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Regionally Aligned Divisions: Enabling Cultural and Linguistic Competency in Regionally Aligned Forces

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Technical Report,01 Jun 2015,01 May 2016

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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The Army developed the regionally aligned forces RAF concept in response to a shift in national strategy that placed greater emphasis on preventing conflict through a proactive shaping of local environments. The Army intended regional alignment to overcome in part an observed lack of preparedness within the force to overcome the challenges of language and culture in a complex operational environment. This is clearly stated in the 2012, RAF EXORD. However, since the introduction of the RAF program the Army has not attempted the organizational changes needed to meet its own goals for increased cultural and linguistic competency. Concepts from United Kingdoms Regimental system -specifically, stabilizing soldiers within a single regional alignment - could inform changes across the DOTMLPF that would better retain a units collective cultural knowledge and understanding. This conclusion draws on adult and organizational learning theory, Army doctrine, and the analysis of two military interventions that highlight the distinction between employing a culturally competent, regionally aligned, force and employing an unaligned force lacking cultural competency.

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