The smooth operator: understanding cross-cultural interpersonal skills in special operations
Delcoure, Dustin E.
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Global SOF partnership is a major focus of U.S. Special Operations Command, and the United States Army Special Operations Command recognizes its force as the best-suited element in the U.S. Army to operate within the human domain. U.S. Army Special Forces are the military’s experts in unconventional warfare. Accomplishment of these missions is heavily reliant on success at the cross-cultural, interpersonal level. Each special operator, regardless of unit, needs to navigate organizational and cultural boundaries effectively in order to achieve unity of effort and improve chances for mission success. This research places emphasis on U.S. Army Special Forces specifically, and the USSOCOM force more generally. Selection and training programs are discussed to illustrate current efforts to develop cross-cultural, interpersonal skill sets, along with the potential to enhance them. This effort, drawn from interviews, identifies themes advanced by deployed special operators. The conclusion provides recommendations for training and sustainment of the requisite cross-cultural interpersonal skills needed for success, with the intent of enhancing the individual operator’s ability to excel in complex interpersonal engagements.
Reissued 24 Feb 2015 to correct graduation date.Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited
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