civil service

Body of government officials employed in civil occupations that are neither political nor judicial. In well-ordered societies, they are usually recruited and promoted on the basis of a merit-and-seniority system, which may include examinations; elsewhere, corruption and patronage are more important factors. They often serve as neutral advisers to elected officials and political appointees. Though not responsible for making policy, they are charged with its execution. The civil service originated in the earliest known Middle Eastern societies; the modern European civil services date to 17th- and 18th-century Prussia and the electors of Brandenburg. In the U.S., senior officials change with each new administration. In Europe, regulations were established in the 19th century to minimize favouritism and to ensure a wide range of knowledge and skills among civil service officers. Seealso Chinese examination system; spoils system.

Learn more about civil service with a free trial on

Body of law developed from Roman law and used in continental Europe and most former colonies of European nations, including the province of Quebec and the U.S. state of Louisiana. The most significant codifications of modern civil law were the French (Napoleonic Code) and the German (German Civil Code). The basis of law in civil-law jurisdictions is statute, not custom; civil law is thus to be distinguished from common law. In civil law, judges apply principles embodied in statutes, or law codes, rather than turning to case precedent. French civil law forms the basis of the legal systems of The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, Spain, most of France's former possessions overseas, and many Latin American countries. German civil law prevails in Austria, Switzerland, the Scandinavian countries, and certain countries outside Europe, such as Japan, that have westernized their legal systems. The term is also used to distinguish the law that applies to private rights from the law that applies to criminal matters. Seealso criminal law; tort.

Learn more about civil law with a free trial on

Profession of designing and executing structural works that serve the general public, including bridges, canals, dams, harbors, lighthouses, roads, tunnels, and environmental works (e.g., water-supply systems). The modern field includes power plants, aircraft and airports, chemical-processing plants, and water-treatment facilities. Civil engineering today involves site investigations and feasibility studies, structural design and analysis, construction, and facilities maintenance. The design of engineering works requires the application of design theory from many fields (e.g., hydraulics, thermodynamics, nuclear physics). Research in structural analysis and the technology of materials such as steel and concrete has opened the way for new concepts and greater economy of materials. The engineer's analysis of a building problem determines the structural system to be used. Structural designs are rigorously analyzed by computers to determine if they will withstand loads and natural forces.

Learn more about civil engineering with a free trial on

or passive resistance

Refusal to obey government demands or commands and nonresistance to consequent arrest and punishment. It is used especially as a nonviolent and usually collective means of forcing government concessions and has been a major tactic of nationalist movements in Africa and India, of the U.S. civil rights movement, and of labour and antiwar movements in many countries. Civil disobedience is a symbolic or ritualistic violation of the law, rather than a rejection of the system as a whole. The civil disobedient, finding legitimate avenues of change blocked or nonexistent, sees himself as obligated by a higher, extralegal principle to break some specific law. By submitting to punishment, the civil disobedient hopes to set a moral example that will provoke the majority or the government into effecting meaningful political, social, or economic change. The philosophical roots of civil disobedience lie deep in Western thought. Cicero, Thomas Aquinas, and John Locke, among others, appealed to systems of natural law that take precedence over the laws created by communities or states (positive law). More modern advocates and practitioners of civil disobedience include Henry David Thoreau, Mohandas K. Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Learn more about civil disobedience with a free trial on

All nonmilitary actions taken to reduce loss of life and property resulting from enemy action. The threat of aerial attack on cities led to organized civil-defense planning in World War II. The British government provided its people with gas masks, and nearly all countries trained citizens in fire fighting, rescue, and first aid. Blackouts reduced the glow from city lights that could guide enemy pilots; sirens warned of bombing attacks, and citizens took cover in air-raid shelters, basements, and subways. The postwar threat of nuclear attack prompted civil authorities to mark buildings that offered the best shelter from fallout. By the 1970s the West had largely abandoned civil-defense preparations as it became clear that surviving a direct nuclear attack was unlikely.

Learn more about civil defense with a free trial on

Development and operation of aircraft. In 1783 the balloon became the first aircraft to carry humans. Production of a successful glider in 1891 and refinement of the internal-combustion engine led to the first successful engine-powered airplane flight by Wilbur and Orville Wright in 1903. World War I accelerated the expansion of aviation, and in the 1920s the first small airlines began carrying mail and passengers. World War II was another period of innovation in aircraft size, speed, and range. In the late 1940s the jet engine made possible the subsequent development of commercial airlines throughout the world. Seealso airship; helicopter; seaplane.

Learn more about aviation with a free trial on

French Code Civil

French civil code enacted by Napoleon in 1804. It clarified and made uniform the private law of France and followed Roman law in being divided into three books: the law of persons, things, and modes of acquiring ownership of things. In Louisiana, the only civil-law state in the U.S., the civil code of 1825 (revised in 1870 and still in force) is closely connected to the Napoleonic Code. Seealso law code.

Learn more about Napoleonic Code with a free trial on

Comprehensive U.S. law intended to end discrimination based on race, colour, religion, or national origin. It is generally considered the most important U.S. law on civil rights since Reconstruction (1865–77). It guarantees equal voting rights (Title I); prohibits segregation or discrimination in places of public accommodation (Title II); bans discrimination, including sex-based discrimination, by trade unions, schools, or employers that are involved in interstate commerce or that do business with the federal government (Title VII); calls for the desegregation of public schools (Title IV); and assures nondiscrimination in the distribution of funds under federally assisted programs (Title VI). A 1972 amendment, the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, extended Title VII coverage to employees of state and local governments and increased the authority of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which was created in 1964 to enforce Title VII provisions. The act was proposed by Pres. John F. Kennedy in 1963 and strengthened and passed into law under Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson. Seealso civil rights movement.

Learn more about Civil Rights Act of 1964 with a free trial on

Organization founded by Roger Baldwin and others in New York City in 1920 to champion constitutional liberties in the U.S. It works for three basic concepts: freedom of expression, conscience, and association; due process of law; and equal protection under the law. From its founding it has initiated test cases and intervened in cases already in the courts. It may provide legal counsel, or it may file an amicus curiae brief. The Scopes trial was one of its test cases; it provided counsel for the Sacco-Vanzetti case. In the 1950s and '60s it opposed the blacklisting of supposed left-wing subversives and worked to guarantee freedom of worship and the rights of the accused. Its work is performed by volunteers and full-time staff, including lawyers who provide free legal counsel. Seealso civil liberty.

Learn more about American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) with a free trial on

CIMIC (Civil-Military Co-operation) is the military function through which a commander links to civilian agencies active in a theatre of operations.


The United States Army has, since the Second World War, maintained Civil Affairs units. Part of their function includes CIMIC tasks, however, they have a much broader function and different focus than most CIMIC organizations. In the mid-1990s, primarily in response to lessons learned in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, NATO members began developing CIMIC doctrine.


The key document explaining NATO CIMIC doctrine is Allied Joint Publication 9. It outlines the three core functions of CIMIC, those being:

  1. Support to the Force. Any activity designed to create support for the military force from within the indigenous population.
  2. Civil-Military Liaison. Coordination and joint planning with civilian agencies in support of the mission.
  3. Support to the Civil Environment. The provision of any of a variety of forms of assistance (expertise, information, security, infrastructure, capacity-building, etc.) to the local population in support of the military mission.

CIMIC is both a function and a capability. As a result, there are soldiers in most NATO armies specifically trained and employed in CIMIC. At the same time, most soldiers on most operations conduct some CIMIC business in their day to day operations. CIMIC Operators do not have a monopoly on CIMIC activities. They are meant to provide commanders with expertise and advice on CIMIC matters.

