Throughout the 1980s, the United States assisted the Salvadoran government in keeping the leftist FMLN insurgency under control. A U.S. military advisory group comprised primarily of Special Forces troops advised and trained the Salvadoran military to reach hearts and minds through civil defense and civic action campaigns.
On October 12, 1983, militant Marxists carried out a violent coup against the moderate Marxist government. The United States resolved to rescue six hundred American medical students, restore popular government, and deny Cuba greater involvement in Grenada.
There was no Civil Affairs planning prior to the invasion of Grenada, but the Civil Affairs teams that were deployed improvised with reasonable success. The U.S. military focused on rebuilding Grenadian infrastructure that had fallen into disrepair under the Bishop regime of 1979-1983.
When General Manuel Noriega of Panama lost the 1989 election, he installed himself as head of government. Following the death of a U.S. marine, President George H.W. Bush ordered the invasion of Panama to protect U.S. interests and remove Noriega from power. Civil-military objectives in Panama were to support U.S. military forces in establishing law and order, to support to the new central government and city governments, to manage a refugee camp, and to assist in nation building programs. CA units successfully carried out several missions despite imperfections in civil-military planning.