U.S. Army Civil Affairs and
Psychological Operations Command

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Distinctive Unit Insignia

U.S. Army Civil Affairs & Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) (USACAPOC(A)), distinctive unit insignia

A silver color metal and enamel device 1 3/16 inches (3.02 cm) in width overall consisting of a diagonally crossed silver sword and fasces superimposed by a sphere divided vertically white and black and gridlined silver and interlaced with a tripartite red scroll inscribed "BY SWORD DEED AND WORD" in base in silver letters, overall a silver chess knight detailed black and inscribed on its base with a black nebuly line.

Symbolism: The chess knight typifies the capabilities of the Command, implying both overt and covert missions. It is inscribed on base with a nebuly line, the traditional heraldic symbol for clouds, indicating the unit's airborne capabilities. The globe is divided black and white to represent the unit's ability to deploy and operate worldwide night and day, as well as reflecting the multifaceted nature of the unit's mission as a combat force and a peacekeeping presence. The sword, chess knight and fasces suggest the three major components of the Command's mission: Special Operations, Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs functions. Silver connotes eminence and red signifies actions and valor.

The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved effective 1 December 1990, for the US Army Reserve Special Operations Command. It was redesignated for the US Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command with the symbolism revised on 19 December 1990.

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USACAPOC shoulder patch

U.S. Army Civil Affairs & Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) (USACAPOC(A)), shoulder sleeve insignia is on a green shield with a 1/8 inch (.32 cm) green border, 2 1/2 inches (6.35 cm) in width and 3 inches (7.62 cm) in height overall, a yellow flash above a purple flash both bend sinisterwise, superimposed by a gold sword with silver gray blade. To be worn with the black and yellow Airborne tab.

Symbolism: The sword represents the military nature and strength of the Command. The flashes suggest speed and electronic communications. The colors of the insignia reflect the units within the Command. Purple is traditionally associated with Civil Affairs and dark green with Psychological Operations and Special Forces. The color gold (yellow) denotes excellence.

The shoulder sleeve insignia was originally approved for the US Army Reserve Special Operations Command on 16 January 1990. It was amended to change the color of the border on 2 March 1990. It was amended to change the color of the subdued border on 30 April 1990. The insignia was redesignated for the US Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command on 19 December 1990.

The United States Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command, Airborne, was activated on 27 November 1990 as a way to put Army Civil Affairs [CA] and Psychological Operations [PSYOP] from the Army Reserve into a single command subordinate to what was then the Army’s newest Major Army Command. U.S. Army Special Operations Command is the Army component of U.S. Special Operations Command. USACAPOC, or CAPOC as they are called, is made up of 10,000 soldiers in 70 units in 27 states. They account for all of the Army’s Reserve Psychological Operations capability and all but two of the Army’s Civil Affairs units, the only exceptions being the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (consistingof 5 Civil Affairs Battalions, 91st, 92nd, 96th, 97th and 98th) under Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and a single Brigade headquarters in Hawaii.

The command consists of four Civil Affairs Commands [CACOMs], each numbering about 1,100 to 1,300 soldiers, commanded by a U.S. Army Reserve Brigadier General and distributed around the country. Each of the CACOMs is geographically oriented to a specific regional combatant command. The 350th Civil Affairs Command in Pensacola, FL, is a SOUTHCOM asset; the 351st in Mountain View, CA, is apportioned to PACOM; the 352nd in Riverdale, MD is oriented on CENTCOM, and the 353rd on Staten Island, NY, has the EUCOM mission.

On the PSYOP side, they have two Groups, each commanded by a Colonel. The two reserve groups are the 2nd Psychological Operations Group in Cleveland, OH, and the 7th Psychological Operations Group in Mountain View, CA, each with about 1,100 soldiers.

The United States Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne), or USACAPOC(A, was founded in 1985. USACAPOC(A) is composed mostly of U.S. Army Reserve soldiers in units throughout the United States. Its total size is approximately 10,000 soldiers, making up about 94 percent of the DoD's Civil Affairs forces and 71 percent of the DoD's Psychological Operations forces. It is headquartered at Fort Bragg, NC.

In May 2006, the reserve component of USACAPOC(A) was transferred to the U.S. Army Reserve Command. The Army's active duty Special Operations Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations units, along with the Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Force Modernization/Branch Proponents, continue to fall under the U.S. Army Special Operations Command and its subordinate United States Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School respectively. The 95th Civil Affairs Brigade, the active component civil affairs brigade, falls under the United States Army Special Operations Command(USASOC).

The United States Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (USACAPOC) is responsible for overseeing two lesser known areas of Special Operations whose contributions are no less valuable than Special Forces or Rangers. Used during peacetime, contingencies and declared war, these activities are not a form of force, but are force multipliers that use nonviolent means in often violent environments. Persuading rather than compelling physically, they rely on logic, fear, desire or other mental factors to promote specific emotions, attitudes or behaviors. The ultimate objective of U.S. military psychological operations and civil affairs is to convince enemy, neutral, and friendly nations and forces to take action favorable to the United States and its allies.

Army Reserve Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations make up five percent of the U.S. Army Reserve force, but account for about 20 percent of Army Reserve deployments. The command's soldiers bring civilian expertise not found among regular active duty soldiers. The projects they coordinate are the subject of many of the "Good News" stories run in the American media each day about Iraq, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa.

