Civil-military cooperation

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Polish soldiers in Iraq during civil-military cooperation (2006)

The term civil-military cooperation (ZMZ; English civil-military co-operation , CIMIC) describes the cooperation of governmental or non-governmental civil organizations with those of the military defense in the field of national defense , in security or during foreign missions of the military . This includes all plans, agreements, measures, forces and means that support, facilitate or promote the relations between military institutions and civil organizations and authorities as well as the civilian population. This also applies to the involvement of the commercial sector, insofar as its tasks affect issues of critical infrastructures.

In Germany, this includes, for example, preventive and supply measures for the civilian population and the armed forces in the event of tension or defense, the participation of the armed forces in disaster control , in particular by supporting civil aid organizations in major disasters and dangerous situations , as well as cooperation between the armed forces and civil authorities in the Areas of health care , environmental protection , spatial planning , infrastructure and ordnance disposal . In the context of international military operations, civil-military cooperation includes, in particular, cooperation between the military and civilian forces and the implementation of civil projects by foreign troops in the reconstruction of infrastructure, for example within the framework of the Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Afghanistan. Within NATO , skills are collected and taught at the Civil-Military Cooperation Center of Excellence (CCOE).

Civil-military cooperation in Germany

Important legal bases for civil-military cooperation in Germany are Article 35 (administrative assistance ) of the Basic Law and the Civil Protection Act .

The civil-military cooperation of the Bundeswehr (ZMZ Bw) is an independent task area within the Bundeswehr, which has its focus at the Multinational Civil-Military Cooperation Command in Nienburg / Weser . ZMZ Bw comprises all measures, forces and resources that regulate, support or promote the relationships between the Bundeswehr agencies on the one hand and civil authorities and the civilian population on the other. This applies both within Germany ( ZMZ-I ) and when the Bundeswehr is deployed abroad ( ZMZ-A ). ZMZ Bw expressly includes cooperation with aid organizations and other non-governmental organizations as well as international organizations.


For civil-military cooperation, the Bundeswehr has a state command (LKdo) in every federal state except Berlin as a contact for the state government . In government districts or rural districts and urban districts, there are also district liaison commands (BVK) and district liaison commands (KVK), each of which is manned by twelve specially trained and resident reservists . The liaison commands are led by officers of the Bundeswehr for civil-military cooperation ( BeaBwZMZ ).

The tasks of the BeaBwZMZ consist primarily of advising the civilian decision-makers on the procedure of the request, on possibilities, but also on the limits of the support of the Bundeswehr in official and disaster relief. The BeaBwZMZ with their BVK / KVK represent a very important element in the new territorial network of the Bundeswehr, as they play a crucial role in cooperation with the responsible administrative districts and districts or urban districts in joint disaster response.

16 Bundeswehr locations are known as ZMZ bases or special bases. Of these, five are equipped with pioneer equipment, nine with medical equipment and two with equipment for NBC defense :


The alignment of the Bundeswehr with foreign missions in the context of international crisis management required an adaptation of the concepts for cooperation between civil and military actors, which during the East-West confrontation essentially aimed at national cooperation between the responsible departments in the context of planning the overall defense . This cooperation in foreign missions is an indispensable contribution to an overarching, level-appropriate and goal-oriented cooperation with other departments as well as governmental and non-governmental organizations in an operational area outside Germany.

With the CIMIC center in Nienburg, the Bundeswehr has set up its own competence center that provides and trains forces for civil-military cooperation on missions abroad (ZMZ / A). The soldiers of the CIMIC center are among the forces in the operations who have to establish and maintain a particularly close connection with the local population. Here the important information is exchanged, e.g. B. to clarify and make visible the military deployment as a contribution to the creation of security and stabilization of the social structures. This results in the following lines of action for ZMZ / A forces:

  1. to enable the establishment and maintenance of the civil-military network of relationships (enablers) and to carry out operational coordination,
  2. to make a military contribution to reconstruction (facilitator),
  3. To make a contribution to the impact monitoring and to the evaluation of the progress on the way to the achievement of the goals, based on the presence of the ZMZ forces in the area and their connections primarily to the civilian population
  4. and as an element of the reconstruction, to support with measures in concert with representatives of other ministries such as the Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development , or to participate in the planning and monitoring of measures.

Understanding the necessary coherence between military and civilian procedures for today's complex stabilization missions, ZMZ forces create the essential prerequisites for comprehensive, impact-oriented deployment planning of the military through their knowledge and assessment of the civilian situation and, wherever possible, coordinate this planning with civilian organizations . The civil situation report contains, depending on the order and area of ​​operation, u. a. Current data on the social and economic situation of the population, the ethnic situation as well as cultural and religious characteristics. The military measures called Quick Impact Projects are repeatedly criticized. In the past, these were mainly smaller, quickly effective infrastructure measures with high visibility, which responded to a specific local demand. For the Bundeswehr z. For example, with a view to the current mission in Afghanistan, that own forces and resources are only used for support measures if there is a direct spatial and temporal reference to the operation. This complex field of so-called “project work” is clearly defined for the ZMZ forces in Afghanistan.

