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  • Civil Affairs Officer

    Good morning!

    I am planning on joining the National Guard, going for Officer, and ultimately pursuing a Civil Affairs Officer position. I have tried doing some online research into getting becoming a Civil Affairs Officer, however whatís online is not very clear and I am hoping there is someone on this forum who is, or has been, a Civil Affairs Officer and can offer some advice (even better if you are a female, as I would seriously love a candid assessment of what I might face).

    Just to tell you a bit about myself, I want to join the National Guard in order to selflessly serve my country while selfishly seeking to reach my ultimate career goal of becoming an inter/intra socio-political religious crisis mitigation expert. I received my B.A. in 2011 (double majored in Philosophy and (world) Religion, with a concentration in Ethics, Morals, and Philosophy of Religion and Roots of Religious Radicalism, Fundamentalism, Fanaticism, and Extremism, respectively), am an international traveler, and hold an active TS clearance.

    Based on my online research, the Civil Affairs Officer position looks to be exactly what I am interested in and requires a skill-set that I have, am looking to better, or want to learn. I, however, do not want to simply assume I have the answers and so Iíve come here hoping there is someone who can offer a little perspective and realism, as well as help clarify a few questions I have:

    - From what I gather, I would go to Basic, then OCS, and then CA training; is this true?
    - How long is Basic? OCS? CA training?
    - Is there anything I need to accomplish before CA training, or can I go straight into it after OCS (assuming there is a need)?
    - If there are no CA openings after I complete OCS, what options are there that are similar to CA?
    - For those of you who have/had fear of heights, how did you push past if in Basic, OCS, and/or any other training?
    - I read that CA training involves Airborne training; is this true? What does it consist of?
    - Women who pushed themselves though Basic, OCS, and/or any other training, where there any challenges you faced unique to our gender? How did you overcome it? Any advice for females looking to join?
    - Men who had females in their units, what did you see/encounter with females that they generally struggled with or could have done differently to better themselves?

    Annnd, I think those are the main questions I have right off the bat. I would really appreciate any and all candid, non-sugar coated, advice or answers you could give; I really do want to be as best prepared as possible.

    Thanks in advance!

    Warmly,

    Sam

  • #2
    Re: Civil Affairs Officer

    I cannot coment on all of this, but as a female, I'll give my 2 cents.

    Basic training was 10-11 weeks, with about a week at reception. I will be attending AOCS at Ft McClellan and it will be 8 weeks; there are also traditional programs that are roughly 18 months (1 weekend a month for about 13 months and 2 - 2 week annual trainings.

    I was/am also intertersted in Civil Affairs but it is not an "accession branch" so you cannot branch into it first. You have to branch something else first and then can change to it. From what I read, most Cicil Affairs officers are Captain or above. My degree will be in Integrated Leadership Studies, specializing in Military Services Leadership with a minor in International Politics, but I am branching logistics first. Here in Michigan, there are also no Civil Affair positions in the Guard, so I will have to consider going reserves if I decide later on I still want C.A.

    I am normally not a big fan of heights, but you get over it. When you rapel down a 40 ft wall at BCT you will receive very good training in how to do it and it is not as far as it seems. Afterwards you'll wonder why you were ever worried. You just have to push past it because, at least at my BCT, the rapelling was a requirement to graduate.

    If you are in good shape, you will not have to "push" yourself through anything. It is challengin and some days after a long ruck march you'll be exhausted but they train you for it. Advice: get in shape NOW and you'll be just fine.

    Good Luck

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Civil Affairs Officer

      Civil Affairs is a non-accession branch. One may apply for CA as a senior first lieutenant at the earliest, after several years in another branch.

      The Guard has a few CA slots at brigade and division HQ, but no CA units.

      The USAR has a few CA units, scattered around the country. The nearest one to you may be hundreds of miles away.

      My non-sugar coated advice is to focus on a a conventional assignment, do your best, and then reconsider CA in a few years when you are eligible. Success in your conventional assignment certainly won't hurt you, even if you ultimately decide not to pursue CA.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Civil Affairs Officer

        Hello Chris,

        Thanks for the reply and the information!

