U.S. Special Forces: culture warriors
Hill, Joshua L.
Gregg, Heather S.
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U.S. Army Special Forces (SF) are consistently called upon to work by, with, and through indigenous forces to conduct special warfare. Current SF doctrine reflects an increasing desire for SF operators to be culturally proficient in order to work closely with locals, advise foreign militaries, and build relationships with host-nation counterparts. Despite the doctrinal emphasis on cultural proficiency, SF doctrine offers little concrete direction as to how to become culturally competent, or how to measure levels of cultural proficiency. This thesis aims to provide insights into cultural competency by investigating academic literature surrounding culture, and by looking outside of SF at examples of cross-cultural competency from historic cases: the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in World War II, Military Transition Teams in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the McDonald’s restaurant franchise. By looking at historical examples of military operations and international businesses, SF can gain insight into the best practices and common pitfalls that come from working with foreign cultures. This thesis finds that cultural proficiency can be increased by following the best practices of the McDonald’s Corporation and the OSS, and by placing top-down emphasis on cultural training and normalizing that training at the tactical level.
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