With specialists in every area of the government, they can assist a host government meet its people's needs and maintain a stable and viable civil administration." You can read the full article HERE.

Each civil affairs team is made up of a captain; a team sergeant; a team NCO, who is usually the team engineer; and the team medic. Though each has their own specialties, the members of the team are able to fill everyone else’s roles, if necessary. Teams within the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Airborne) are rapidly deployable; advise the combatant commanders or ambassadors on regional, cultural and local issues; and act as liaisons to nongovernmental agencies, information operations and U.S. government agencies. (Read more HERE).



What are the qualification requirements?

Visit the US Army Civil Affairs Recruiting Facebook page for the latest.

As of now, these are the requirements:

ENLISTED:
  • Rank SPC-SFC. Reference packet for TIG and TIS requirements.
  • Must have WLC.
  • ASVAB TECH Score 100 or above.
  • PULHES 111221 or better.
  • Security Verification, Interim.
  • DLAB score of 65 or higher or current DLPT with results within 12 months if you are language qualified.

OFFICERS:
  • Eligible for a Top Secret security clearance under provisions of AR 380-67.
  • Possess a baccalaureate degree or enrolled in the degree completion program obtaining degree no later than the start date of qualification course.
  • Possess a Defense Language Aptitude Battery (DLAB) score of 65 or above or have foreign language ability as demonstrated by an acceptable Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT) score of 1/1 or higher.
  • Be a YG 2010 Office.
  • Male and Female Officers may apply.

 ALL APPLICANTS MUST:
  • Pass and be selected from the Civil Affairs Assessment and Selection course (Camp McCall, NC).
  • Be Airborne qualified or willing to volunteer for airborne training.
  • Possess an APFT card within 6 months (at least 70% in each event) & DA From 5500R Body fat content worksheet if needed.
  • Pass a SERE-C physical. Current within one year.
  • Agree to the Civil Affairs volunteer statement.



If you pass Selection, your next step will be to go through the Q-course. The qualification course (or Q-course) is a pipeline that consists of:
  • Airborne school (if not already Airborne qualified) (3 weeks)
  • Introduction to CA (2 weeks)
  • Defense Language school (18-25 weeks)
  • Civil Affairs NCO Academy (11 Weeks)
  • CULEX (3 weeks)
  • Graduation (1 week)
 
For those of you who would like to know more about what Civil Affairs is all about (or if you have already passed Selection and are studying for the Q-course), these sources contain some really good information:

Civil Affairs NCO Journal -Great information!
SWCS Academic Handbook


Sources:
http://www.soc.mil/
http://www.sorbrecruiting.com/CA_what_is_CA.htm
 https://www.facebook.com/USArmySpecOpsRecruiting.Bragg.CA?ref=ts&fref=ts


Happy Readings,
Casey Sean Harmon
SGT, U.S. Army
www.caseyseanharmon.com

57 comments:

  1. I am in the Army Reserves heading to 38B school and I did not need to go to a selection. I do however have to pass an Airborne physical. I already took the DLAB and qualify, my and I am prior service (reclassing from 68A). I do not have WLC or PUHLES, I DO have a Security clearance. I have already been accepted and am going to the 38B course prior to WLC. My set time in DLI is about 12 months and 38B training 29 weeks. Why is it so different from yours?

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    1. I am not a subject matter expert HOWEVER, I do know that there is a BIG difference between the reserve component 38B MOS and the active duty component. As you know, in the reserves 38B is an entry-level MOS, and your "Q-Course" is the equivalent to our AIT. In active duty, you have to at least be an E-4(P) with WLC and pass a selection course. The process is treated exactly like SF or Psyop. Depending on which language you get, our Q-Course can be over a year in duration.

      Again, I'm not sure why big Army treats the reserve 38B so differently from the active duty 38B. The best thing I can figure is that the reserve version is the "part time" version of the active duty version, therefore requiring far less training. (No offense to you reserve guys, just stating facts!)

      Hope this helps!

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    2. Mission set for the Active Duty and Reserve 38B is completely different. Unit manning structure is different. Therefore, criteria for serving in Civil Affairs in RA is different than criteria for Reserves. Also, half of the active side of CA is part of Special Operations Command.

