The 82nd Civil Affairs Battalion, a brand new 265-man unit, will be activated at Fort Stewart in late September as part of the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, a U.S. Forces Command-supported unit based at Fort Hood, Texas.
“The 82nd Civil Affairs Battalion is one of the battalions that the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade is standing up between now and September next year,” said Maj. Bryan D. Woods, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade public affairs officer. “The 85th Civil Affairs Brigade was activated along with the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion on Sept. 16, 2011 ... at Fort Hood, Texas.”
Woods said the new unit will be “regionally oriented” to support civil affairs operations in the U.S. Africa Command Theater with four-man civil affairs teams that have experts in the language and culture of the region.
According to brigade’s public affairs office, the battalion will consist of a headquarters company and six civil-affairs line companies, which consists of five four-man civil-affairs teams. There also will be a civil-military operations center and civil-affairs planning team.
Civil-affairs units refer to themselves as “Warrior Diplomats” who support FORSCOM units in a number of ways, including enhancing the relationship between U.S. military and civil authorities in localities where American forces are deployed. They also support humanitarian missions like disaster relief, Woods
“The (new) battalion will provide the geographic combat commander a professional force of warrior diplomats,” Woods said. “They are highly trained in specific aspects of the continent of Africa, its language, cross-cultural awareness and civil-affairs doctrine.”
Civil-affairs battalions support active-duty conventional forces around the globe. Until last year, the only active component civil-affairs brigade was the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade at Fort Bragg, N.C. There are nine Reserve component civil-affairs brigades.
A total Army analysis study completed in 2009 determined the need for an additional active-component civil-affairs brigade. Two more civil-affairs battalions are scheduled to be activated in the next two years.