By Buddy Blouin

Passing the Civil Affairs Assessment and Selection is tough because of the mission at hand. Civil Affairs (CA) Soldiers work in tough and sensitive places, using special tactics, and operating in four-person teams, and do so with an elite understanding of civil populations and governance to influence behavior and counter threats.

Together, these teams help find, disrupt, and defeat threats in civil environments. CA Soldiers are skilled in tactical operations and can also talk to diplomats effectively.

Civil Affairs started in August 1945 with the 95th Military Government Group helping Japan after World War II.

Since that time, the unit has been activated and inactivated during different conflicts, playing key roles in the Korean War and various smaller conflicts.

Today, the 96th Civil Affairs Battalion is home to CA Soldiers, and like many things, it grew and became a brigade in 2007 due to increased operations due to additional need and operational use in a post-9/11 world.

The Civil Affairs Assessment and Selection course began in 2010 under the 95th Brigade and moved to the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School in 2011.

Since then, the U.S. Army Civil Affairs Assessment and Selection has improved over the years to better prepare Soldiers for evolving needs within civil environments.

To join, Soldiers must pass the Civil Affairs Assessment and Selection course at Ft. Liberty. This course is challenging, and Soldiers sign a non-disclosure agreement to attend, keeping some details secret.

The course is shorter than other Special Operations training but don’t be fooled as it’s notorious for being very demanding, testing much more than just athletic ability.

What Do Civil Affairs Soldiers Do?

The main goal of CA Soldiers is to find threats before they happen and prevent them from ever being fully realized. This is done while also providing the United States with a better partnership with various militaries and governments.

What makes CA Soldiers so important is their ability to provide diplomatic solutions, deploy persuasive tactics, and provide military backup in the midst of civil environments.

At the end of the day, the Civil Affairs Assessment and Selection course helps identify personnel who can sharpen and hone the skills for the field necessary to advance American interests.

Negotiations take a lot of moving parts and CA Soldiers help ensure America has a strong position and can come to the table with confidence to get deals done.

Why Soldiers Join

If you’re looking to fast-track up the ranks and learn unique, specialized advanced training, becoming a CA Soldier is a great, stable career path.

The Civil Affairs Assessment and Selection is far from easy but it’s a lifetime of rewards for those who pass and commit to the role as a career.


There are many different requirements beyond passing the Civil Affairs Assessment and Selection to become a CA Soldier. Here’s how it breaks down:


In general, anyone looking to participate in the Civil Affairs Assessment and Selection will need to have the following:

  • Be able to pass a Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA), along with height/weight standards.
  • You’ll need to have a PULHES 111221 or higher.
  • Be able to pass and have a valid SERE-C physical exam.
  • Have an Enlisted Record Brief or Officer Record Brief.
  • Finally, you either need to be qualified for Airborne or willing to volunteer for its training and perform such operations.


The enlisted qualifications require the following criteria:

  • A PULHES 111221 or higher.
  • You must have an Enlisted Record Brief.
  • For 38W, you’ll need minimum scores of 110 in aptitude area GT and 101 in aptitude area ST (ASVAB).
  • To qualify for 38R, you’ll need minimum scores of 107 in aptitude area GT and 100 in aptitude area CO (ASVAB).
  • You must have the rank of Specialist or Sergeant.
  • In order to qualify for SPC/E-4, you’ll need to graduate from the Basic Leadership Course, have at least 12 months of Time In Service (TIS), and no more than six years of TIS.
  • Anyone operating as an SGT will need at least two years of TIS and no more than eight years TIS.
  • You’ll also need to be an American or naturalized citizen with a high school diploma or GED capable of passing the ARSOF physical fitness assessment, and eligible for interim SECRET security clearance.
  • Furthermore, you can’t be barred from reenlisting as IAW AR 601-280, or under suspension of favorable personnel action IAW AR 600-8-2.

CA Soldiers under these ranks also must not have a history of the following:

  • Domestic violence, as defined by AR 600-20, Army Command Policy, Paragraph 4-22 (military or civilian)
  • Use of a controlled substance without a valid prescription following enlistment.
  • A military or civilian charge for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or reckless driving.
  • A conviction requiring registration of being a sexual offender under AR 27-10, chapter 24, or a conviction requiring registration in a civilian court.


You must have at least 24 months of active federal commissioned service before your application’s approval date, a DLAB score of 65 or higher, Top Security clearance under AR 380-67, and either a First Lieutenant or Captain.

How Long Is the Civil Affairs Assessment and Selection?

The Civil Affairs Assessment and Selection lasts 10 grueling days that go on to test the grit of Soldiers from both a physical and mental standpoint unlike any other test available.

Keep in mind that Soldiers who pass the course aren't finished. The selection process provides eligibility for the actual course.

There are four parts of the Civil Affairs Qualification Course: MOS training, SOF skills training, a final exercise, and language training.

To get ready for selection, soldiers use CrossFit, ultramarathon training, and other physical workouts. This training is very hard and requires mental strength too.

Recruits need to be physically fit and mentally tough as they will face tasks that test leadership and teamwork.

Soldiers must handle cultural situations and use their communication skills in new ways to succeed.

You're also going to want to train rain or shine. Don't expect bad weather to buy you extra time and expect to ruck regardless of how it looks and feels outside.

If you can't ruck march, do ruck squats, run stairs, or lift weights instead, but be prepared to face serious physical challenges, even if the weather is unsavory.

Passing the Civil Affairs Assessment and Selection is the beginning of a rewarding career in the American Armed Forces that provides a unique approach to serving your country.

Suggested reads:


Civil Affairs, U.S. Army Special Operations Recruiting. Assessed May 2024. https://www.goarmysof.army.mil/CA/

PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS PHYSICAL FITNESS PREPARATION GUIDE, Army. Accessed May 2024. https://www.goarmysof.army.mil/Portals/100/Documents/Psychological%20Operations%20Physical%20Fitness%20Preparation%20Guide.pdf?ver=q-5Z7panZh7MSxzcPVkD2w%3d%3d




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