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.

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