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by MAJ Mike Gilbert, G-5, Third U.S. Army

The C/J-9 mission is to manage, coordinate, and develop civil-military operations to reduce civilian interference with U.S. and coalition military operations, and promote relationships between U.S. combined military and host nation civilian and military agencies. (LTG Tommy R. Franks, C/JTF-KU commander, established the separate staff element in accordance with Joint Pub 3-57, Doctrine for Joint Civil-Military Operations (CMO), 30 July 1999.) C/J-9 also assists in the identification and acquisition of host nation resources and services. It coordinates and facilitates access to Aerial Ports of Debarkation (APODs) and Sea Ports of Debarkation (SPODs) and border crossings between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and obtains required entry and exit visas for U.S. C/JTF-KU personnel.

The C/J-9 operational objectives focused on obtaining Kuwaiti Ministry plans and concepts for refugee and civil defense operations. The C/J-9 also concentrated efforts on establishing positive relationships with Kuwaiti ministries and non-governmental organizations, private volunteer organizations, and international humanitarian organizations. Procedures and products on deep operations target validation and information warfare operations were redefined with the respective C/JTF-KU staff sections.


As with many cultures in other parts of the world, Kuwaitis prefer to deal with people they recognize and know. The missions of the political advisor to the U.S. Ambassador, the Office of Military Cooperation-Kuwait, and the ARCENT-KU S-5 are accomplished through maintaining good working relations with Kuwaiti military and civilian authorities. The C/J-9 staff took advantage of the relationships, knowledge, and expertise of the resident staff to acquire introductions and make appointments with Kuwaiti agencies. Their advice on how to broach difficult subjects with host nation counterparts assisted immeasurably in preparing for meetings.


  • Pre-positioned civil-affairs personnel were critical in initial coordination.
  • It is important to develop and refine procedures, and coordinate with respective Kuwaiti agencies for access into SPODs and APODs for coordinated border crossings and for obtaining visas.
  • Coordination and dialogue with key agencies was the basis of all civil-military actions initiated by the C/J-9. Those agencies are the U.S. Office of Military Cooperation-Kuwait, Kuwait Ministry of Defense, Kuwait Army, Navy and Air Force, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, the U.S. Ambassador, Political Affairs Officer at the American Embassy, and the Office of the United Nations High Commission on Refugees.

As the situation developed, the ARCENT G5 and two civil affairs planners were sent from Fort McPherson, Ga., to plan for DESERT THUNDER combat and post-hostilities operations. The newly designated C/J-9 also integrated a civil affairs officer and NCO from the 1st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). One U.S. Marine Corps major and one sergeant from the 3rd CAG were deployed with the MEU and detailed to the C/JTF-KU C/J-9 for the duration of the contingency. They were responsible for ensuring that USMC tactical civil affairs issues were included in plans and to assist with host nation support and coordination. The Marine augmentees were key contributors to the host nation effort and also brought a tactical civil affairs perspective to daily operations. They were a welcome addition to the short-staffed C/J-9 team, especially during 24-hour operations.

Eventually, the ARCENT G-5 sergeant major and an Arabic linguist were brought forward to provide for 24-hour operations and to provide much needed translation support. The sergeant first class linguist was a native speaker of Egyptian descent, deployed from the U.S. ARCENT G-5 section for the duration of the contingency. FAOs were assigned to duties in the Friendly Forces Coordination Center (F2C2), but their language capabilities were not Arabic. There were no other linguists available to the C/JTF-KU except for five Kuwaiti military LNOs assigned to the ARCENT-KU S-5. The S-5 volunteered their services whenever translation/interpretation could be provided to any staff section to support the mission. The Arabic linguists were invaluable to the C/JTF-KU mission. The Kuwaiti LNOs had a limited military vocabulary, which caused some room for interpretation in technical discussions. Had the contingency escalated, it was planned to request that FORSCOM provide an Arabic linguist team to support C/JTF-KU operations.

C/J-9 Objectives

The C/J-9 section efforts were mostly focused on direct coordination with respective Kuwaiti military and other agencies to obtain either access or resources for U.S. and coalition forces.

