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Full Spectrum Tools for Collecting, Analyzing, and Using Cultural Data in Decision Making

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White paper

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This paper describes the Integrated Social Network Decision Model ISDM as a set of support tools for collecting, analyzing, and exploiting data about cultural diverse populations. The ISDM supports full, iterative planning cycles for SSTR, disaster relief and humanitarian missions in cross cultural environments. Its purpose is to enhance data collection, data analysis, and planning aspects of such missions by a synthesis of sampling, cognitive, statistical, and decision theoretic technologies. In todays military environment soldiers may be required to plan and conduct a broad variety of non-kinetic as well as conventional kinetic missions. For example, in Stability, Security, Transition, and Reconstruction SSTR missions, achieving the desired effects frequently involves changing both the attitudes and behaviors of a population, and success depends on leveraging their existing beliefs, values, and avenues of influence. The presence of cross-cultural human terrain adds layers of uncertainty to these tasks. Soldiers may be interacting with different sub-populations with different values, customs, and beliefs, and whose relationships with one another and with US forces are ambiguous and fluid. Ideally, soldiers would have ready access to local area experts in such matters and would themselves accumulate expertise and intuitive ability over a lengthy period of training and experience. Limits on time and resources almost always make this impossible. Soldiers who are deployed in unfamiliar surroundings and charged with delicate operations in civilian populations are nonetheless expected to hit the ground running. The purpose of the work described here is to provide as much computer-based support as possible for this task, with an eye to training intuition rather than replacing it.

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  • Sociology and Law
  • Computer Programming and Software

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