from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2007, Issue No. 74
July 19, 2007

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The crucial interactions between military forces and the civilian environment in which they operate are the domain of "civil affairs," a subject of urgent interest to the U.S. military in Iraq and elsewhere.

Civil affairs operations that promote cooperation between the military and the local population help to advance the military mission. Activities that generate friction or inspire opposition are not helpful.

"A supportive civilian population can provide resources and information that facilitate friendly operations. It can also provide a positive climate for the military and diplomatic activity a nation pursues to achieve foreign policy objectives," according to U.S. military doctrine.

"A hostile civilian population threatens the immediate operations of deployed friendly forces and can often undermine public support at home for the policy objectives of the United States and its allies."

"The problem of achieving maximum civilian support and minimum civilian interference with U.S. military operations will require the coordination of intelligence efforts, security measures, operational efficiency, and the intentional cultivation of goodwill."

"Failure to use CA [civil affairs] assets in the analysis of political, economic, and social bases of instability may result in inadequate responses to the root causes of the instability and result in the initiation or continuation of conflict."

Earlier this month, the U.S. Army issued a revised "how-to" manual on the conduct of civil affairs. That manual has not been approved for public release and is not readily available. But a copy of the prior edition from 2003 was obtained by Secrecy News.

See "Civil Affairs Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures," U.S. Army Field Manual FM 3-05.401, September 2003 (535 pages, 16 MB PDF file):

A more concise treatment of the same subject was given in another recent manual. Though not approved for public release, a copy was obtained by Secrecy News.

See "Civil Affairs Operations," U.S. Army Field Manual 3-05.40, September 2006 (183 pages, 4 MB PDF file):


The Congressional Research Service has recently updated several publications on Afghanistan, including these:

"NATO in Afghanistan: A Test of the Transatlantic Alliance," updated July 16, 2007:

"Afghanistan: Post-War Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy," updated June 21, 2007:

"Afghanistan: Narcotics and U.S. Policy," updated June 19, 2007:

"Afghanistan: Government Formation and Performance," updated June 15, 2007:


Recent reports from the Congressional Research Service concerning China include these:

"Hong Kong: Ten Years After the Handover," June 29, 2007:

"China's Economic Conditions," updated July 13, 2007:

"Taiwan: Major U.S. Arms Sales Since 1990," updated July 12, 2007:

"China-U.S. Trade Issues," updated July 11, 2007:

"China-U.S. Relations: Current Issues and Implications for U.S. Policy," updated June 14, 2007:

"Food and Agricultural Imports from China," updated July 17, 2007:

"The Southwest Pacific: U.S. Interests and China's Growing Influence," July 6, 2007:

"China's Currency: A Summary of the Economic Issues," updated July 11, 2007:


The Congressional Research Service, at congressional direction, does not permit direct public access to its products. Members of the public must connive or contrive to gain such access. So we do.

Some recent CRS reports that caught our eye include these:

"Presidential Claims of Executive Privilege: History, Law, Practice and Recent Developments," updated July 5, 2007:

"The Palestinian Territories: Background and U.S. Relations," July 5, 2007:

"Restructuring EPA's Libraries: Background and Issues for Congress," updated June 15, 2007:

"U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF): Background and Issues for Congress," updated June 28, 2007:

"Airborne Laser (ABL): Issues for Congress," updated July 9, 2007:


Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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