Civil Affairs Specialist (MOS 38B)
Army

Army Civil Affairs Specialist (MOS 38B): Career Details

Army Civil Affairs Specialist (MOS 38B) are responsible for being a non-lethal liaison for local citizens in combat or crisis situations.

Individuals in this MOS are required to be ready to deploy at any time, to any location.

These specialized soldiers play a variety of roles from natural disaster support to civil affairs documentation expert.

Qualifications and Training

To enter into this MOS, recruits must score at least 107 on the General Technical (GT) portion of the ASVAB test.

After passing all physical/medical testing and the ASVAB test, recruits will attend 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training (BCT).

After Basic Combat Training, recruits will attend 13 weeks of Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at United States Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, NC.

Soldiers who are airborne-qualified active duty non-commissioned officers have an opportunity to reclassify as a civil affairs sergeant.

To do this, they must complete 20 weeks of intense training programming involving language, negotiations and regional training.

Skills that are helpful in this MOS:

  • Clear and concise writing
  • Interest/ability to learn both foreign language and culture
  • Easily organize and analyze information
  • Interest in working with foreign military or agencies

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What are the Job Duties of a Civil Affairs Specialist?

Army Civil Affairs Specialist
Student completing an exercise during the rigorous Civil Affairs Qualification Course. Image: army.mil

Civil Affairs Specialist plan and produce civil affairs related documents.

Their responsibilities include researching, coordinating and creating documentation.

These soldiers are required to be culture experts and be comfortable in any situation that may be in peace or hostile situations.

Soldiers in this MOS will learn and use critical thinking, civil analysis, negotiation and mediation techniques to prevent or resolve an issue.

Civil Affairs Specialist are considered non-lethal strategist because the work that they perform allows for a non-lethal solution to an issue.

The Civil Affairs Specialist play an important role regardless if their work is in the middle of a hostile environment or during a time of peace.

The specialist assist in planning U.S. government inter-agency procedures for both national or regional emergencies.

They support national disaster and emergency assistance and any response activities.

They are used when there are natural emergencies because this is often when countries and their citizens are vulnerable.

Soldiers in this MOS will be responsible for the coordination of military resources to help with reconstitution or reconstruction.

Specialist assist with civil-military planning and support.

They are required to create and maintain dialogue with civilian aid agencies, civilian relief and assistance organizations.

Working in remote areas with civilian populations is an important task in this MOS.

Soldiers are required to be personable and know how to properly engage with the culture of a community.

They must identify, mitigate and defeat any threats that are against civil society.

This role requires specialist to be able to speak with both civilians and any higher entities they may interact with.

Working in this position requires individuals to work with a team just as well as they work individually.

Often times soldiers in this MOS are deployed to a region as a preventative measure to weaken opposition forces.

They perform humanitarian assistance, civil information management and support civil administration.

In deployed situations they will help foreign government agencies with identifying and implementing what is beneficial to their citizens.

Because of their cultural and communication expertise, there may be situations where the Civil Affairs Specialist works beside U.S. Ambassadors to prevent or resolve instability.

The overall goal of this position is to prevent conflict so a physical fight does not have to begin.

More information on the job duties of a Civil Affairs Specialist can be found in the video below.

What does a Civil Affairs Specialist get Paid?

Individuals in this MOS will be paid based on rank and time of service.

Any time individuals are in a deployed situation, which could happen frequently with this MOS, the soldier will be offered special pay.

Recruits in the enlisted non-officer position can expect to start around $20,000 a year, with the amount fluctuating during training.

The pay table below can be followed to get an idea on base pay.

InsigniaPay GradeRankAbbreviationMinimum Monthly Pay
E-1PrivatePVT$1,733
E-2Private Second ClassPV2$1,943
army e 3 insignia - pfcE-3Private First ClassPFC$2,043
army e 4 insignia - specialistE-4SpecialistSPC$2,263
army e 4 insignia - corporalE-4CorporalCPL$2,263
E-5SergeantSGT$2,468
E-6Staff SergeantSSG$2,694
E-7Sergeant First ClassSFC$3,114
army master sergeant iconE-8Master SergeantMSG$4,480
E-8First Sergeant1SG$4,480
E-9Sergeant MajorSGM$5,473
E-9Command Sergeant MajorCSM$5,473
e 9 sergeant major of the army insigniaE-9Sergeant Major of the ArmySMA$5,473

Benefits

The base pay mentioned above may not seem appealing initially, but the base pay does not include all of the benefits that the Army offers.

They also offer special recruiting bonuses, deployment pay and other pay scenarios.

One of the largest benefits that the Army offers while living on base is free housing and food.

Other Army benefits include:

  • Free/Low-cost medical and dental
  • Annual Clothing allowance
  • Low-Cost life insurance
  • Paid sick time
  • Paid vacation (30 days annually)

The Army also offers tuition assistance and book allowances, that allows most soldiers to pay very little out of pocket for school.

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Job Reviews

When reading reviews of this position, soldiers rate the position very satisfactory.

They discuss being able to work with other cultures and mention that if working in a diverse environment is something you are interested in, to consider the position.

Positive reviews discuss travel and the ability to interact/help with different populations.

Negative reviews discuss the amount of time away from family and the need to constantly be available.

The review below is from someone who worked in Humanitarian Assistance.

Army MOS 38B
Image: Indeed

The review below discusses how great the experience is and how difficult it can be to enter into the advanced non-commissioned Civil Affairs position.

MOS 38B
Image: Indeed

Based on reviews, as long as you go into the position with the understanding that you could be deployed at any time and for long periods of time, this position can be satisfying.

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Civilian Career Opportunities

Working in this MOS provides humanitarian and social work skills.

Using these skills, soldiers can find civilian work in social services, educational services or in positions as caseworkers and civilian liaisons.

Individuals can also find work in emergency management and business continuity.

During the recruiting process, soldiers can sign up for the PAYS program that will guarantee a job interview with a military friendly employer once out of the Army.

Summary

Civil Affairs Specialist
Civil Affairs Specialist speaking with U.S Embassy project coordinator. Image: army.mil

Army Civil Affairs Specialist (MOS 38B) help coordinate civilian aid, natural disaster assistance and create civil affairs documentation.

These specialist are the representation for the civilian population in foreign areas.

This position requires a score of at least 107 on the General Technical portion of the ASVAB test as well as completing BCT and AIT.

Soldiers in this MOS can expect to receive Army base pay in addition to benefits.

Reviews of this position are positive and note the diverse experience provided.

Working in this MOS will allow for civilian work in social work or education.

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References

Army MOS 38B Career Details

Army COOL MOS 38B

Elie P.
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