A civil affairs staff established positive working relationships with both ministry-level offices and non-governmental and private volunteer organizations' representatives, which were instrumental in obtaining operational briefings on refugees and civil defense plans. Civil affairs assets were not part of the initial force package deployed. The lack of these specialists impacted the ability of the C/JTF-KU to solidify relationships with supporting Kuwaiti military and civilian agencies and to conduct aggressive liaison requirements with the Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense and Interior agencies.


  • Civil affairs should be an integral part of the initial force package.
  • The C/J-9 can open closed doors for the initial forces in-country. Civil affairs must be able to build a strong relationship with the host nation from the beginning of the deployment.

Personnel Strength

One of the major shortfalls identified in Operation DESERT THUNDER was a lack of personnel in the C/J-9. The mission required civil affairs to conduct both current operations and planning actions.

The ARCENT-KU S-5 personnel were fully engaged with their normal duties conducting key coordination and supervision activities in the reception, staging, onward movement, and integration (RSOI) process, and facilitating the reception of personnel at APODs and the border crossing of equipment. They were not available to augment the remainder of the C/J-9 staff in meeting C/JTF-KU planning and coordination requirements for the operational mission. The C/J-9 staff was also stretched to meet C/JTF-KU 24-hour operational requirements in which staffs had to participate in various daily meetings, staff coordination, briefing productions, and presentations. All of this impacted the ability of the C/J-9 staff to conduct comprehensive liaison officer and other host nation support coordination.


  • The ARCENT-KU S-5's existing working relationships with key sections of the U.S. Embassy, Kuwaiti military, and civilian agencies were accessed by the C/J-9. This network was instrumental in the ability of the C/J-9 to support the C/JTF-KU and major subordinate commands. The S-5 quickly adjusted to changes in mission and short-notice requirements.
  • The ARCENT-KU S-5 continuity book proved to be a valuable asset to answer questions on procedures.

Translation Support

The C/JTF-KU staff consistently came to the C/J-9 for translation and interpretation support. Interpretation was not a major problem; translation was another matter entirely. Accurate translation of briefings and other documents from English to Arabic and from Arabic to English proved to be very difficult. There were limited personnel available to the C/JTF-KU staff who had knowledge of military concepts, acronyms and terminology, and who possessed fluency in both languages.


  • Documents can be carefully and sometimes painfully translated given adequate time and the right personnel. Ideally, a team of translator-interpreters (MOS 97L) from one of the new Reserve Component linguist battalions is needed. They are specifically trained to do this type of work.
  • Reliable interpreters can be contracted from the host nation.

Major Activities and Requirements

C/J-9 actions during Operation DESERT THUNDER included presenting a doctrinal briefing to the U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait on how U.S. Army civil affairs plans and conducts refugee operations, presenting criteria for planning, constructing, and operating refugee camps. Another positive activity was the C/J-9 contribution to the C/JTF-KU Information Operations Board, which included public affairs and psychological operations campaign plans.

The C/J-9 participated in the Deep Operations Coordination Cell Exercise and the DESERT THUNDER Command Post Exercise, both of which tested C/J-9 plans and improved joint and coalition interoperability. Conducting review of coalition target lists with the C/JTF-KU Staff Judge Advocate broadened C/J-9 experience and knowledge of how the targeting process operates at the C/JTF-KU level. It highlighted the importance of staff coordination and cooperation in review and validation of deep operations targets and the "no strike" list.

The C/J-9 worked closely with the staff of the Kuwait Ministry of the Interior and the private sector to coordinate the generous morale, welfare and recreational activities Kuwait provided for soldiers. Terrain walks of proposed refugee campsites revealed that some sites designated by the International Committee of the Red Cross were less than desirable if combat operations commenced. The C/J-9 proposed alternate sites.


The result of Operation DESERT THUNDER on C/J-9 relations with Kuwait can be considered improving. The Kuwaitis displayed a genuine welcome to the soldiers of C/JTF-KU despite criticism from other countries in the region. The support that C/JTF-KU received from Kuwait was first-class, and the privileges they offered were not abused. As a result, continued presence of the C/JTF-KU is welcomed by Kuwait. The Kuwaitis are developing a much more dynamic military capability as a result of their interoperability with the C/JTF-KU. Establishment of C/JTF-KU has clearly set the conditions for success if coalition forces are required to defend Kuwait in the future.

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