  • Measures (e.g. Jirgas / Shuren) that promote the functionality and authority of a local administration and legitimate local leaders (so-called key leaders) can be supported and accompanied.
  • ZMZ workers advise and support the population or their representatives in the use of third-party funds for measures to build infrastructure and secure income and livelihoods.
  • In special situations it may also be possible for funds to be made available to finance micro-projects to secure livelihoods until measures by third parties take effect.

Reconstruction measures are only carried out with free forces to support the population and civil organizations if they are expressly mandated as part of the mandate of the armed forces because other organizations / forces are not available or cannot guarantee the necessary self-protection (subsidiary project implementation for third parties in an unsafe environment). The main features of the principles of so-called “local ownership”, “do no harm” and the sustainability of measures flow into the decision-making of the military leader. In addition, the obligation to provide urgent immediate or emergency aid for the local population always applies, especially if the relevant circumstances are a direct result of military action. Measures that are initiated in order to improve the situation of the population require close coordination with the host nation and the locally operating civil organizations. Basically, the establishment of sufficient security conditions by the military or other security forces, reconstruction and measures to promote “good governance” must result in visible improvements in living conditions in order to convey the long-term benefit and assertiveness of international efforts to the population. In this combination, the meaning of a so-called Hearts & Minds strategy is fulfilled. In this way, the military wins the respect of the population - while demonstrating its strength at the same time - and can convey that the military operation serves their interests in the long term. "Hearts & Minds" is therefore not a CIMIC strategy according to which, for example, aid goods financed with donations are distributed to the needy or short-term projects to improve living conditions are initiated in order to increase the acceptance of the service among the population. The ZMZBw task area thus makes a contribution to support in all phases of a military operation, from liaison work to civilian actors to the creation of a civilian picture of the situation.


Various aid organizations have expressed criticism of the concept of civil-military cooperation in missions abroad. For example, the civil-military component belittles war and increases the risk for purely civilian forces, as they are often difficult to distinguish from military actors, especially for the local population. In addition, the cooperation between civil and military actors calls into question the neutrality of civil aid workers, whose task is often to mediate between the conflicting parties, for which a neutral stance is indispensable. There is also the risk that civil actors will not be taken seriously in their demand for nonviolence if they (have to) rely on the protection of the military themselves. Also, where civil non-state actors see conflicts between their humanitarian or development policy goals and the mandate of the military, a distance from the military must be kept out of consideration for their donors. In doing so, they also consider the question of whether military intervention makes sense in a specific case, taking into account all political and ethical aspects.

Cooperation with the THW

On December 8, 2008, the then President of the Technical Relief Organization (THW), Albrecht Broemme, and the then General Inspector of the Bundeswehr , General Wolfgang Schneiderhan , signed a "cooperation protocol between the Federal Ministry of the Interior, represented by the Federal Agency for Technical Relief, and the Federal Ministry of Defense on cooperation in providing aid at home and abroad ”. Thereafter, the THW can also use Bundeswehr properties within the framework of civil-military cooperation and provide mutual training support. For foreign missions of the THW, agreements have been made on the flight of THW helpers in transport aircraft of the Bundeswehr, the medical care of THW helpers in emergency medical facilities of the Bundeswehr and various measures of logistical support, for example the involvement of the THW helpers in the field post and cash supply.


  • Walter Feichtinger , Markus Gauster (ed.): Civil-military cooperation using the example of Afghanistan (= series of publications by the National Defense Academy. 3/2008). National Defense Academy , Vienna 2008, ISBN 3-902456-88-4 .
  • Tahmina Hadjer: The Bundeswehr in Afghanistan. Civil-military cooperation (= Young Political Science Forum . Volume 24). Bouvier, Bonn 2010, ISBN 978-3-416-03307-7 .
  • Eugenio Cusumano, et al .: A Civil-Military Response to Hybrid Threats. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham 2018, ISBN 978-3-319-60797-9 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Peter Runge: Helpers in Uniform? Military operations in humanitarian aid. In: Science and Peace. Issue 4.2006
  2. Jürgen Lieser: Helper as a handyman? Humanitarian aid in times of new wars. ( Memento of September 25, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) (Caritas international, accessed on December 18, 2008)
  3. ^ VENRO position papers: Perspectives for Peace, Reconstruction and Development in Afghanistan. October 2007 (PDF; 100 kB) and Five Years of German PRTs in Afghanistan: An Interim Review from the Perspective of German Aid Organizations. January 2009 (PDF; 396 kB)
  4. Ute Finckh-Krämer, Ulrich Finckh: civil-military cooperation. About the danger of playing down the military and war. Published by the Federation for Social Defense, Minden 2006, p. 8
  5. Bundeswehr and Technical Relief Organization conclude cooperation agreement. Retrieved October 15, 2012 .