When mentioning Special Operations missions, the talk generally centers around those direct action missions, the raids on suspected terrorists’ locations, and the like. Everyone likes those linear, tangible missions and the results are much easier to gauge the success or failure from. But in the Unconventional Warfare or Counterinsurgency environment, the results are harder to pinpoint and the missions are of a much longer duration. Here is where civic action projects are a tremendous boost to mission accomplishment.

Special Operations Forces (SOF) are at their best when the build long-term relationships with partner nations. They integrate and enable not only with conventional forces but interagency as well (State Department, Agency for International Development, AID) and others. Many times this type of long-term planning will prevent wars before they start.

Civic action projects are part of those long-term operations, in Afghanistan, it plays a role in Village Stability Operations, where the poverty level of Afghan civilians hovers around 80 percent.

Back in Vietnam, the role of civic action projects was key for Special Forces troops that set up Civilian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG) camps along the border regions of South Vietnam.