One of the distinguishing characteristics of the Long War, as the Global War on Terrorism is now known, is the cultural environment in which it is being fought. In truth, however, the US Army has routinely operated in unfamiliar cultural environments throughout its long history. The conditions in the Middle East today may be the most difficult in a very long time, and the Army is making tremendous efforts to become more effective. Among the key points the author makes in this study is the need for leaders to understand how culture affects military operations.
In this book, the author briefly touches on some of the historical roots of Iraqi and Middle Eastern culture, but he focuses primarily on cultural conditions in Iraq today. He also defines a way US military leaders can prepare for and conduct military operations through the lens of cultural awareness. It provides a method for helping military commanders, staffs, and trainers engage successfully in any type of operation with an emphasis on postconflict stability operations. It also suggests modifications to the traditional intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) and the military decisionmaking process (MDMP) to address the analytical difficulties posed by the conduct of military operations within and among different cultures.
Given the need for rapid action during wartime, I believe this study will contribute significantly to the Army as it conducts operations in the Long War.