AF Security Forces and Building Partner Capacity Examining Cultural Competency as a Force Enabler
AIR WAR COLL MAXWELL AFB AL MAXWELL AFB United States
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This paper examines challenges with U.S. military building partner capacity operations, specifically Police Transition Team missions, within a uniquely different cultural environment from both a historical and contemporary context. Building partner capacity in stability operations has been a significant task among many deployments over the past ten years, but how successful are those endeavors given the unique cultural challenges we face If it is merely a fools errand beyond conventional core competencies, should senior military leaders be conveying that message to our civilian leadership, or is it a task we can and should measure up to It will ask the question, should the Air Force and particularly Security Forces be involved in these types of missions in the future and if so, how can we better prepare those forces that take them on The paper will initially approach this topic with some reference to the history of building partner capacity BPC missions. Briefly addressing BPC missions from Vietnam with some forgotten lessons learned. While discussing cultural competency broadly at the academia level, this paper will continually tie it back to contemporary deployment challenges recounting many personal experiences as a Security Forces commander executing the Police Transition Team mission in Iraq. Ultimately this analysis revolves around the importance of culture. Unfortunately, there is no common definition for culture. In academia it takes on numerous definitions. One well published expert on the subject, Dr Ting-Toomey, defines culture as a learned system of meanings that fosters a particular sense of shared identity and community among its group members. Despite the varied definitions, investing more time in understanding cultural characteristics with personnel critical to key leader engagements for building partner capacity missions is essential for success. Therefore, cultural competency functions as a true force enabler.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics