Civil-military co-operation

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Portuguese Army soldiers in a CIMIC action in Pristina, Kosovo

Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) involves military commanders establishing connections with civilian agencies in operational theaters.

Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) activities are coordinated through the "G9" staff branch in divisional or other headquarters. In larger joint headquarters, this department is designated as "J9."


The United States Army since the Second World War has maintained civil affairs units. Part of their function includes CIMIC tasks, however, they have a much broader function and a different focus from most other CIMIC organizations. In the mid-1990s, primarily in response to lessons learned in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, most NATO members began developing their own CIMIC structures, which lead to the establishment of the Civil-Military Cooperation Centre of Excellence in The Hague in 2001. Germany maintains its own centre.



In areas of operation, civilians including private citizens, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and local administration often identify a CIMIC organization through designated "CIMIC Centres." These centers serve as points of contact for civilians seeking military assistance to address their concerns.

However, formal structures, organizations, and personnel are not the only means of conducting CIMIC functions: every soldier who interacts with civilians, whether deliberately or by chance, can either support or undermine the CIMIC mission. All deployed troops should receive a briefing on CIMIC functions and the procedures they should follow to assist the mission.

In post-conflict scenarios, military units such as engineers, medical teams, and, in some cases, veterinarians are often engaged in civilian interactions. They address challenges like restoring water supply, sanitation, health clinics, and veterinary services. Additionally, tasks like repairing bridges, roads, and electricity supply may be undertaken due to conflict-related damage.

CIMIC activities often involve language and cultural skills training. For soldiers, basic greetings and key phrases can serve as icebreakers, while CIMIC units might have individuals with more advanced language abilities. Locally employed civilians can help with interpretation, and training in cultural etiquette is essential to avoid unintended offensive behavior.


The key document explaining NATO CIMIC doctrine is Allied Joint Publication 9.[2] It outlines the three core functions of CIMIC, those being:[3]

  1. Support to the Force: any activity designed to create support for the military force, from within the indigenous population.
  2. Civil-Military Liaison: coordination and joint planning with civilian agencies, in support of the military mission.
  3. Support to the Civil Environment: the provision of any of a variety of forms of assistance (expertise, information, security, infrastructure, capacity-building, etc.) to the local population, in support of the military mission.

Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) involves soldiers trained in engaging with civilians during operations. It's both a capability and a function. Soldiers receive CIMIC training, but many also perform CIMIC tasks as part of routine operations. CIMIC Operators provide expertise and advice to commanders on CIMIC matters, enhancing civilian-military interactions.

CIMIC functions as a force multiplier. For instance, by establishing connections with non-governmental organizations or local officials, CIMIC personnel might identify specific mission threats. This enables them to alert the commander, who can allocate resources to address the threat. This approach reduces the need for extensive patrols and optimizes soldier deployment.

NATO CIMIC reporting[edit]

There is a vital need for translating relevant information into CIMIC knowledge.

A NATO working group is working to address this issue by developing a CIMIC reporting system that facilitates information sharing across different levels, from tactical to strategic.

In current operations, CIMIC staffs handle extensive information. CECIL working group developed tools to enhance assessments, streamline information flow within CIMIC, and share pertinent info with the staff.

Efforts are needed to enhance collaboration between NATO and civilian partners in operations, with a particular focus on addressing challenges related to information sharing.

The system has been tested and has also proven to be a useful tool to consolidate/collect data for the Afghan Country Stability Picture (ACSP).

The CECIL Working Group identified diverse CIMIC reporting formats, often due to the absence of standardized guidelines across different headquarters.

Reporting history[edit]

During the Partnership for Peace (PFP) Exercise VIKING '05, representatives from SHAPE and JFC Brunssum discovered the need for better CIMIC reporting. The ACOSs from ACO at SHAPE and NATO's operational headquarters (JFC Brunssum, JFC Naples and JC Lisbon) discussed the issue and established in May 2006 the CECIL Working Group (WG). The WG consists of CIMIC staff officers, one from SHAPE and three from the J(F)C HQs. In addition, subject matter experts can be called upon hen needed. The WG meets every second month. A Sub-WG for training and education was established and supports the introduction of the CECIL system.

