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Thread: Cultural Intelligence & Intelligence and Culture (catch all)

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    Council Member GatorLHA2's Avatar
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    Post Cultural Intelligence & Intelligence and Culture (catch all)

    Dirt is Good
    "Dirt is Good" by Peter Day in the BBC Business News section talks about the problems of selling products in different parts of Europe. This article contains lessons for anyone studying Cultural Intelligence and Information Warfare.

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Cultural Intelligence

    The SWJ received this document via e-mail - Cultural Awareness Link Resource - courtesy of Delphi International Research.

    Also, the SWJ has a Cultural Intelligence Page (good stuff) here.

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    Default historical cases of cultural intelligence used in campaign planning?

    I am looking for historical cases where cultural intelligence has been used in campaign planning... I was originally looking at examining Soviet plans found in the East German archives after the Cold War that detailed the Soviet approach to invading Iran; but I was unable to find sufficient material. Is anyone familiar with the Soviet plans or have any suggestions of other campaigns that use cultural intelligence to formulate plans? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Default

    This may be better served in the "history" section, but I'll leave it here for now.

    You might want to look at some of the campaigns during the Indian Wars, although the term "cultural intelligence" would not have been used at that time. The Red River War (1874) specifically targeted certain tribes' support systems, and Grierson's operations against the Apache in the 1880s had similar aspects. Our operations in Panama may also have used cultural intelligence, although I'm not an expert in this area.

    Edit: This one will stay here...I moved the RFI one into Historians.
    Last edited by Steve Blair; 01-30-2007 at 08:11 PM. Reason: Update on thread move

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    Read Commentarii de Bello Gallico, by Julius Caesar. There are some good examples of cultural IPB in the text...

    ...but to go back to the Soviet campaign plan for Iran, the book The Origins of the Cold War in the Near East: Great Power Conflict and Diplomacy in Iran, Turkey and Greece, covers Soviet maneuvering in Iran during the early days of the Cold War in a fair amount of detail.
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 01-30-2007 at 08:34 PM.

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    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    Default Military Culture and Effective Intelligence

    Is there friction between (America's) military culture and effective intelligence collection, analysis, and dissemination? I understand that the nature of war itself does not necessarily lend itself to optimal intelligence operations in all cases, so I am curious if we are in many ways making our job more difficult through bias, perceptions, and expectations of the role, nature, usefulness, and methods of intelligence work.

    I'm also interested in any experiences the community members may have that would shed light on this subject.
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default A moderate amount of friction exists in my observation.

    I've been on both sides but left the Intel business as rapidly as I could for two reasons. I knew I was not and would not be a good analyst (too impatient at the time among other things) and the sensing that I had entered an extremely cautious community that was more concerned with its reputation than its credibility; that seemed backwards to me.

    As an operator and small unit leader and later a 3 type at several levels, my net experience over many years was that about half the Intel provided was adequate, accurate and timely; the other half tended most often to suffer from one of two failures. It was either over reliant on technical means and thus (in my day) invariably out of date or OBE. The second problem was that it often had been hedged to be safe so there was likely to be no error or failing on the part of the provider -- that also rendered it mostly irrelevant all too often. Additionally, the opposition had a vote and they'd do the unexpected or just strange things fairly often. Even the weather could intrude...

    The bulk of the good and accurate stuff was on the more important or more dangerous operations. Unfortunately, that meant that the routine stuff was usually not that good. If you're an Infantryman or SF Soldier, it's the routine stuff that gets dangerous...

    Seemed to me that unit S2s were often mediocre by default and that's not smart, when the 2 is a MI type, he should be learning what combat units do an embed the culture; many seemed to hate their tour in units and believed they could and would learn little (that also sends a bad message to the folks in the combat unit). The MI Dets and Bns had some really sharp folks but they were (logically) loyal to their Chain and sometimes gave short shrift to the supported units.

    Too many Intel people tend to discount Humint and reports from units; they used to get an 'F6' more often than they should have. When the LRS Companies were placed in the MI Bns, the culture shock was tremendous (on both sides...) and the sad thing was that the MI people gave their 'own' LRS troops no more credence than they gave a distant rifle company.

