Civil-Military Co-operation

By Tushar Malhotra, Aerospace & Defence Analyst, MarketsandMarkets

Civil-military co-operation, popularly known as CIMIC, are the activities carried out by the military personnel and civilian agencies, and focus on peace keeping & humanitarian operations. NATO has been promoting CIMIC as a capability and is being used by many nations across the globe. CIMIC forms a part of crisis management by the armed forces. Since the late 1990s’ peace keeping operations, CIMIC has become more active by the military due to changing circumstances in the civilian domain, making it a vital part of military operations and missions. Though the armed forces in different countries have different concepts and approaches for CIMIC, the ultimate aim is to combine the power of civilians and military might to provide counter-insurgency, humanitarian aid and peacekeeping operations.

A research conducted by Civil-Military Cooperation Centre for Excellence (CCOE) depicts the CIMIC activities of eleven countries and their approach based on orientation, focal areas, organisational structure and personnel deployment.

Overview of National Cimic Implementation. Source: CCOE, Defense Journals, White Papers, Articles and Newsletters.

Overview of National Cimic Implementation. Source: CCOE, Defense Journals, White Papers, Articles and Newsletters. Source: CCOE, Defense Journals, White Papers, Articles and Newsletters.


Orientation is the way individual nations conduct CIMIC activities. Large nations such as Germany, Great Britain, France and the U.S. deviate from NATO standards and requirements. Most of the nations in the European region follow the EU CIMIC concepts.

CIMIC functions contribute to the national objectives and interests of the nations. Most of the core functions of civil-military cooperation are developed by NATO but some large countries such as the U.S. and France have developed their independent functions.

These are the areas of expertise for civil-military cooperation activities based on certain factors for civil administration and humanitarian aid among others. Only three of the above countries mentioned adopt majority of focal areas as a part of their CIMIC capabilities. Moreover, Great Britain has a wide range of focal areas for stabilisation in a conflict situation. A distinct civilian expertise alters the focal areas for nations when it comes to their CIMIC capabilities.

Most of the nations have dedicated CIMIC units. A separate unit allows the nations to have training & education of personnel, committed personnel, and preparation & simulation of particular missions to avoid ad hoc operations. CIMIC operations act as support tools which have a standard structure and representation. In addition, Germany and the U.S. are the only two nations to have two organisational structures for CIMIC activities.

Overview of Deployment Of Cimic Capabilities Since 1999. Source: CCOE, Defense Journals, White Papers, Articles and Newsletters.

Overview of Deployment Of Cimic Capabilities Since 1999.
Source: CCOE, Defense Journals, White Papers, Articles and Newsletters.

CIMIC doctrines and concepts were developed in the late 1990s as it was considered a mature capability as against an ad hoc function. Most of the nations have full time duty personnel for CIMIC activities to improve the capabilities to counter conflict situations. Mission specific personnel work closely with the armed forces to provide CIMIC activities.

The above diagram depicts the various successful CIMIC activities carried out by some nations which include peacekeeping operations, combat & counter-insurgency operations, humanitarian aid efforts and security sector reform aids.

Some of the civil-military operations are helping the regions to stabilise and provide humanitarian aid to the civilians. Armed forces work closely with the civilians wherein the capabilities of both the parties can be utilised optimally.

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is a peace support operation in Africa. AMISOM is currently focusing on civil-military cooperation for strategic, tactical, and operational efficiency in peace keeping operations. Increased awareness of the civil-military operations is expected to bring about a change in the East African armed forces and also the countries involved in these operations. Securing internal & external safety of the nations along with protection to the military & police forces is one of the daunting tasks for the Somalis. AMISOM forces are thus required to be present in Somalia to stabilise the region from the Islamic insurgents’ territory military.

In Africa, several civil-military cooperation courses have been started in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Comoros, Sudan and Kenya to provide effective cooperation & coordination between the military and civilians for peace support operations. These courses have led to improved civil-military relations, joint effort operations and peace keeping operations to the nations in the continent.

Recently the Pakistan government has looked forward to civil-military cooperation to increase the efficiency of information based operations. Remote areas of Pakistan would be governed to reduce terrorist activities & invasions and provide surveillance systems to counter terrorism. Presence of law enforcement agencies in such regions would also reduce the possibility of terrorist activities.



Tushar Malhotra, Aerospace & Defence Analyst, MarketsandMarkets

Source: Counter-IED Report online, June 2015

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