Socio-Cultural Capability Requirements across All Phases of Military Operations
Authors: Walter Perry
Abstract: In modern military operations, it is critical that commanders and their staffs be sensitive to the social and cultural norms of populations with whom they must interact. Most military operations have the mission of promoting stability and reconstruction, or eventually evolve to such after major combat. Gaining the cooperation of the local population is critical to a secure environment. This paper identifies the socio-cultural capabilities needed to execute military missions, identifies which of these the military has access to, and proposes mitigating measures to close requirement gaps. We identified 27 missions across all phases of military operations along with 12 socio-cultural capability requirements organized in five categories: planning, communication and coordination, gaining detailed cultural awareness, engaging the population and assessing the impact of this engagement. We identified several gaps but in general, we found that substantial progress has been made in terms of closing these gaps. Personal initiative accounted for a large fraction of these efforts and attests to the growing appreciation among military personnel for the important role of socio-cultural capabilities. Although we provide recommendations to fill specific gaps, finding ways to encourage personal initiatives will nurture the development and testing of original ideas that could be used to address socio-cultural needs more broadly.
Keywords: Military operations, socio-cultural capabilities, human terrain, cultural awareness.
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