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85th Civil Affairs Brigade

The 85th Civil Affairs Brigade organizes, trains, equips and deploys forces worldwide, in any environment, to conduct Civil Affairs operations to mitigate civil vulnerabilities in order to advance US goals and policies within relevant foreign populations, in support of combatant commanders and US ambassadors. The Brigade operates within 3 distinct mission profiles that are also linked: 1) Support to FORSCOM by deploying Civil Affairs units in support of Overseas Contingency Operations; 2) Provides a persistent Civil Affairs engagement capability to the Geographical Combatant Commanders, Army Service Component Commanders, and U.S. ambassadors in support of theater engagement plans; and 3) Deploy Civil Affairs Teams, Command and Control elements, and civil military planning elements to corps and joint task forces in support of humanitarian Disaster relief operations and other contingencies as the nation requires.

The 85th Civil Affairs Brigade was first constituted in the US Army Reserve as the 362nd Civil Affairs Brigade, which was activated in August 1976 in Dallas Texas. The Brigade was inactivated in July 1978.

Through the Total Army Analysis process, the Army assessed its inventory of tactical civil affairs forces in 2009 and determined it needed one more civil affairs brigade, which it placed in the active component. At that time, the Army only had one civil affairs brigade in the active component, the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Airborne), and element of US Army Special Operations Command. There were also 9 civil affairs brigades in the US Army Reserve that provided support to Army general purpose forces, including Army Service Component Commands and Corps. Civil affairs functions had been primarily a responsibility of the US Army Reserve since the decision was made in 2006 to move the Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) to its control.

Given the dramatic increase in demand for civil affairs units in the decade following the events of 11 September 2001, the activation of a new civil affairs brigade would increase the Army's capacity to meet this global demand. The proposed structure for the new brigade would include be 5 subordinate battalions, each designed to support at the division level and containing a total of 30 civil affairs companies, to support the brigade combat team and the maneuver enhancement brigade. Although available for worldwide operations, each of the battalions would be aligned with a Geographic Combatant Command area of responsibility, giving the Army the capability to provide those commanders a full-time force of civil affairs soldiers who were a highly trained in specific languages, cultures, and civil affairs tactics, techniques, and procedures applicable to offense, defense, stability operations, and support to civil authorities overseas.

The Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 362nd Civil Affairs Brigade was subsequently redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade and activated on 16 September 2011 at Fort Hood, Texas. The 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, aligned with US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) was activated along with the Brigade's headquarters at Fort Hood. In 2012, the 82nd Civil Affairs Battalion, aligned with US Africa Command (AFRICOM), was activated at Fort Stewart, Georgia. The 83rd Civil Affairs Battalion, aligned with US Central Command (CENTCOM), was also activated on 25 September 2012 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

The Brigade's remaining battalions were expected to be activated by 2013. These included the 80th Civil Affairs Battalion, to be activated at Fort Bliss Texas and aligned with US European Command (EUCOM) and the 84th Civil Affairs Battalion, to be activated at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and aligned with US Pacific Command (PACOM). The Brigade was expected to be ready for employment by FY13.

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