Output of CECIL WG[edit]

The working group developed a set of tools for CIMIC reporting, including a situation report, tracking system, and standardized commander's update.

The CIMIC reporting system has been utilized by ISAF CJ9 and JFC Brunssum J9 on a weekly basis since February 2007. It is being progressively introduced to regional commands. This subject was addressed in the new CIMIC staff officer's course at NATO School in Oberammergau, Germany.


"This CECIL-tool is ideal for the CIMIC branches to manage their information which assists to stabilize the mission area. Information sharing through one database is essential for civilian and military partners."[This quote needs a citation] CECIL is designed to focus on the most important issues. The Afghan Country Stability Picture gives operators at all levels the relevant facts in an efficient and convenient package.

The output of the working group so far is quite promising. The working group will be mandated for another year to continue working on the new established CIMIC information-sharing platform.

Additional information[edit]


Civil-military cooperation (CIMIC) refers to the interaction between NATO-led forces and civil actors in alliance-led operations.

Civil Military Overview / Civil Military Fusion Centre[edit]

The Civil Military Overview (CMO) is an experimental portal supported by a dedicated information and knowledge management organization, the Civil Military Fusion Centre (CFC). Both are part of a development effort conducted by NATO Allied Command Transformation in consultation with various civil organizations. It is designed to improve interaction between civil and military actors. Through the CMO, NATO and its partners are exploring innovative ways to collect and disseminate all relevant civil and military information on Crisis Response Operations in order to begin creating a shared sense of situational awareness among the global community.


The CECIL Working Group was formed to improve CIMIC reporting. CECIL (Coordinated, Effect Based, CIMIC Information Link) aims to assist NATO CIMIC staff with contemporary challenges. The platform enables sharing of CIMIC knowledge to aid staff at all levels.


The Afghanistan Country Stability Picture (ACSP) project is an initiative led by NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to develop and maintain a comprehensive geographic database of reconstruction and development activities across Afghanistan. ACSP holds information about different Afghan national development strategy sectors such as education, good governance, health, agriculture and rural development, infrastructure and natural resources, private sector development, security, and social protection. The data held in the ACSP comes from several sources: the Government of Afghanistan (GOA), Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT), and international, governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGO). To provide efficient access to the ACSP data, NATO C3 agency developed a web map service. The ACSP web site can be used to consult and query the ACSP database over the internet. NATO, NGOs and the GOA can use it for optimization and monitoring of reconstruction efforts.


  • ACOS: Assistant Chief of Staff
  • ACSP: Afghan Country Stability Picture
  • CIMIC: Civil Military Cooperation
  • ISAF: International Security Assistance Force (Afghanistan)
  • J9: CIMIC division in a Joint HQ
  • JC: Joint Command
  • JFC: Joint Force Command
  • SHAPE: Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "CIMIC-COE". Civil-Military Cooperation Centre of Excellence. Retrieved 2023-03-19.
  2. ^ LtCol Robert R. Scott (USMC); Capt Jeffrey D. Maclay (USN); David Sokolow. "Nato And Allied Civil-Military Co-Operation Doctrine, Operations, & Organization Of Forces" (PDF). Center for Strategic and International Studies. Archived from the original (463 Kb) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2014-05-12.
  3. ^ "Allied Joint Doctrine for Civil-Military Cooperation AJP-3.4.9 Edition A, Version 1 (Ratification Draft) – Chapter 2:CIMIC in Mission Theatres and Operations" (236 Kb). NATO. 2013-02-08. pp. 2-3 to 2-5 (29–31). Retrieved 2014-05-12.

External links[edit]