Accession Number:

ADA470803

Title:

Cultural Competence and the Operational Commander: Moving Beyond Cultural Awareness into Culture-Centric Warfare

Descriptive Note:

Research paper

Corporate Author:

NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2007-05-10

Pagination or Media Count:

28.0

Abstract:

The term cultural awareness serves as the new favorite Department of Defense buzzword but fails in its definition to adequately articulate the complexity of culture and the high level of cultural competence needed by operational commanders in the contemporary operating environment. Current failures in Iraq have validated the U.S. militarys inability to grasp the impact of culture and its corresponding effects on operations. Understanding the different levels of cultural awareness -- cultural consideration, cultural understanding, and cultural competence -- will help usher in a new focus on culture-centric warfare. Culture-centric warfare is the acme of skill needed by operational commanders. Commanders who are skilled in culture-centric warfare will be able to effectively orchestrate all available assets to exploit and integrate the human aspects of warfare against the cultural terrain. Religion is often an afterthought when discussing culture, yet it is the focal point of a cultures belief system. Failure to adequately understand and incorporate religious factors into the Joint operations planning process will leave operational commanders culturally bankrupt. The author examines the requisite skills needed by commanders to conduct culture-centric warfare, and recommends ways to achieve cultural competence at the operational level of war.

Subject Categories:

  • Sociology and Law
  • Humanities and History
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Unconventional Warfare

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE