Force Protection:

Integrating Civil Affairs and Intelligence

by Captain Lynda Snyder and Captain David P. Warshaw

It is incumbent upon tactical intelligence professionals to understand the role of civil affairs personnel on today's multifaceted battlefield. Failure to do so could result in the loss of an asset that is critical to adequate intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) and force protection during operations other than war.
According to FM 41-10, Civil Affairs Operations, civil-military operations are "complexes of activities in support of military operations embracing the interaction between the military force and civilian authorities fostering the development of favorable emotions, attitudes, and behavior in neutral, friendly, or hostile groups." The overall civil affairs objectives are to minimize the negative effects of military operations on civilians and to enhance the U.S. military's effectiveness. The Intelligence Battlefield Operating System, according to FM 34-8, Combat Commander's Handbook on Intelligence, "reduces uncertainty and risk to U.S. Forces and permits effective application of combat power." When integrated during Operation UPHOLD DEMOCRACY, these two combat multipliers created a safer and more secure environment for the engineer forces deployed in Haiti.

Essayons--"Let Us Try"

The 20th Engineer Brigade (Combat) (Airborne), XVIII Airborne Corps, formed the nucleus of Task Force (TF) Castle, a joint engineer organization that established the largest deployment of engineer forces outside the continental United States since Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM. TF Castle constructed base camps, improved the Haitian infrastructure, participated in humanitarian service projects, and assisted with the reestablishment of public services.
In order for TF Castle to accomplish its mission, the leadership realized that the TF needed to create a stable environment in which engineer units would have freedom of movement and access to critical engineer resources. After an arduous process of reconnaissance, surveillance, and negotiations with principal land owners and occupants of the village of Bon Repos, the TF settled into Base Camp Castle.
The process by which the TF selected this particular area north of Port-au-Prince for command and control of engineer forces was exceptional. Tactical civil affairs, combined with military intelligence (MI), ensured that the engineers would live and work in an environment conducive to protecting the force and accomplishing the mission.

What Is It Like There?

The Joint Task Force (JTF)-180 command emphasis required TF Castle leaders to know the mission and critical aspects of the battlefield environment. Initial analytical efforts focused on geographical, historical, and sociological aspects of Haiti. The S2, TF Castle, focused the four-step IPB process on factors that affect engineering efforts. These factors included the locations of engineer resources such as quarries, the effect of the rainy season on movement of heavy engineer equipment, and the possibility of Haitian mobs or civil unrest.
Prior to deployment, civil affairs specialists provided a thorough cultural briefing on Haiti to all members of TF Castle. This briefing included the most recent civil affairs area study of Haiti. Based past experience, the civil affairs specialists realized that a true understanding of the situation, one that would enable accurate analysis of potential sites, required them to interact with the population. Once on the ground, the TF Castle civil affairs team conducted an initial area assessment of proposed engineer locations and engineer projects. Civil affairs personnel along with 20th Engineer Brigade linguists canvassed the area to ensure the unit's transition to Base Camp Castle and the Bon Repos area was smooth and caused no friction between the U.S. Forces and the local community. They asked questions and informed the public of our intentions.
As a result of an aggressive command initiative to scour the area for a suitable base camp site and to gauge Haitian reaction to U.S. Army presence in the area, the TF commander made the decision to erect Base Camp Castle at Bon Repos. The commander considered several factors in selecting a site suitable for more than two engineer battalions' worth of equipment and personnel as well as the TF tactical operations center.
First, the discovery of a limestone quarry just north of Bon Repos along the critical main supply route of National Route 100 led to a contractual agreement enabling the engineers to conduct the largest military quarry operation in an active theater since the Korean War. The quarry, operated 24 hours a day, was the key to base camp construction and road upgrades. It provided necessary crushed rock to form base camp foundations, construct 11 kilometers of new roads, and repair 14 kilometers of severely deteriorated roads. Given the proximity of the quarry to the base camp site and the role that the quarry played in the engineers' lives, the location of Base Camp Castle was a natural choice for command and control.
Second, the site contained a well that could be used as a source for potable water. Selecting a site that included a natural water source solved a critical Class I supply problem that every unit in the theater faced.
Third, the site bordered Route 100. Route 100 provided engineer units with a high speed, paved line of communication for moving heavy dump trucks filled with quarry materials and other heavy engineer equipment such as bulldozers. The route led straight to the critical JTF-180 command and control nodes of the international airport and the light industrial complex, which housed the JTF-180 headquarters.
In addition to these factors, the TF Castle area was less congested than sites within Port-au-Prince. This reduced the risk of accidents between TF equipment and the Haitian population.

