Military Cross Cultural Competence (3C)

Is the current 3C model being used in the military necessary?

In 2009, Major Ben Connable of the U.S. Marines Corps wrote a critical review of how cross cultural competency is being handled by the Department of Defense.

He is largely analytical of the formation of a separate academic division within the military community. This larger organization has since come to be known as Human Terrain System (HTS). Connable argues that there is no reason why the military shouldn’t have organic operation and equipment to accomplish human terrain learning. One of the major advantages, according to Connable, of having organic personnel is that personnel are combat trained they can articulate cultural advice in an operational way. This communication streamlining leads to a more effective partnership between the personnel and those who give guidance.

Some would argue that the extreme cultural competency failings during the early stages of Afghanistan and Iraq is proof that the organic system is inadequate to deal with theater now. However, Connable argues that one of the main failings of the organic components in Afghanistan was that there were simply not enough trained people. These people weren’t stopped from doing their jobs, nor did the system prohibit them from effectively doing their jobs ; It was the complete lack of staff that lead to this failure.

The author goes on to recommend ways of combating stagnation in cultural competency during peacetime. One of his main points is that the lack of cultural training during peacetime is what leads to initial breakdown in cultural competency in the military.

A copy of the text is available here. Based on Major Ben Connable’s review, what do you feel is the best long-term solution for incorporating 3C in the military?

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