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    3. Hey everyone! I wasn't sure how to post an "original" blog question...or if that is even an option, so excuse my comment intrusion. I am exploring MOS's and am really interested in 38B (CA) BUT my husband is 11B...my MAIN question/concern is that I have read that the majority of 38B get stationed at Ft Bragg. Is it likely that with the Married Army Couples Program (MACP), we will be stationed together (or within 50 miles)? I'm not sure if my husband would need to be airborne qualified to be stationed on Ft Bragg or not... I am still researching MOS's and all the ins and outs in regard to being dual Military. My husbands up for reenlistment around February 2018 so another question would be if I complete basic and AIT and all of the following training, will we have to be stationed apart until he either gets out of reenlists?
      I sincerely hope that all came across clear to you :)

      Thank you!

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    4. That shouldn't be a problem, but then again it is the Army. Speaking from experience, infantrymen are a dime a dozen so there should be room for him at Bragg. He would need to be airborne qualified though.

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  2. I am sorry, for some reason that got all jumbled up. My PUHLES is good. This is an old keyboard from Korea and everything resets as I type. My unit already accepted me and I am going, so I am just wondering how they are so different if that is what is needed, as you told it, to go Civil Affairs?

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  3. I am currently located on Bagram AFB, Afghanistan. I just went to the SOF brief a few days ago after researching CA. I am very excited to get started, but I have to wait to go to selections when I get back early next year. I am working on my P/T, taking the DLAB in Oct/Nov time frame, and will wait to get the physical as soon as I return. Any suggestions?

    SSG McPhee
    Paralegal NCOIC
    TF MED A

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ruck, run, lift. Pick the brain of any Combat Arms folks you know, and learn all battle drills, if possible, get proficient with both the M-4 and the 9mm (team members dual carry). Learn everything you can about security, communications equipment,heavy weapons (240B, .50 CAL, MK-19), close air support, and call for fire. Work on your researching skills, public speaking, and talking intelligently to people that out-rank you greatly, but don't know it. Don't come in with an attitude, and don't leave the course with one. To steal from another branch, even if others of your own branch can't, be the quiet professional. Let your actions do your talking, and your lips still, and if you don't remember anything else, remember this: you live by big-boy rules in the SOF community, but there are still rules. The difference is, you shouldn't need someone looking over your shoulder ensuring you follow the rules. As a CA Team, you actions can be the only representation of our nation in a country outside of the embassy. Never forget the importance of your actions in that country. They can positively or negatively affect US relations with that nation for years to come.

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  4. Can I bring my family with me since the training is like 8months long?

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    1. If you are active component then yes you can bring your family with you. There is a strong possibility that you will be stationed at Bragg after training. It should be noted that other duty stations are a possibility such as Lewis, Hood, and Stewart.

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    2. Times have changed. Check this. I am pretty sure you come to CAAS on TDY and return orders. If you make it thru and are selected, then you and your family will PCS to Bragg.

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  5. Where would my spouse be during all of the training after selection?

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    Replies
    1. AC soldiers can bring their family with them.

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  6. YES YOUR FAMILY PCS here with you.

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  7. listen guys its not hard at all. It amases me more people dont do it. ensure you can get a 70% in each event
    pass a 12 mile road march in 3 hours 35 pound ruck dry. you will also wear your FLC and carry a weapon. the route is a bit tough not your average 12 miler but just ruck more. then a 5 mile run in 45 minutes the route is easy as heck. these are the only physical gates. if you fail anything you get a second attemp a week later. those who fail to pass will get recycle if they are doing good in everything else. which means you restart that phase and you will get another shot at the gate you failed. you may wear any boots sucks for selection as long as its nothing crazy looking blackhawks Nikes what ever they dont care. Personnel with bad attitudes and that HOOAH high speed mentality will not make it you will be peer out. this is special operations if your hands are cold be smart put them in your pocket. Also many people are scared of language school lol it is cake i mean no studying needed you learn it 8 hours a day thats enought studying for a day. unless you want 77 thousand dollars if thats the case then yeah study all throught language. if you are a spanish guy and get a 2-2 take spanish and get a 3-3 that is the difference between 77 or 70 to 35 or 40 gs with 2-2 in language.

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    Replies
    1. Some punctuation in key places could really change the message in this whole paragraph

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    2. doesn't sound bad. did you have a specific workout you did to prepare for it

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  8. does anyone know anything about the medic course after the q-course, are u chosen? do you volunteer? how long is it?

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    1. I recently graduated from the Special Operations Combat Medic course (SOCM) and currently attending the Special Operations Civil Affairs Medical Sergeant course (SOCAMS). After completing CAAS andbeing selected, I volunteered to become a CA medic. I, and almost everyone else that I have gone through the course with, had no prior medical experience. So it is not a requirement. Once I graduate SOCAMS I will then begin the CAQC course. The medic course is very difficult and will add at least an extra year of training, nonetheless, it is very much worth it. If you have any other questions feel free to ask.

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    2. Do they let females in this course?

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  9. I was told CAAS Volunteers with a pmos of 68W will be given first chances to SOCMC if they choose to go into 38BW1-W4. SOCMC is around 8-9 months for w1 and Im not too sure how long W4 is. Source: My CA recruiter.

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  10. Moving Simplified We found out this morning that we may be headed to
    Fort Bragg this summer(surprising as we weren't due to PCS for another year)
    fort bragg pcs

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  11. Typically, what role would they place a former Infantry SSG in on a CA team? Also, do they take your ethnic background into consideration when assigning a language?

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    1. You would be the newest guy on the team, would have completed a good portion of the 18C course (all the construction portion), and you would more than likely (dependent on mission) be the top gunner, security/recorder in key leader engagements, and be signed for all the team equipment. That has nothing with you being a 11B. It has more to do with positional tasks, and team dynamics. You would generally take lead on building assessments, or any possible construction site visitation. As a former 11B, dependent on your TL and TS, your marksmanship, security, tactics, will all be a benefit. Be prepared to train as needed. Every MOS in the Army is in CA. I have tackled more than a hand-ful of MOSs on the range. Especially when it comes to Transition -Fire TNG!!

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  12. What is all involved in the SERE - C physical?

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  13. All these questions can be directed to your local SORB recruiting station. Some things change so they will give you the most updated information from starting your CA packet to graduation. Males and Females enlisted and currently YG11 Officers are welcome to apply.
    - In Service Active Army CA Recruiter

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  14. I'd like to comment quickly on some differences between Active Duty and Reserve CA. The Active Duty CAQC is much more physical and requires a selection course in order to let people wash out then rather than after the Army spent money moving them and their families to Ft. Bragg for a year long course. Reserve Officers go to a CAQC, which is a very condensed version of Active Duty CAQC. When I did CAQC in 2012 the field excercise joined the Active Duty and Reserve CAQC into mixed teams. Active Duty Officers and Enlisted attend the same course. Reserve Enlisted still go to AIT instead of CAQC because it is part of Initial Entry Training (unless they were prior service then they do a reclassification course like I did).

    Most CA is in the Reserves, for most of my CA career, which started in 2001 the Reserves consisted of 96% of total CA forces. The reason for this is because when deployed we interface with local civilians, and so they like to make use of CA soldier's civilian skills in addition to the CA methodology they are taught. In the past few years there has been a rapid expansion of Active Duty CA because frequent deployments for Reservists have exceeded anything most people would have expected from Reserve forces.

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  15. Do you have to be Airborne to go in to/be in a CA/unit?

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    Replies
    1. As a CA soldier, yes you do. As support, no. However the units send their soldiers to Airborne because the units are all airborne qualified.

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    2. In some reserve CA units and all active duty. On the active side, you could be assigned to the 85th, which most of it's units are not on jump status.

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  16. Yes you have to be airborne to be in CA unit. But u do not have to be airborne to go thru the course. After you graduate CAQC you are required to go to airborne school and graduate, if you fail airborne school your 38B will b taken away and you will go back to your previous MOS.

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  17. my MOS is 92Y2S00KP(2/2) i need question for you.1. how hard Civil Affairs Assessment and Selection course?(not for physical side) 2. i already have SQI S(special operation supporting personal) easy to assign to black team? 3. i got score2/2 KP can i skip language course? 4. do i have to take TABE test ?

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  18. I'm currently a 38B on the reserve side (airborne bn). Have prior service in active duty as a 35N. The reserve 38B reclass was cake - a 29 day course that is mostly classroom + 1 week of FTX. Language is not required in the reserves. Strongly considering crossing over to the active duty side of CA. Civilian life is too damn boring.

    Question: Is SERE school required as an active duty CA soldier?

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    Replies
    1. I'm prior 11B considering doing the same thing you just did. Is the reclass course at Bragg too?

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  19. ^@ Anonymous^

    Quick question because there seems to be alot of confusion at my reserve unit....when reclassing to 38B do you take a PT test when you get there or just have to have the less than 30 days out prior to class and your good? Not that it matters but nice to know nonetheless. Thanks

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  20. ^ Make sure you have one within 30 days of your report date - they WILL verify. and if you can't get documentation that you've had one, they'll send you home. I did my reclass at Ft. Knox and saw them sold one soldier home after 2 weeks because they couldn't get something squared away with his med records. There was no PT Test there, and we PT'd on our own the entire time. This was back in Nov 2013 though, so that may have changed. They were talking about implementing a PT program into the future classes. Also, make sure you have an up-to-date airborne phys.

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  21. Can anyone tell me the chances of having a medical waiver approved for exercise induced asthma? The asthma is not at all severe and I am not on profile. I score over 90 in each APFT event. Army diagnosed me two years ago and the doc prescribed me an inhaler. Getting this medical waiver is all I need to be able to attend selection. Everything else is 100%.

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  22. Are there any people going to selection in June?

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  23. Do you know any Dual Military 38B? Me and my husband we want to try. It is my dream job, I speak 3 languages, have a BA in International Relations and I have worked (internship) ate the United Nations for 1 year before I enlist. 2 months ago CA recruiters went where he is at in Afghanistan and said the is no minimum TIS to apply, which I thought there was. Was that a mistake?
    Do you think we could go to training at the same time frame?
    thanks in advance

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    Replies
    1. I am currently in the 82ND ABN DIV HQ and I pretty sure you both can go. the CA packet is pretty easy and the recruiters got my date for sept 17 2014. depends on when he gets back. Look on atrrs for dates. FY15 course dates will not post til October this year. good luck

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    2. but do I need a minimum time in service to apply? I finish my AIT in January

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  24. Hi Sgt, I just read your article online and it's very helpful. I have some questions. I'm a 91B right now, and I'm trying to reclass to 38B and I'm from French so I'm very fluent in French. I need to make a decision now and I need your advice. I just took the DLAB test and I scored 75. The recruiter told me I was good to go. My questions are:
    Do I need to skip the 6 months language while in the Q Course?
    How are the deployments? Do you have to be in close combat all the time? Can I just get deployed to those country who only speak French? How long are the deployment? Can I reclass later from 38B to another MOS? (i.e 25B) what are the benefits? will I only learn French as language while in school?
    how is the life with family? will I be able to spend more time with my family? where can I get stationed at after school? Thank you so much for your time and responses.

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  25. Can single parents go 38B in the Reserves? I'd need to transfer to the Reserves from the Guard but I have the asvab score, airborne, secret clearance, one deployment and 3 MOS's. Also, would I have the choice of attending DLI through 38B and living off base in Monterey with my son? My parents would take care of my son through the 38B training of course.

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  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  27. do they shave your head in selection? trivial question, but I'm trying to pick a selection date and I don't want to have my head shaved for my wedding haha

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  28. I am getting ready to go to the CAQC in January. My ETS is coming up in Nov so obviously I need to reenlist. However, I plan on extending my contract to cover the Q course then reup when I graduate. What is the attrition rate for the CAQC course. When during the course will you find out where you will be stationed?

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  29. No they do not shave your head.

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  30. Does anyone know how it is determined if you are going to 85th (forscom) or 95th (socom)? Also, does anyone know if 85th is airborne?

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  31. My husband is thinking of going active and wants Civil Affairs. He's already in the Reserves, with a Civil Affairs MOS. Do you know if you can go active if you have dependents?

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  32. Can you get 38b medic in contract or do you have to hope you will get an opportunity in AIT

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  33. Do you do alot of Land Nav while at either Reserve or Active CA Qualification courses?

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  34. Im going to selection this summer and was wondering what I have to do (if it's even within my control) to serve in the 95th. I'm currently in USASOC and wish to stay within the community.

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  35. Hello, I'm currently trying to enlist as a 38B and wondering if you could answer a question for me about security clearance. I have my degree in political science and international studies, but received a dui four years ago which has barred me from going Officer. Will it also prevent me from ranking up as enlisted?

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    Replies
    1. Having a TS//SCI, I'll say that the DUI may stop you from getting clearances/accesses. Certain offenses automatically disqualify soldiers from enlisting in the first place. We've had greenies get pulled out of NSA for DUIs and lost their clearance. (I'm not saying it's a no no, but you may not be able to enlist at all)

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  36. Hey, I had a few questions about CA. I'm no in the army right now but looking into enlisting and I want to be work in CA. When I talked to a recruiter he said only reserve and officers can be in CA and kind of changed the subject everytime I tried to ask him more options about it. What would be the best route for me to become part of CA?

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