CIMIC works as a Force multiplier. For example, by building relationships with officials from Non-governmental organizations or local government officials, CIMIC personnel might become aware of a specific threat to the mission. In so doing, they have the opportunity to alert the commander, who can then deploy resources to deal with the threat. Rather than having to post patrols on every street corner, the commander's access to information gathered by CIMIC teams has allowed him to employ a smaller number of soldiers, and to use the soldiers he does have available in other areas.

NATO CIMIC reporting

There is a vital need for translating relevant information into CIMIC knowledge.

A NATO working group is trying to solve this problem by establishing a CIMIC Reporting System that allows information sharing by the CIMIC staff from the tactical to the strategic level.

In current operations, the CIMIC staffs are overwhelmed by a huge information flow. To facilitate their work, a CECIL Working Group (see info box) has developed practical tools. The aim is to improve CIMIC assessments and develop a smoother information flow within the CIMIC “stove pipe” as well as a better horizontal distribution and sharing of pertinent info with the rest of the staff.

There is a need to improve collaboration between NATO and civilian partners in an operation. Today, the lack of a common database for information sharing is one of the main obstacles.

The system has been tested and has also proven to be a useful tool to consolidate/collect data for the Afghan Country Stability Picture (ACSP, see info box 3).

The CECIL Working Group discovered that there are a lot of different formats for CIMIC Reporting. There is a tendency at every HQ to create their own reports in the absence of detailed guidelines.


During the NATO Exercise VIKING '05, representatives from SHAPE and JFC Brunssum discovered the need for better CIMIC reporting. The ACOS’s from ACO at SHAPE and NATO's operational headquarters (JFC Brunssum, JFC Naples and JC Lisbon) discussed the issue and established in May 2006 the CECIL Working Group (WG). The WG consists of CIMIC staff officers, one from SHAPE and three from the J(F)C HQ’s. In addition, Subject Matter Experts can be called upon when needed. The WG meets every second month. A Sub-WG for Training and Education was established and supports the introduction of the CECIL system.

Output of CECIL WG

The WG developed a package with proposals, which consists of three “tools”: The CIMIC Situation Report itself, the CIMIC Tracking System and a standardised Commander's Update.

“These tools are exactly what we need. Our reports are shorter now, mores precise and stick to the essentials,"

ISAF CJ9 and JFC Brunssum J9 have used this CIMIC Situation Report on a weekly base since Feb 07; the Regional Commands will be introduced to the new reporting system soon. The topic was already briefed at NATO School in Oberammergau, Germany in the new CIMIC Staff Officers Course.


'This CECIL-tool is ideal for the CIMIC branches to manage their information which assists to stabilize the mission area. Information sharing through one database is essential for civilian and military partners'. CECIL is designed to focus on the most important issues. The Afghan Country Stability Picture gives operators at all levels the relevant facts in an efficient and convenient package.

The output of the Working Group so far is quite promising. The Working Group will be mandated for another year to continue working on the new established CIMIC information-sharing platform.

Additional Information

Civil-military cooperation (CIMIC) refers to the interaction between NATO-led forces and civil actors in Alliance-led operations.
The Working Group CECIL was established to streamline the CIMIC Reporting. CECIL (Coordinated, Effect Based, CIMIC Information Link) intends to assist any NATO CIMIC staff and focuses on the CIMIC challenges of the XXI century. The aim is to share CIMIC knowledge proactively in order to facilitate the job of CIMIC staff at all levels. For this purpose, the CECIL platform was created as a tool to disseminate CIMIC related information.
The Afghan Country Stability Picture (ACSP) is the most comprehensive database for situational awareness in Afghanistan. ISAF shares this information with the Afghan Government and International Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations. The ACSP is a very large data-base with, for example, all known projects regarding Reconstruction & Development etc.
ACOS: Assistant Chief of Staff
ACSP: Afghan Country Stability Picture
CIMIC: Civil Military Cooperation
ISAF: International Security Assistance Force (Afghanistan)
J9: CIMIC division in a Joint HQ
JC: Joint Command
JFC: Joint Force Command
SHAPE: Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe

See also

External links

Search another word or see civilon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature