Friday, September 11, 2009

Cultural Taxonomy and the Warrior

Cultural Taxonomy, and the Warrior’s View

Assessing the willpower of all the players to adopt courses of action is the first an most important assessment going into the Military Decision Making Process (MDMP). It is axiomatic that the will to resist is the keystone of resistance, yet the step is routinely ignored by the military, diplomatic, and political establishments of many a nation which has resulted too often in defeat, dishonor, or serious embarrassment.

The Japanese believed that wiping out the US Pacific Fleet would bring us to the bargaining table. It worked, except that the bargaining table was on the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. Allied strategic bombing of the homes of German “war workers” was predicated on the assumption that the German people would boot Hitler. What the bombing did was to divert German fighter aircraft from strafing and bombing Allied troops and logistics, to defending the skies over the Fatherland.

The addition of Stability Operations on the same plane as Offense and Defense in Army doctrine, places a much better understanding of how culture affects military courses of action, and of the will of the peoples involved to fight us, fight our enemies, or wait and see who wins. Pre-existing doctrine in Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs works to dig up the necessary information on which the assessment of indigenous courses of action.

Civil Affairs provides the acronym ASCOPE to represent Areas, Structures, Capabilities, People and Events. It’s a list that works with CA people as they have to study it. And it is to Civil Affairs people we should turn to for this information. The problem with ASCOPE is that it has six letters, all different, which exceeds the ram space required to remember it.

Psychological Operations has a doctrine and a very good annex for determine who to talk to and what to say. PSYOPS, is rarely consulted as there are too many budding advertising people in it, and thinkers are not appreciated in those whose forte is muscle bound. If any one had read the PSYOP Estimate of the Situations prepared for the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the current unpleasantness would be already a memory.

Current doctrine recently released on cultural awareness includes an excellent source of definitions, and guidance to gather what is needed to apply F4F to winnow out and focus on likely courses of action. F4F recognizes that all human collective activity is based all or in part on dynamics of family. Family includes traditional families connected by blood line (DNA), it include the Brotherhood, the Benevolent and Protective Brotherhood of Plumbers, or Longshoremen, Truck drivers, or Al Qaeda.

F4F is a more easily remembered acronym with only two letters to remember, and five labels all starting with F. Family: Face, Fate, Fame, Fortune. In addition to F4F which is focused on dynamics of the family, the addition of a set of factors expressed in physical terms such as Time, Distance, Geography and Body language. These work together and are entwined more than separated.

Current Warrior doctrine on Stability Operations, even when combined with traditional offense and defense, is expressed in Five Logical Lines of Operation (LLO, or LLOO):
These “lines” are a series of steps or strategy to address a problem that adversely affects the stability of a region or populations. These include:

1. Security Operations: Population secured continuously with freedom of lawful movement established.
2. Host Nations Security Forces: Effective and self sufficient security forces are established.
3. Essential Services: Sewage treatment, potable water, electricity, transportation, schools and medical services are developed, restored, and refurbished.
4. Effective Governance: Local, regional, and national agencies, policies, enforcement and justice are established, restored, and/or improved.
5. Economic Development: A functional economy is re-established, and the freedom to conduct lawful commerce restored including commercial, industrial, and other economic institutions and an effective market.

A more detailed representation is provided by doctrine showing a typical sequencing of actions in a counter insurgency environment. While this doctrine was developed for counter insurgency use, it is not restricted nor primarily linked to counter insurgency. There “Whole of Government Approach” to diplomacy as well as military operations is hard wired to the wholistic intent of the Logical Lines of Operation. As such, it applies to our relations in troubled areas even without an active insurgency such as most of Latin America and Africa/

F4F aka “Indigenous Family Values” are intended for the Warrior to ask the Local, or the Egghead, questions that will effect his/her operations on these Logical Lines of Operation. Face questions should include: What really ticks these people off? What turns them on?

Answers might include: Don’t stare at a Turkish or Japanese woman! Or the correct bow or flourish may do wonders.

Face questions might include: To what or who do they believe controls their fate? Answers may be: the law, the family, the party, or none of the above.

Fame questions: What do they do to gain fame or recognition? Or not? Answers may include sitting in front, or coming in last, or first. Does family outrank accomplishment?

Fortune: What do these guys do for a living? Who gets the loot?

The questions on physical matters include their sense of time. Are they big on being on time, or does it matter, Is one day the same as the last, or is it subject to improvement? How close to each other is close? Arms length as with Americans, or nose to nose as in a Japanese subway?

What do they do to the land? Rice paddies, dykes, or irrigation ditches? What about the location and construction of buildings? Dense like the old parts of a Middle Eastern City or of China? Or spread out like US suburbs.

With respect to Arm and Hand Signals, or body language: How do they walk, sit, stand, and use their parts to signal submission, dominance, or just at ease?

The Warriors Guide to the Other Guy’s Culture is not intended to replace existing doctrine, but to sharpen the focus on that which really matters. It is a guide to asking the right questions, not a guide to revamp the sciences of sociology, anthropology, or psychology.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Full Spectrum Drama



While I have extensive and long standing personal experiences with foreign cultures, including that of California, Texas, Western Europe, China, and Japan, these experiences only provided a setting and materials for the analysis of the problems of a Warrior’s Guide to the Other Guy’s Culture. That which I use to bind military doctrine, psychology, anthropology and sociology include Transactional Analysis designed by Eric Berne particularly Karpman’s Drama Triangle, Cross Cultural Communications by Beyond, the Military Decision Making Process (MDMP) from the US Army, and the current manuals on Full Spectrum Operations.


The thrust of the works on Transactional Analysis(TA) and the Drama Triangle are focused on the individual and small groups. In TA each individual operates at any one point from one of three major ego states, Parent (Mother and/or Father), Adult (pure reason and facts), and the Child.

A normal (plus and minus one standard deviation from the mean) individual and small group functions with the Parental Father role as externally oriented to protect and provide for the family, the Parental Mother role is more internally oriented on nurturing the family and the child. The Child’s role is that of obedience to the parents, and the parents corresponding role of tutoring and nurturing the child. In a healthy group, reason and facts are routinely utilized,


One drama enters the scene, these relations turn from survival to game playing. Game playing in TA relies on crossed transactions between the child’s version of mother, father and adult in which the reasoning “adult” become a hand puppet for the dramatic roles, and the expressions of parenting or childhood, masks for a bent personality.

The Drama Triangle posits three Roles: Victim, Prosecutor and Rescuer. In order to play the game, there must be Villains and Heroes. Villains who threaten the Victims, who in turn must be rescued, and the villain prosecuted by heroes.

Thus, the Child’s version of the three roles have two sides, Villainous and Heroic. The Heroic includes the Hero, Heroine, and Helpless. The Villainous counterpart includes the Bastard, Bitch, and Brat.

The more serious the game, the higher the likelihood is that both are played by the same player. It is called the Law of Inverse Attribution. The more the player becomes heroic, the more likely he or she is really a villain. This is portrayed in your daily in-box of your email account.

Being a Hero depends on creating an all powerful Villain. At present, Godless Communism is being replaced by Islam. Sample sites:

The Party Faithful, however grey haired, is still around. Same sort of victim, rescuer, and prosecutors. The Global Ant-Globalization “Front” carries forward Communist claptrap undeterred by the failure of Communism and the conversion of the Communist State into a Capitalist state like that of China.

Their Victims include indigenous people not able or willing to cope with the world that is, and the Earth which can’t take care of itself. Eco Terrorists wage war against real estate developers, whalers, and the non-Russian oil interests to rescue helpless nature (whose voice on these matters in conveniently shut. Seen from the viewpoint of Western (US) oil interests, Japanese whalers, and home buyers, these self same Eco Terrorists should be locked away from any sharp instruments.

I hate to rain on so many parades, as it is so much fun to snort and stomp over the villainous and it is so cathartic to play out the violent side of it.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Doctrine And Culture

Warrior’s Guide to the Other Guy’s Culture –
Doctrine and Culture

The Commander’s business is mission accomplishment and the welfare of the troops, formerly stated as the Mission and the Men. In mission accomplishment we use the Military Decision Making Process (MDMP) which applies the factors of METT-TC (Mission, Enemy, Terrain, Troops Available, Time, and Civilian Considerations. Of these six factors, three deal with people: the enemy, troops, and civilians taken together or separately, each has culture which, for the Warrior, acts the same as doctrine in deciding what factors rank where in their cultural decision making process.

While anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists, and art critics have their definitions of culture, the Warrior needs to stick to the concept of culture as doctrine, a set of rules, best practices, historical influences, sex, love, greed, and/or children. Like the military commander, the heads of family has the same two parental responsibilities (mission and welfare) found in the family, however defined. The children, troops,, of a family bear the same relations as troops in a unit: obedience to the (parental leader) and the corresponding expectation that that authority protects and nourishes the troops/children.

Thus family, when not even a biological entity, is the basis for any human organization however formalized. There are Brotherhoods of Boiler Workers, Social Clubs like the Tongs or Triads, the Viet Cong, the Skull and Cross Bones, and Sigma Phi Epsilon. Any group tends to adopt family like structures,

To deal with analyzing family, we use existing doctrine on occasion, like applying the Civil Affairs factors known as ASCOPE from FM 3-07

2-27. This characteristic addresses terrain analysis from a civilian perspective. Analyze how key civilian areas affect the missions of respective forces and how military operations affect these areas. Factors to consider include political boundaries, locations of government centers, by-type enclaves, special regions (for example, mining or agricultural), trade routes, and possible settlement sites.
2-28. Structures include traditional high-payoff targets, protected cultural sites, and facilities with practical applications. The analysis is a comparison how a structure's location, functions, and capabilities can support operations as compared to costs and consequences of such use.
2-29. Assess capabilities in terms of those required to save, sustain, or enhance life, in that order. Capabilities can refer to the ability of local authorities to provide key functions and services. These can include areas needed after combat operations and contracted resources and services.
2-30. Consider all nonmilitary groups or institutions in the AO. These may be indigenous, come from a third country or US agencies. They influence and interact with the populace, force, and each other. Current activities, capabilities, and limitations are some of the information necessary to build situational understanding. This becomes often a union of resources and specialized capabilities.
2-31. People is a general term describing all nonmilitary personnel that military forces encounter in the AO. This includes those personnel outside the AO whose actions, opinions, or political influence can affect the mission. Identify the key communicators and the formal and informal processes used to influence people. In addition, consider how historical, cultural, and social factors that shape public perceptions beliefs, goals, and expectations.
2-32. Events are routine, cyclical, planned, or spontaneous activities that significantly affect organizations, people, and military operations, such as seasons, festivals, holidays, funerals, political rallies, and agricultural crop/livestock and market cycles and paydays. Other events, such as disasters and those precipitated by military forces, stress and affect the attitudes and activities of the populace and include a moral responsibility to protect displaced civilians. Template events and analyze them for their political, economic, psychological, environmental, and legal implications

Examination of ASCOPE for the Commander is largely dependent on Civil Affairs, PSYOP, and for the present, the Human Terrain Teams made up of sociologists and anthropologists. These, however, don’t tell you what will effect the decision making of the culture, be they Templar Knight, Apaches, Romans, Taliban, or the villagers of Khost.

There are represented in the Warrior’s Guide to the Other Guys Culture as F4F (Fate, Face, Fame, and Fortune) like the Navy Fighter of WW 2, and the interface with temporal issues like time, place, and geography. ASCOPE is the where to look, F4F is what to look for in ASCPE/

The First F in F4F is family with the basics of who is in the family and who is not. It includes where this family sits with others. Is there a hierarchy like Spartans and Helots, or the Crips and Bloods, or the Normans and the Saxons? What are the normal parental roles represented by the Paternal which is concerned with external factors and the preparation of the family to face the outside world? What is the Maternal role which is internally oriented to nurture the children, like the First Sergeant concerned with the welfare of the troops? The parental roles can be cast in multiple generations, in multiple spin-offs of the basic structure like public schools are to the parents.

Family - Face, Fate, Fame, and Fortune

The Warrior is concerned with the structure of the family in terms of paternal (exterior), maternal (interior), and progeny (obey and grow). Under this framework the four value systems of Face, Fate, Fame and Fortune shape the behaviors of the family and of its parts.

FACE is honor, shame, duty, as seen by the holder of the expected view of self from the outside. Face is often a mask, sometime deeply felt, sometimes tossed at the first sound of trouble. Face issues in war, where the commander makes a foolish decision solely to maintain the illusion of control. Issues of motherhood, and the sanctity of their women as well as sex issues fall under Face.

The Taliban destroys girl’s schools, to protect the virtue of women. Gays get executed. The portrayal of rape, pillage, and/or plunder on the part of an invading enemy is a Face issue and is timeless. Likewise the use of rape to humiliate an enemy culture is found in current conflicts in Africa and the Balkans.

Face slapping is a military objective. Japan intended to destroy the Pacific Fleet on Dec 7 , 1941. The damage wasn’t as great as planned but the effect was that of an Asian slapping the face of a Caucasian, utterly sneaky, and the outrage thereafter lingers on today. FDR authorized the Doolittle Raid which was intended as a slap in the face which worked to the point in brining the Japanese Fleet out to it’s destruction at Midway.

FATE is consequence, Fate is authority, Fate is what is really in charge. Americans place a great deal of trust in self and the law. In other cultures fate is controlled by the family, the party, the Fuhrer, the Law of Gravity, or a responsive Will of God.

While Americans see their fate tied to hard work, diligence, and confidence in facing what comes, other cultures place their faith in family, tribe, Communist Party, or feudal lord. Those who come from a culture where family determines fate more than the actions of the self, don’t react to working hard for a wage. Many call this laziness, but it is due to a lack of connection of self and salary and a dependence on the family to care. Workers in the former Communist states have no faith in work for wages, as in the Communist system the state pretended to pay them, so they pretended to work. There is still a sentiment in those states where working hard is irrelevant to survival.

FORTUNE is in many cultures Godlike in status, and in others not. The Rich are routinely lambasted in political and religious treatise. And the poor elevated in status. That of course is Inverse Attribution, only the rich have the means to be charitable. And Charity is just another form of domination, or one ups man ship.

Most important in cultural analysis is the relation of people to the product and process. Farmers are different from miners, and cattlemen different from truckers. The relation of the work process and the values systems of people is a way to see how they tick. Sometimes, civilian skills have a military application, like cattle herdsmen turned to cavalry.

FAME is the expected external view of self, which if denied is a serious Face problem. Fame is reward, recognition. It’s awards and decorations and the adulation expected thereto. Fame is expected due to the shapely and the sharp. Yet Fame, like Fortune, resented.

Taken together, the array of Face, Fame, Fate, and Fortune of a given culture is the “terrain” that war is fought on no less than Critical Terrain, Observation, Obstacles, Cover and Concealment, and Avenues of Approach.

The Paraguayans in the War of the Triple Alliance in 1864 to 1870 fought Argentina, Brazil, and Chile resulting in the loss of three quarters of their population due to their savage but outnumbered resistance. No capture the flag or cutting off the snakes head here. The Bolivians in the 1930’s tried to cut their way across Paraguay to gain access to a port. They lost despite having a better trained and equipped. Paraguayans are inordinately proud of their country, yet will wait until your back is turned to strike back. The detest condescension and welcome compliments about their women.