        Go figure the branch I want to get into is non-accession -_- Oh well, just another challenge to overcome.

        I am hoping to get approved to do AOCS rather than traditional (question, I read online that there is Traditional (18 month), State aka AOCS (8 wk), and Federal (14 week) OCS; is this true? It's listed on the National Guard website, but my recruiter only mentioned Traditional and AOCS).

        Thanks again!

        Sam

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Civil Affairs Officer

          Hello LTC. Ritchie,

          Thank you for the reply and clarification!

          Go figure that the branch I want is non-accession. Any recommendations on what conventional assignments best prepare one for CA? (I am pretty darn determined to eventually get to CA and am willing to put in the time and work to get there.)

          Thank you again!

          Sam

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Civil Affairs Officer

            ... Who the heck is the information provider for the National Guard websites?! Thank heaven I'm asking questions here, 'cause the information on the National Guard website sure as heck is NOT clear nor right it seems! Yeesh! End mini rant.

            Thanks for that clarification!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Civil Affairs Officer

              Originally posted by Chris36
              Federal is for AD Army.
              Federal OCS is run by Active Duty. However, there are Reserve and National Guard candidates that go to Federal as well. The question really is, "Will your state cut you orders for Federal OCS?"

              Originally posted by SamanthaB View Post
              ... Who the heck is the information provider for the National Guard websites?! Thank heaven I'm asking questions here, 'cause the information on the National Guard website sure as heck is NOT clear nor right it seems! Yeesh! End mini rant.

              Thanks for that clarification!
              Misinformation on an Army website is a prelude to the Army's entire information technology infrastructure - most notably AKO.

              For example, someone/people, in his/their infinite wisdom, decided our armory needs a new copier machine. The best part about this is that in order to operate this copier, you must insert your CAC into a card reader on top of the copier. Wait! But not just ANY CAC! You need an RCAS account. Want to take a stab at how many people in our armory actually have an RCAS account? Just 3. NJ ARNG - taking a step backwards everyday. I suppose this isn't a bad way to create another AGR position with the responsibility of operating a copy machine.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Civil Affairs Officer

                Originally posted by SamanthaB View Post
                ... Who the heck is the information provider for the National Guard websites?! Thank heaven I'm asking questions here, 'cause the information on the National Guard website sure as heck is NOT clear nor right it seems! Yeesh! End mini rant.

                Thanks for that clarification!
                Can you be more specific on where you found this misinformation? A link would be the most helpful. If it's on the National Guard website, I may be able to get it updated.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Civil Affairs Officer

                  Originally posted by RyCass View Post
                  Can you be more specific on where you found this misinformation? A link would be the most helpful. If it's on the National Guard website, I may be able to get it updated.
                  It's not misinformation. The situation has been clarified. However, there is certainly a lack of information. Last I check (and I could be wrong), but the ARNG website did not actually make it clear that it is usually your RTI that makes the decision on what commissioning source you will attend (excluding ROTC). The website almost makes it seem (to the non-prior service candidate) that they have a "choice".

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Civil Affairs Officer

                    Originally posted by Polo08816 View Post
                    It's not misinformation. The situation has been clarified. However, there is certainly a lack of information. Last I check (and I could be wrong), but the ARNG website did not actually make it clear that it is usually your RTI that makes the decision on what commissioning source you will attend (excluding ROTC). The website almost makes it seem (to the non-prior service candidate) that they have a "choice".
                    OK! This is good to know. I'll pass it along.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Civil Affairs Officer

                      Originally posted by Polo08816 View Post
                      Federal OCS is run by Active Duty. However, there are Reserve and National Guard candidates that go to Federal as well. The question really is, "Will your state cut you orders for Federal OCS?"
                      +1 Also....

                      Federal WOCS (Fort Rucker) is run by Active Duty. However, there are Reserve and National Guard candidates that go to Federal as well. The question really is, "Will your state cut you orders for Federal WOCS?

                      Comment

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