Army Personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan: Unique Challenges in Diverse Cultural Contexts

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1618 Words
Date:  2023-11-06


The military operation in Iraq and Afghanistan necessitates the Army personal to interact efficiently with local populates to facilitates successful acts of missions. The United States Army is involved in diverse assignments requiring different requirements, including disaster relief, humanitarian assistance, reconstruction and stability, peacekeeping, counterinsurgency, and conventional combat (Caligiuri et al., 2011). Hence, these missions occur against diverse cultural groups, among different cultural associations, and collaborating with various cultural assemblies. Units in the Army operate among and within the populace, which is different culturally from themselves. More so, the Army contains a diverse cultural individual encountering long, culturally diverse associations and enemies. Therefore, military activities in posterity require the ability to create relationships, collaborate, communicate, and develop trust with individuals of exceedingly various competence. A cross-cultural competence guarantees a skill set fit for a soldier to engage effectively in warfighting or peacekeeping. In numerous cases, there is the possibility of culture clashes between the local civilian population and deployed military troops, which can exacerbate tensions and crate negative consequences tactically, operationally, and strategically (Greene et al., 2010). The United States military forces misunderstand the Iraqi culture during their entry into the region, meaning the troops found it challenging to develop personal relationships necessary for information purposes and attracting their interests. Therefore, this paper seeks to identify how culture relates to military deployers and the presence of sufficient cultural training before leaving for deployments.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

Background Information

The adoption of doctrine, policy, and strategy helps the units in the Army in the preparedness towards operations in a socio-cultural setting. The Army Capstone Concept, the Army Learning Concept for 2015, and the Army Culture and Foreign Language strategy helps in impacting the soldiers with the required information on developing practical working settings that are culturally unfamiliar (Caligiuri et al., 2011).

The United States military in the contemporary world requires cross-cultural competency, cultural sensitivity, and cultural awareness during their interaction with individuals from various backgrounds, cultures, and countries (Lavoie, 2018). They fit the demands of the Army for efficiency in making decisions. The growing presence of military units in other countries after deployment requires culturally competent providers in military installations (Luby, 2012).

The United States army prioritizes cultural training as an essential lesson from Iraq and Afghanistan, considering the significance of comprehending the universal values and cultures. The strategy focuses on creating brigades better equipped in operating in particular areas through creating cultural and language proficiency systems in their designated territories (Cohan, 2013). The cross-culturally competent aspects make individuals be enablers of the success of missions and gain life-saving skills. It necessitates the soldiers to contains the capabilities of continuing to gain knowledge and become progressively culturally agile over time and survive in the first days of deployment (Caligiuri et al., 2011). Also, the skills and knowledge gained from cross-cultural training help military personnel to attains the necessities of the different cultural areas of deployment, enhancing care models that are based on the civilians (Luby, 2012).

Deployment related expressions can be easily understood by the soldier having less prior experience with military personnel. Developing cross-cultural competence offers soldiers the concepts and tools that enable the cultural learning to discover culture on their own and cultural agility entailing the incorporation of effectively understood culture in the missions (Caligiuri et al., 2011). Social coordination and learning complement are required for the safety of the soldier and the success of the task.

Ethical Issues

There are several believes that represents the aspects of cultural forms, ideas, and signs developed by individuals and interactions between them existing independently of the person and influence exerted during the interactions. The subjective culture of the Iraqi forces how Kurds embrace, utilize, and feel lifestyle by interacting and expressing culture. It affected how individuals see and experience their culture. There are issues of cultural appropriation brought by culture-specific activities from Iraq. Kurdistan government says that "Kurds were forbidden to speak Kurdish in public; they had to change their names to local ethnic names if they wanted a job or to enroll their children in school."

The challenges the faced are related to codes of the Kurds men wearing beards and women wearing Hijab exposes them to harassment and racism in various places, including schools, hospitals, and even at the workplace. Research on the cultural practices of the Kurdish and their road to independence from the oppressive Iraqi government and constant cultural conflict with their neighboring communities features various incidences. Most of the cases involve the Kurd's access to different commercial services within the jurisdiction of the Iraqi government. Iraq government authorities have denied Kurdistan their rights, claiming that the group does not exhibit the ability to rule itself, given its much association with terrorism. It results in offending the Kurds with symbols of personal subjective culture taken by ruling the Iraqi government, making them into the objective culture for individuals to consume irrespective of if there is a link to the stem of the culture. The material culture of the Kurds become separated from them with items becoming reified as a discrete object existing separately and objectively from the original culture and groups that developed it.

