by SWJ Editors
Cultural Awareness or Cultural Apperception
Is There a Difference?
by Colonel Victor M. Rosello
One of the more favorable byproducts of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom is the US Army's rediscovered interest in the importance of foreign cultures. Of course this statement goes above and beyond the traditional elements of the US Army that have been educated and trained in foreign cultures and languages, such as Foreign Area Officers and Special Forces soldiers. It speaks to the heart of a matter that has created initiatives such as the TRADOC Culture Center at Ft. Huachuca, AZ or the mandatory Arab language training and enculturation of US Army majors at the US Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS. It is ironic to note that the efforts to immerse soldiers in a foreign culture came only as a result of the bogging down of conventional US Army armor and mechanized units in Baghdad following the invasion in 2003. If the Abrams' and Bradley's had been met by cheering and American flag waving Iraqis in downtown Baghdad, this interest in Arab culture may have never surfaced; anymore than it surfaced following Operation Desert Storm in 1991. But this is a moot point and should be left for historians to ponder. What is important is that the enculturation has occurred and has given the US Army a more multidimensional quality, leading to an enhancement and effectiveness of its efforts in theater. But has it really?