Civil Affairs

The primary mission of Civil Affairs is to conduct civil-military operations. Civil Affairs soldiers are responsible for executing five core CA tasks, Civil Information Management, Foreign Humanitarian Assistance, Nation Assistance, Population and Resource Control, and Support to Civil Administration. Some sub tasks to these core tasks include identifying non-governmental and international organizations operating in the battlespace, handling refugees, civilians on the battlefield, and determining protected targets such as schools, churches/temples/mosques, hospitals, etc. The mission of Civil Affairscan be summed up by the motto of the post World War II Civil Affairs School: SEAL THE VICTORY.

Civil Affairs units are the field commander's link to the civil authorities in that commander's area of operations. The soldiers make up teams which interface and provide expertise to the host nation government. USACAPOC(A)'s Civil Affairs soldiers are particularly suited for this mission since they are Army Reserve soldiers with civilian occupations such as law enforcement, engineering, medicine, law, banking, public administration, etc.

Civil Affairs soldiers have been integral to U.S. peacekeeping operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, Bosnia and Kosovo, among others. Tactical Civil Affairs teams go out and meet with local officials, conduct assessments and determine the need for critical infrastructure projects such as roads, schools, power plants, clinics, sewer lines, etc., and check up on the status of the project after construction by a local company has begun.

The men and women of Civil Affairs have a wide variety of missions. Each unit has specialized teams to: prevent civilian interference with tactical operations, assist tactical commanders in discharging their responsibilities toward the civilian population, provide liaison with civilian governmental agencies, cope with monuments and captured art and archives, help restore a friendly nation's legal or economic system and a host of other functions such as fighting famine, disease and death, feeding innocent victims of destruction, protecting the legal rights of the destitute and ensuring continued education of the young.

In Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM, the active duty 96th CA Battalion was joined by large elements of the Reserve Component Civil Affairs community. The 352nd Civil Affairs Command, the 360th CA Brigade, the 354th CA Brigade and the 304th CA Group were some of the major units activated and sent to Saudi Arabia. They were joined by 12 CA Companies, also of the Reserve Component.

Upon the completion of Desert Storm, several CA units were sent to Turkey and Northern Iraq to assist in Operation Provide Comfort. They helped establish camps for 452,000 Kurdish refugees, arranged for food drops and worked with other U. S. and allied units to resettle the refugees.

All the U. S. Army Reserve Civil Affairs units--including the 351st, 352nd,  and the 353rd CA Commands are under the command and control the U. S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (USACAPOC).

Civil Affairs personnel continue to support the Army's missions. Teams worked in Somalia as valuable links between the Army units and the many non-governmental aid organizations (NGOs) and private volunteer organizations (PVOs). They stood ready in Haiti to assist in population control during the planned combat operations and then quickly shifted gears to assist in the non- violent resolution of the crisis by U. S. negotiators. Teams from Civil Affairs units in the active and reserve component worked in refugee camps in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Panama, and Surinam for Cuban and Haitian migrants. With the restoration of the Aristide government, civil affairs experts worked with the new regime to restructure the Haitian armed forces (FaH'd) into a police force, reorganize the judicial structure, prepare for free elections, restore some of the infrastructure and a myriad of other tasks.

Psychological Operations (PSYOP)

The primary mission of Psychological operations is to deploy anywhere in the world on short notice, and plan, develop, and conduct Psychological operations in support of Unified Commanders, coalition forces, or other government agencies as directed by the National Command Authority.

Psychological operations are a vital part of the broad range of U.S. political, military, economic and ideological activities used by the U.S. government to secure national objectives. PSYOP is the dissemination of information to foreign audiences in support of U.S. policy and national objectives.

Used during peacetime, contingencies and declared war, these activities are not forms of force, but are force multipliers that use nonviolent means in often violent environments. Persuading rather than compelling physically, they rely on logic, fear, desire, or other mental factors to promote specific emotions, attitudes, or behaviors. The ultimate objective of U.S. military psychological operations is to convince enemy, neutral, and friendly nations and forces to take action favorable to the U.S. and its allies.

Psychological operations support national security objectives at the tactical, operational and strategic levels of operations. Strategic psychological operations advance broad or long-term objectives. Global in nature, they may be directed toward large audiences or at key communicators.

PSYOP troops accomplish their mission by disseminating propaganda messages in the form of leaflets, posters, broadcasts and audio-visual tapes. PSYOP units have their own intelligence analysts, illustrators, photographers, layout specialists, printers and loudspeaker teams who prepare and distribute propaganda products.

Operational psychological operations are conducted on a smaller scale. They are employed by theater commanders to target groups within the theater of operations. Their purpose can range from gaining support for U.S. operations to preparing the battlefield for combat.

Tactical psychological operations are more limited, used by commanders to secure immediate and near-term goals. In this environment, these force-enhancing activities serve as a means to lower the morale and efficiency of enemy forces.

Both tactical and theater-level psychological operations may be used to enhance peacetime military activities of conventional forces operating in foreign countries. Cultural awareness packages attune U.S. forces before departing overseas. In theater, media programs publicize the positive aspects of combined military exercises and deployments.

In addition to supporting commanders, PSYOP units provide interagency support to other U.S. governmentagencies. In operations ranging from humanitarian assistance to drug interdiction, psychological operations enhance the impact of those agencies' actions. Their activities can be used to spread information about ongoing programs and to gain support from the local populace.

Psychological operations units in the U.S. Army Reserve are language and culturally oriented. Seventy one percent of the Department of Defense's PSYOP capability rests within USACAPOC (A)'s 2nd and 7th Psychological Operations Groups located in Ohio and California respectively.