Taking Culture to the Next Level: Understanding and Using Culture at the Operational Level of War
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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It is now conventional wisdom that cultural awareness is a prerequisite to successful expeditionary operations in the contemporary operational environment. Since 911, each service has stood up a cultural learning center veterans returning from Iraq, Afghanistan, and other theaters of operation are continually documenting their cultural experiences in lessons learned archives and professional journals and the Department of Defense is employing civilian social scientists in various capacities to support cultural training and education. These efforts, while extremely useful, have their best utility at the tactical level of war. As very little research exists regarding the integration and employment of cultural knowledge at the operational level of war, this paper explores the efficacy of incorporating cultural analysis in the planning and coordination of military operations at the operational level of war. It briefly reviews three historical cases for relevant experiences, defines differences in the application of cultural knowledge between the tactical and operational levels of war, examines the relationship of culture to Operational Art, and reviews the adequacy of current doctrine with regards to utilizing culture at the operational level of war. It concludes with recommendations and general remarks regarding the importance of properly applying cultural knowledge at the operational level of war.
- Sociology and Law
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics