We are privately owned and not affiliated or endorsed by any government agency.

Take the Benefits Quiz

Contractors authorized to accompany the force (CAAF)

Definition Contractors Authorized to Accompany the Force (CAAF) refers to personnel from private entities who provide direct support to operational activities of a military force during deployments. They are integrated into the force and receive similar support such as food, housing, and security. However, they are not direct members of the armed services and are […]


Contractors Authorized to Accompany the Force (CAAF) refers to personnel from private entities who provide direct support to operational activities of a military force during deployments. They are integrated into the force and receive similar support such as food, housing, and security. However, they are not direct members of the armed services and are subject to separate regulations and guidelines.

Key Takeaways

  1. ‘Contractors Authorized to Accompany the Force’ (CAAF) refer to the contractors and/or employees who are authorized to travel to, from, and within an operational area under the same standards of the deploying force.
  2. CAAF are important in military operations as they provide support in specialized areas such as logistics, maintenance, training and other vital functions, which aids in the overall effectiveness of the military force.
  3. While they operate within the military environment, CAAF are not members of the armed forces. They are civilian non-combatants, although they must comply with military rules and regulations and can be subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice in some cases.


The military operations term “Contractors Authorized to Accompany the Force” (CAAF) is important because it allows for a clear distinction and recognition of contracted personnel who are permitted to work alongside military forces in operational areas.

These contractors come with a variety of skills and expertise – from logistics to technical support – that are essential for the smooth running and success of military missions.

The stipulation of CAAF ensures that these contractors are given the necessary protections and entitlements, such as legal jurisdiction and status of forces agreements (SOFAs), in case they are involved in any potential conflict incident.

This category serves to maintain operational effectiveness while minimizing potential legal and jurisdictional issues.


The purpose of Contractors Authorized to Accompany the Force (CAAF) in military operations is to facilitate specific duties or tasks that service members may not have the specialized training for, or to supplement the force when service members are unavailable or in short supply. These duties could range anywhere from logistic support, equipment maintenance, transportation, and security to health-related services, theater construction, and more. CAAF include not only those directly contracted by the Department of Defense (DoD) but also subcontractors who are providing support in the operational area.

These professionals play a key role in the success of military operations given their specific skills, reducing the demand on the military force and making operations more efficient and effective. The use of CAAF in military operations enables the military force to concentrate on their core mission and area of expertise – warfare. Further, CAAF tend to bring in various other attributes related to their civilian experiences, which may not be available within the military workforce.

This can offer innovative solutions, techniques, and approaches in a range of areas. Nevertheless, the use of CAAF in a theater of operations also demands a certain level of management and oversight, where the military needs to ensure their operations align with the objectives of the mission and the rules of engagement. This is important given the fact that they operate in various complex and dynamic environments, and their actions can have significant implications for the execution of the military operation.

Examples of Contractors authorized to accompany the force (CAAF)

Iraq War: During the Iraq War and its aftermath, private military contractors became an essential part of the US mission. The US Department of Defense used these contractors for various activities such as providing security services, logistical support, or technical expertise. They were authorized to accompany the force (CAAF), which means they were entering the country or region under the direct authority of the US military, and were typically given protections under US and coalition rules of engagement.

United Nations Peacekeeping Missions: The United Nations often hires private companies to accompany and support its peacekeeping forces in various parts of the world, such as in Liberia, Cyprus, and Darfur. These contractors are CAAF – they provide essential supplies, transportation, logistics, and sometimes even training, all under the command and protection of the UN mission.

NATO Operations in Afghanistan: During the NATO operations in Afghanistan, numerous private contractors were employed in support roles and were designated as CAAF. They provided services such as construction, equipment repair, food service and laundry. Their presence allowed the military to focus more directly on combat operations. In all these examples, these contractors are considered to be a part of the force they are accompanying, but not a part of the military itself. This had led to some legal and ethical issues regarding their conduct and accountability.

FAQs for Contractors Authorized to Accompany the Force (CAAF)

What does CAAF stand for?

CAAF stands for Contractors Authorized to Accompany the Force. These are contractors who have been specifically designated to go with the force in an operational area.

Who can be part of CAAF?

CAAF is not limited to any specific group of contractors. It can include various types of service providers such as translators, infrastructure builders, or logistical support staff. All these personnel should be authorized by proper channels and should have received the necessary training.

What is the role of CAAF?

The main role of CAAF is to provide necessary services and support during a military operation. They can offer a wide range of options such as providing maintenance on equipment, offering medical services, construction duties, and even offering key language translation services.

Does CAAF participate in combat operations?

No, CAAF personnel are non-combatants. They are not allowed to participate in active combat operations, their main duty is service and support.

What is the status of CAAF in terms of the law?

CAAF personnel are considered as civilians accompanying the armed forces, not as armed forces themselves. They are subjected to the host nation’s civil and criminal laws, the law of their home country, and international law.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Overseas Contingency Operations: The term usually used to refer to military operations taking place outside the United States, where Contractors Authorized to Accompany the Force might be deployed.
  • Defense Base Act (DBA) Insurance: The insurance that is obligatory for all contractors and subcontractors working outside the United States on military bases or under a contract with the U.S. government for public works or national defense.
  • Government Furnished Support (GFS): This refers to the support provided by the government to CAAF, which could include housing, meals, medical support, and other necessities.
  • Joint Ethics Regulation (JER): It is a unified regulation that prescribes standards of ethical conduct for all Department of Defense employees, including the Contractors Authorized to Accompany the Force.
  • Contingency Contracting: This refers to the process of procuring goods or services during times of emergency such as war, national security threats, or natural disasters. The CAAF can be considered part of Contingency Contracting.

Sources for More Information

  • Joint Chiefs of Staff – This is the official website of the Joint Chiefs of Staff where you might be able to find official military-related documents.
  • United States Department of Defense – The official website of the U.S. Department of Defense. It provides detailed information about all aspects of the U.S. military.
  • Defense Acquisition University – This university offers training and education in areas related to the Department of Defense.
  • RAND Corporation – A global policy think tank that provides research and analysis to the United States armed forces.

Benefits.com Advisors

With expertise spanning local, state, and federal benefit programs, our team is dedicated to guiding individuals towards the perfect program tailored to their unique circumstances.

Rise to the top with Peak Benefits!

Join our Peak Benefits Newsletter for the latest news, resources, and offers on all things government benefits.

Related Articles