Improving Cultural Awareness in the U.S. Military
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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Congressional and military leaders have made clear the need for improvement in cultural awareness training throughout the Department of Defense. However, there are severe challenges to accomplishing this goal, especially in an era of limited resources, transformation, and combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Research shows that culturally aware decisions may not always achieve their desired effects. Cultural experts suggest that the use of civilian anthropologists in training would achieve these effects, but anthropologists must first overcome a history of mistrust and disillusionment with the military that might hinder participation. The Army has conducted cultural awareness studies at several military schools, including the Army War College, but broadening this training to more service schools will require significant resources. Despite the costs, the U.S. military would benefit from greater awareness of an adversarys culture. On the premise that future wars will likely involve full spectrum operations followed by complex and lengthy COIN operations, this paper analyzes how improvements in cultural awareness could help to prevent or mitigate such conflicts. The paper also analyzes the results of previous culture-based decisions and questions the utility and accuracy of such decisions analyzes the use of cultural experts versus military personnel to do cultural awareness training and evaluates recent DoD and Army strategies to improve language and cultural capabilities.
- Sociology and Law
- Military Forces and Organizations