    That's the bad news from my perspective; the good news is that most of the time the system coped reasonably well and it worked more often than not. Personalities make a big difference. Some combat unit Commander believe in Intel and respect the providers, others do not. Most reach an accommodation. The type of war or operation makes a big difference. So called COIN like ops place a heavy Intel burden of a micro type and finite detail while MCO emphasizes the macro stuff and speed (simplistic but you get the idea), there are significant difference, operations type dependent.

    The cultural aspect is difficult and my comments are from some time ago. My belief is that most combat troops realize the value of intel, are willing to accept they can sometimes not know how things are or were obtained and are willing to accept classification as necessary evil. However, they do tend to look at most -- not all -- Intel folks as REMFs who rarely provide timely and adequately detailed support and they tend to believe that much is vastly overclassified. The tendency is to replicate the old Poster, "14,000 Attaboys are wiped out by one Aw $*#t."

    There is no evidence I've seen of conflicts in collection other than the mentioned tendency to discount Troop unit reports and Humint in general. There was some on analysis, generally relating to timeliness and to excessive caution and dissemination was very much product dependent with excessive classification delaying the product being a frequent complaint. That seems to be improved today. I hope it is.

    As for:
    if we are in many ways making our job more difficult through bias, perceptions, and expectations of the role, nature, usefulness, and methods of intelligence work.
    I think that varies considerably from unit to unit, personality to personality and issue to issue as well as from operation to operation -- or war to war.

    Some units want things they cannot have, most make reasonable requests and have logical expectations, some do not even know what questions to ask. Some MI elements do the best they can to provide outstanding support, some will sluff -- most do what they can with the resources given. In my experience, effective communication generally removed obstacles and made the system work as best it could at that place and time. The really bad things I saw almost invariably revolved around a "I cannot discuss that you don't have a need to know" sort of attitude in many variations. Going the other way -- as it did half the time -- the "I need this and I need it now; who the h3#* are you working for? The enemy?" thing was equally bad. Variations on both those themes...

    Errors on both sides will occur but they can be ameliorated with decent effort and communication. Hopefully someone more current than me can let you (and I) know more...

    Since I'm from Kentucky -- and it's a cold yucky February -- I'll take no umbrage at your location tag. That and the fact that I'm in Florida and it was 60 yesterday...

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    Hello All, I am new and find this site fantastic.

    I would have to say I have seen nothing but bias in the HUMINT field. It is a difficult thing to overcome; eliminating your biases in order to conduct quality analysis of another human being (whether for truthfulness or behavioral symptoms analysis). I believe we MUST understand our own ideologies, values and beliefs thoroughly before daring to understand another's. Rare is the HUMINT collector who actually engages in an intense level of self-examination because the OPTEMPO is too high or they are too busy trying to get their kids to remember who they are between deployments....

    Perceptions and expectations of the role, nature, usefulness, and methods of intelligence? That work is left almost entirely up to the NCO and Warrant Officer, who must consistently sell their 2x at any level on their capabilities and even what the difference between CI and HUMINT is. I find this a rather daunting task. Should it not be the job of the NCO and Warrant to conduct, manage and supervise those operations vice educating their commander or 2x why they are there in the first place?

    So I would say your question is very well placed and deserving of much enquiry from the Command of any unit, perhaps even the Army G2X, in order to eradicate the nonsense of deploying our dedicated men and women to do nothing because of preconcieved notions, misconceptions or previous experiences.

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanPride View Post
    Is there friction between (America's) military culture and effective intelligence collection, analysis, and dissemination? I understand that the nature of war itself does not necessarily lend itself to optimal intelligence operations in all cases, so I am curious if we are in many ways making our job more difficult through bias, perceptions, and expectations of the role, nature, usefulness, and methods of intelligence work.
    There is nothing wrong with American culture, and it will have no impact on the nations conduct of intelligence activities.
    Being lazy, stupid and/or poorly trained will have a greater impact. Essentially if there is a problem with US Intelligence, then is about the people working in it. Nothing to do with culture. Did US "culture" put men on the moon?
    "Intelligence" is about selecting the right people for the right job. If that isn't held to be central to doctrine and practice, you will always have a problem.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
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    Council Member Red Rat's Avatar
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    Default From the UK Perspective

    we find that a large part of the (UK) intelligence community regard intelligence as an end in itself, rather than as a means to an end...

    They also seem to risk averse, unwilling to give analysis based likely courses of action and preferring to give straight forward reports on what has or is happening.

    We find our best Int staff tend to come from a G3 background and have more of a feel for what the end user requirement is.

    It sounds, looking at the previous posts, that your (US military) experiences are not all that different from ours. In terms of military ethos the big differences I have noticed between the US military and the UK military is that the US military appears more self-honest and more goal (success) orientated. I would have thought that both of these when linked would have made your G2 set-up more capable and responsive.
    RR

    "War is an option of difficulties"

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Rat View Post
    we find that a large part of the (UK) intelligence community regard intelligence as an end in itself, rather than as a means to an end...

    They also seem to risk averse, unwilling to give analysis based likely courses of action and preferring to give straight forward reports on what has or is happening.
    Well that's a major step backwards since 1991, when I was getting trade qualified in this area. There was a huge amount of emphasis on "So what" and "What does that mean?"
    ...but that was back in the days before "the art of ISTAR" turned into the current load of garbage it patently is.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    So if part of the problem is getting the right people, then why doesn't the US Army make MI a non-accessions that 1LT (P)s can compete for in their third year in service?

    That way they all come from a basic branch (Infantry, Armor, Artillery, Transport, Chemical, etc) with some training and experience, and they aren't simply branched based on grades (ROTC) and run times (OCS).
    Last edited by SethB; 07-14-2010 at 12:00 PM.

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    Council Member Red Rat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    Well that's a major step backwards since 1991, when I was getting trade qualified in this area. There was a huge amount of emphasis on "So what" and "What does that mean?"
    The 'so what' and 'What does that mean' I am reliably informed still happens; and certainly the Intelligence Community often appears very wise after the fact

    But my perspective working at unit and bde level was that we saw very little of this output and what I wanted most (an analysis on assessed intention and likely courses of action) was lacking. The intelligence briefing was a bit like the weather report on the BBC, mostly 'this morning we had sunny weather in London'; Doh! I lived through that part - what's going to happen tomorrow?
    RR

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Rat View Post
    But my perspective working at unit and bde level was that we saw very little of this output and what I wanted most (an analysis on assessed intention and likely courses of action) was lacking. The intelligence briefing was a bit like the weather report on the BBC, mostly 'this morning we had sunny weather in London'; Doh! I lived through that part - what's going to happen tomorrow?
    It's all about people!
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Council Member Infanteer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Rat View Post
    But my perspective working at unit and bde level was that we saw very little of this output and what I wanted most (an analysis on assessed intention and likely courses of action) was lacking. The intelligence briefing was a bit like the weather report on the BBC, mostly 'this morning we had sunny weather in London'; Doh! I lived through that part - what's going to happen tomorrow?
    Too true. In Afghanistan, I worked with a really good guy (ex Inf NCO) who worked the analysis really well and new the ins-and-outs of the district (and would fight to get on patrols with us) but I'm getting the impression he's in the minority and many in the "Int" trade are glorified slide readers.

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    Council Member Red Rat's Avatar
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    Default The murky world of intelligence

    I once put in a Request For Information (RFI) in Basra, 2 weeks later it popped back out of the system and came to me.........to answer!
    RR

    "War is an option of difficulties"

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    Default Promoting Cross-Cultural Competence in Intelligence Professionals

    Promoting Cross-Cultural Competence in Intelligence Professionals

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    Default Some Recent Approaches to Cultural Intelligence Gathering

    Some Recent Approaches to Cultural Intelligence Gathering

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    Default How the Military Intelligence Community Has Failed to Incorporate Sociocultural Under

    How the Military Intelligence Community Has Failed to Incorporate Sociocultural Understanding of their Operational Environment

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