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An Initial Framework for Enhancing Cultural Competency: The Science of Cultural Readiness

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Within the last two decades, we have seen as great a change in the nature of warfare and conflict as has been experienced in all of the previous millennium. Military commanders of the 1960s had as much if not more in common with generals such as Arminius and Publius Quinctilius Varus as they do with their modern-day counterparts. The demise of the superpower stand-off and the diminution of importance of the physical environment, in terms of both possession and site of conflict, has left our forces to operate in conditions for which their previous training has provided relatively little guidance and direction. However, in general our forces have been facile in understanding and adapting to the changes that these new circumstances have thrust upon them. With the hallmark of the professionalism that characterizes these Institutions, they have sought to understand these new demands and look to provide answers to the inherent problems now posed. In life, as in formal information theory, information reduces uncertainty. In the present example, information is culturally bound and thus culturally locked. As a result, the answer that the military individual requires may be literally staring them in the face but because it is coded within another culture it is essentially camouflaged and thus unavailable for use. In order that military personnel be better armed to access this vital information and are thus able to use it to enhance their probability of mission success, we need a science of cultural readiness. In this we need to identify and distill methods of measurement and assessment which allow us to capture and disseminate culturally-contingent information. It is to this end that the current program of research is directed and the present framework is presented.

Subject Categories:

  • Sociology and Law
  • Psychology
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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