Fostering foreign relationships among Department of Defense personnel
De La Garza, Thomas R.
Rothstein, Hy S.
Greenshields, Brian H.
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In various regions around the world, the United States suffers from a significant deficit in operational awareness. In areas like the Middle East, reliable information regarding local attitudes and concerns towards U.S. policy are often unknown or overlooked. U.S. actions and policies can sometimes unintentionally incite anger and resentment among segments of the world community. Additionally, the DoD has scarce few individuals who understand the cultural complexities of a given region and know key persons within. These shortfalls in operational awareness can provide an inadequate understanding of why tensions exist or how to address them properly. As a result, the U.S. is at times surprised by unfavorable events when it should be prepared and have adequate forewarning. To summarize, the U.S. has significant blindspots regarding operational awareness and an insufficient number of persons networked into these obscure regions. This thesis examines the potential of the Department of Defense (DoD) to increase operational awareness by fostering foreign relationships between DoD personnel and their foreign counterparts. This thesis further analyzes the value of encouraging U.S. military officers and NCOs to establish, maintain, and further develop personal and professional relationships with foreign military and defense civilians throughout their careers. Based upon an examination of the advantages foreign relationships can bring to secure U.S. policy objectives, courses of action and programs will be recommended to maximize the benefits from fostering foreign relationships within the DoD.
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