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Getting to the Left of SHARP: Lessons Learned from West Point’s Efforts to Combat Sexual Harassment and Assault

March 23, 2015 Comments off

Getting to the Left of SHARP: Lessons Learned from West Point’s Efforts to Combat Sexual Harassment and Assault
Source: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College

On July 26, 1948, President Harry Truman signed Executive Order 9981, ending the practice of segregating the military services by race. That same year, the Army allowed women to join the services on an equal basis with men. Both of these steps preceded the larger societal changes that allowed fully equal treatment of all types of American citizens in military service. Just over 2 years ago, Congress repealed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, allowing for gays and lesbians to openly take their place in the military. Our procedures and policies for successful gender integration have grown and evolved. The authors share five principles for leaders and commanders on the prevention of sexual harassment and assault, as well as associated “Tips” for implementation: (1) Leaders identify and break chains of circumstance; (2) Education is preferable to litigation; (3) What’s electronic is public; (4) Don’t ignore pornography; and, (5) Unit climate is the commander’s responsibility. These principles and their associated tips are not panaceas, and these recommendations are submitted for discussion and feedback.

Army releases investigation results of April 2014 shooting at Fort Hood

February 3, 2015 Comments off

Army releases investigation results of April 2014 shooting at Fort Hood
Source: U.S. Army

he U.S. Army today released its months-long investigation into an April 2014 shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, that left four people dead, concluding that there was nothing in the assailant’s background, medical or military profile that might have provided an early warning for potential violence.

On April 2, 2014, Spec. Ivan Lopez-Lopez opened fire at several locations on the sprawling Army installation, killing three Soldiers and wounding 12. Lopez-Lopez took his own life after being confronted by a military police officer.

“We find no indication in his medical and personnel records suggesting Spec. Lopez-Lopez was likely to commit a violent act,” wrote Lt. Gen. Joseph E. Martz, who led an investigation team that interviewed and obtained sworn statements from 169 witnesses, in addition to reviewing materials and statements gathered during an earlier criminal investigation.

Martz’s investigation also determined that no “single event or stressor, in isolation, was the cause of the shooting.”

+ Full report and appendices (redacted)

Perspective Taking, Cultural Stress, and the Individual: From the Inside Out

July 10, 2014 Comments off

Perspective Taking, Cultural Stress, and the Individual: From the Inside Out
Source: Army Research Laboratory

In general, Western cultures focus on the world around the individual, and Eastern cultures focus on the group in which one belongs. In understanding how the American military interacts in foreign cultures, Soldier cultural perspectives, or what the individual Soldier brings to the table, must be understood to mitigate the potential effects of culture stress. The ability to maintain unit readiness and mission effectiveness in the midst of increasing peacekeeping missions ultimately depends on the performance of the Soldier. Personal, situational, and organizational factors within dynamic, changing, and stressful environments can affect a Soldier s overall performance. The U.S. Army Research Laboratory will investigate how Soldier individual differences, cultural stress, and perspective taking affect decision making through the Relevant Information for Social-Cultural Depiction. This report will show that inclusion of individual difference variables is essential to social-cultural model development, which will support predictions of decision-making performance in a multicultural environment.

For man and country: atheist chaplains in the U.S. Army

July 2, 2014 Comments off

For man and country: atheist chaplains in the U.S. Army (PDF)
Source: U.S. Army Command and General Staff College

Non-theistic Humanists want equal representation in the U.S. Army claiming that no atheist or Humanist chaplains exist to meet the needs of the non-theistic population. Some Humanists consider Humanism a religion and believe the Army needs Humanist chaplains and Distinctive Faith Group Leaders (DFGL) to support this demographic. Other Humanists consider their beliefs non-religious and reject any identification with religion. This thesis examined the purpose and history of the U.S. Army Chaplaincy, the background and history of Humanism, and presented arguments both supporting and opposing atheist chaplains. The researcher interviewed Humanist leaders and U.S. Army chaplains to discover the needs of the non-theistic population and if the Army should appoint Humanist chaplains or DFGLs to meet those needs. The research revealed a gap in designated support for this demographic. The researcher concluded that this group does not have any religious requirements and therefore does not fall under the purview of the Chaplaincy. However, the researcher concluded that a non-religious leader should be available to represent the non-religious and non-theistic Army population.

Cross-Cultural Competence in the Department of Defense: An Annotated Bibliography

June 4, 2014 Comments off

Cross-Cultural Competence in the Department of Defense: An Annotated Bibliography (PDF)
Source: Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences

Given the current operational context, research both inside and outside the DoD has increasingly focused its efforts on better understanding the factors that contribute to effective cross-cultural performance. Of particular interest is the role cross-cultural competence (3C) plays in Service members’ ability to navigate cultural environments, as well as the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities that military training should be targeting to improve performance-related outcomes. Over the past ten years, numerous studies and theoretical pieces have been developed that explore these issues as they relate to both military and general populations. This annotated bibliography represents an initial attempt to gather this collection of work into a single, comprehensive review to be used as a reference for those conducting research in this domain. Annotations hail from a number of different disciplines, including military psychology, organizational psychology, anthropology, and sociology, and range in content from theoretical to empirical studies, efforts at model building and computer technologies for understanding, and various methods for teaching and assessing 3C.

See also: Soldier Development Following Negative Cross-Cultural Experiences: An Integrated Review of the Literature (PDF)

A Soldier’s Morality, Religion, and Our Professional Ethic: Does the Army’s Culture Facilitate Integration, Character Development, and Trust in the Profession?

May 29, 2014 Comments off

A Soldier’s Morality, Religion, and Our Professional Ethic: Does the Army’s Culture Facilitate Integration, Character Development, and Trust in the Profession?
Source: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College.

The authors argue that an urgent leadership issue has arisen which is strongly, but not favorably, influencing our professional culture–a hostility toward religion and its correct expressions within the military. Setting aside the role of Chaplains as a separate issue, the focus here is on the role religion may play in the moral character of individual soldiers–especially leaders–and how their personal morality, faith-based or not, is to be integrated with their profession’s ethic so they can serve in all cases “without reservation” as their oath requires.

Defense Planning for National Security: Navigation Aids for the Mystery Tour

May 1, 2014 Comments off

Defense Planning for National Security: Navigation Aids for the Mystery Tour
Source: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College

The challenge that is defense planning includes: “educated futurology” and the humanities as methodological approaches; futurists and scenarios, trend spotting and defense analysis; the impossibility of science in studying the future; the impossibility of verification by empirical testing of hypotheses; the value of the humanities which are politics, strategy, and history for defense planning; the use and misuse of analogy; learning from history; why and how strategic history works; and recommendations for the Army. What can be learned from history and what cannot are discussed in this analysis.

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