Force Protection and Local Security

Since the quarry, the well, and Route 100 met the engineer task force's geographic requirements, the only other element that needed factoring into the selection equation was site security. Through information collected by tactical civil affairs direct support personnel and unit linguists, the command determined that the population of Bon Repos would be receptive to the engineers' presence. This situation allowed the TF to deploy and work in a low risk environment. Mission success depended upon our ability to gain the trust and understanding of Bon Repos residents.
Civil affairs teams were invaluable sources of basic demographic information about the local area through their considerable interaction with the Haitians. Their efforts produced a detailed area assessment which contained critical information such as the location of medical facilities, the availability of food, the composition of the town leadership, and the political orientation of the townspeople. The TF Castle S2 incorporated this information into the IPB process to determine potential threats to engineer forces.
The case of the Bon Repos marketplace emphasizes the critical role that civil affairs assets played in the engineer task force's ability to secure their area of operations. Since the site of the existing town market would be directly outside the main gate of the proposed base camp, vendors expressed concerns to the civil affairs team about the impact of troops operating in the town. Through constant dialogue and negotiations with the merchants and the town's leaders, the TF commander decided to build a larger market down the road from the existing site. The engineers constructed a new access road from Route 100 to the new marketplace. The relocated market opened with a formal ceremony involving the TF Castle commander, local land owners, clergy, and police. In fact, the new market attracted approximately 150 more vendors than the original marketplace and increased the commerce of the town. By meeting the terms of the agreement to move the marketplace, the engineers established credibility with a population not accustomed to trusting uniformed personnel. This step proved crucial to ensuring the security of the engineer forces.
Once the engineers established Base Camp Castle, daily interaction between civil affairs personnel and Haitian residents helped the TF maintain a satisfactory security posture. The TF evaluated Haitian reaction to U.S. forces and engineer operations. The team also watched for any changes in the mood of the population. The marketplace served as a critical collection point for combat information. Constant coordination between the TF S2 and civil affairs leaders provided the S2 with information necessary to predict potential hazards to soldiers and projects. The S2 armed civil affairs teams with specific questions to ask locals to fill gaps in knowledge.
TF Castle not only collected information useful for force protection, but also made efforts to explain its mission to the Bon Repos residents to assure them that engineer units would do them no harm. This free exchange of information facilitated a positive and mutually beneficial relationship between engineers and residents. The Haitians felt extremely comfortable passing information concerning suspected weapons caches, potential troublemakers in the town, planned demonstrations and local gatherings, and the overall mood of the people. The aggressive interaction enabled the TF to proactively respond to negative feelings against its presence. The earned trust paid dividends as the TF regulated the population's perceptions of the U.S. intervention.

Need For Law and Order

Despite these efforts, engineers could not prevent the destruction of the local police outpost on the eve of President Jean Bertrand Aristide's return. The daily exchange of information between the U.S. military and the Haitians indicated that the local population did not have a problem with the police force. Based on detailed analysis, TF Castle considered that the police station might be in danger of destruction but determined that this was unlikely to occur. Its destruction created a new challenge for the TF as local nationals, viewing the Americans as the de facto law and order force in the area, gathered near the base camp and engineer work sites to lodge civil complaints and request protection. Through their presence in large numbers, the Haitians began to interfere with engineer work projects and jeopardize the accomplishment of the engineer endstate. The TF S2 and civil affairs leadership coordinated an effort to restore law and order by--
Local interaction proved successful in restoring a favorable environment for engineering work. Civil affairs personnel convinced the town leadership to hold a community meeting. Approximately 100 Bon Repos residents attended. A civil affairs team leader addressed the gathering to reiterate the engineers' mission in Bon Repos and stress to the Haitians that engineers are not law enforcement officials. Moreover, the team leader explained how to form a town council to solve problems and why the residents should cooperate with the Haitian police. A captain from the Bon Repos police station's higher headquarters also spoke to the assembly and addressed the citizen's concerns. The meeting proved extremely productive. The town agreed to elect a council and permit the orderly return of police who had fled the police station's destruction.
Civil affairs and MI efforts that resulted in the town meeting bolstered relations between the U.S. Forces and the Haitians. By understanding the community and its needs, the task force mediated misunderstandings and restored positive relations.

Engineer Adventure Ends

Through each step of the engineers' settlement of Base Camp Castle, from conception to site occupation to redeployment, MI and civil affairs elements stepped forward to work together to ensure that the our presence in Bon Repos would be in an environment conducive to protecting the force. This formed the bedrock for mission accomplishment, allowing the engineers to do more than anyone imagined in a 60-day span. The MI and civil affairs actions pursued by TF Castle not only contributed to the success of the engineers, but also greatly impacted the overall JTF-180 and Multinational Force mission of providing a safe and secure environment for the return of democracy to Haiti.
Captain Lynda Snyder is currently a tactical support team leader in Company D, 96th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Her previous assignments include civil affairs planner, Deputy Chief of Operations, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, and special project officer, G3, U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command. Captain Snyder earned a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Captain David P. Warshaw is currently the S2, 20th Engineer Brigade (Combat) (Airborne), XVIII Airborne Corps, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. His previous assignments include S2, 4th Battalion, 3d Air Defense Artillery Regiment, and platoon leader and company executive officer in the 103d MI Battalion, 3d Infantry Division. He earned a Bachelor of Science from the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York.