What Is a Civilian?

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A civilian is someone who is not a member of the military. Civilians may live in a country that is at war or have friends or family members who are soldiers. Civilians may also work in the government or private sector and be involved with peacekeeping missions or humanitarian aid after a natural disaster. They may also have careers in law or medicine. The word comes from the Latin civium, meaning “city,” and dates back hundreds of years to the code of law that governed nonmilitary life.

For the purposes of international law, a civilian is not a combatant and must be protected from attack. However, this principle is often difficult to apply in practice, as states are reluctant to recognize the existence of non-state armed groups and grant them legal status. This has led to ambiguity and inconsistencies in the legal treatment of civilians in armed conflict.

The definition of civilian includes a wider range of people than the military, but this is not necessarily a good thing. Some armed forces prefer to employ a large number of civilians because it is cheaper, and the fact that they are not fighting may make them more efficient and effective. However, some people argue that a large number of civilians can distract the troops from their primary mission, which is to fight for the safety and security of their country.

In addition, civilians can help the military with the logistical and administrative work that is necessary for deployments. This is because they can do jobs that require more skill than the enlisted personnel can, such as typing and data entry. They can also serve as translators or medical assistants, which can free up enlisted personnel for other duties.

Many armed services recruit civilians for logistical and administrative positions because they can do jobs that are not combat related. The skills learned in these occupations can be useful in the military and help prepare people for other civilian careers, such as management or healthcare. Civilians are also important to peacekeeping operations because they can provide assistance and support to local populations while reducing the risk of violence and unrest.

When transitioning from the military to a civilian job, it is important to remember that the salary you are offered in an interview may not be what you will actually receive after taxes and benefits are deducted. This can be a surprise for some service members, especially since in the military they were probably receiving allowances and special pay that added to their base salaries.

Another important change when transitioning to a civilian job is adjusting to the expectations of those who stayed behind at home. For example, re-establishing relationships with friends and family who were not in the military can be challenging and requires new communication habits. It can also be hard to adjust to a schedule that is no longer based on the needs of the mission. Adapting to these changes and learning from others who have made the transition can make civilian life easier and more comfortable.