Israel is now assigning civil
affairs troops to work with local governments inside Israel, if the country
undergoes more rocket attacks, like those that occurred on the Lebanese border
during the Summer of 2006. These civil affairs officers would assist local
officials in dealing with wartime conditions, and dealing with the effects of
rockets falling in their territory.
Affairs troops are the folks who deal with any civilians in the combat zone.
This has always been a problem, or, as many commanders have noted, a necessary
nuisance. Until the 19th century, a general would, at most, assign some
officers and troops to go talk to the local civilian leadership to establish
some ground rules so that the locals would not interfere with military operations. This, as any competent
general knew, was preferable to just allowing civilians to wander all over the
place (often to be abused or looted by the troops, and to sometimes fight
back.) But in the last century, dealing with civilians has become a specific
military skill. Much of Napoleon's success in the 19th century was due to the
attention he paid to civil affairs. During World War II, soldiers with foreign
language or government administration skills were collected and used to work
with the local civilians and avoid problems.
Civil Affairs operations were developed from experience U.S. troops had dealing
with occupied Germany and Japan after World War II (1945-55), and "civic
action" operations in the Vietnam war (1960-75). Since then, Civil Affairs
troops have also been used to administer foreign aid and peacekeeping programs.
studied their 2006 experience and realized that this was the first time Israeli
civilians had been under sustained
military attack for nearly half a century. Local civilian officials often
didn't know how react, and many called on the military for help. So rather than
expand the civil service bureaucracy, it seemed easier just to train a lot of
reserve officers on what the needs to be done by civil officials during such
attacks. These civil affairs officers would also act as a liaison with the