Grounded on the research findings, the Kurdish experiences a lot of cultural humiliation and psychosocial torture due to the different cultural practices and values with its neighboring communities. Studies indicate that the Iraqi government developed an approach of restraining the Kurds to a small space where they cannot express their complaints. Their fear of talking exists due to the monopolistic nature of the Iraqi government and other authorities in Northern states. The Iraqi Kurdistan ethnic group has endured cultural suppression for a long time due to forced assimilations by the native political giants.

Cultural Learning Competence relation to Military Deployments

It entails the ability of the soldier during operations to gain insights of the socio-cultural setting for operations rapidly. The interaction of the soldiers with the local community or society in the area of deployment are required to have a rudimentary understanding of the fundamental aspects of their culture (Caligiuri et al., 2011). For the case of the Kurds, the traditional Kurdish music culture comprises various musical instruments that make artistic products attractive, including the flutes, tu-tu, and the ordinary drums (Kurdistan government, 2019).

In the case of commercial, expressive art, and material culture dimensions, the Kurds utilize arts and craft to demonstrate their creativity. Most of their carpets and rugs have a floral appeal that puts their product in a high-quality medallion pattern. The patterns, coupling with the high number of the mats the community tradesmen would produce in a short duration, also indicate the skills applied in manufacturing the products. Other cultural craft items displayed by the group are the use of leather materials, metal ornamentations, and the famous embroideries that enrich their culture with traditional attires. Regarding sports as a social structure of the Kurds, some of the educational games include hunting, shooting competitions, football matches, wrestling, and the most popular Cirit sport.

Cultural learning allows the soldier to utilize his understanding of the different domains of the Kurd's cultural context and know how they apply to a specific situation. More so, the knowledge of the different areas allows the soldier to interact with indigenous populations efficiently and anticipate any potential difficulties (Caligiuri et al., 2011). Learning cross-culturally provides the soldier with the ability to gain a basic knowledge of the specific local culture in various broad terms. Military units geo-political and cultural knowledge, respect, acceptance, and understanding, are essential to the success of military operations in a full degree (Department of the Army, 2015). The cultural variety requires adaptability, respect, tolerance, understanding, patience, and awareness for success.

Stages of Cultural Learning

The first stage entails the identification of new perspectives where the soldier gains awareness of the fact that there are different systems in the world. The identification stage entails getting insights on cultural differences, gender role differences, recognizing the meanings of the specific gestures that are particular with given cultures, and are inconsistent across cultures. The process occurs after the inundation of the soldier deployed with external stimuli. The new setting is identified with similarities and differences of the new setting is associated with more familiar cultures expected of the military unit cultural awareness proficiency level in the Army Culture and Foreign Language Strategy (ACFLS) (Caligiuri et al., 2011).

Secondly, understanding how the culture works, such as the principles that govern the way the various cultural dynamics work. Third, entailing copying through operating within the culture as the military personnel interacts successfully with the different cultures producing more learning opportunities (Caligiuri et al., 2011). Fourth, managing by using the culture of the other nation in a mutually acceptable manner, accelerating learning (Caligiuri et al., 2011). Finally, integrating by incorporating specific elements from other cultures in their operating framework.

Cultural Competence

Cultural competence training is vital in the contemporary military, focusing on cultural heritage awareness and shield of social protection. Research indicates that cultural property protection value ranks the highest prior and after training, whereas the knowledge concerning property recovery rates is very minimal in the pre- and post-training (Svec, 2014). Cultural competence allows individuals to go further in saving lives, resources, and success of the mission.

More so, cross-cultural competence deals with skills motivation, and knowledge enabling the soldiers to adapt efficiently in environments containing various cultures. Culturally competent skills enable the military units to engage while encountering items of cultural significance, including instruments, paintings, and sculptures (Svec, 2014) appropriately. Over the years, there have been various headlines demonstrating how the military behaves poorly intentionally or unintentionally with disregard for the other people's cultural heritage. For instance, the U.S. military expanded their camp in Afghanistan in 2009 with no consideration of the local landscape and culture, blocking ancient and still utilized water systems upsetting the locals (Svec, 2014).

Cite this page

Army Personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan: Unique Challenges in Diverse Cultural Contexts. (2023, Nov 06). Retrieved from

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience and 25% off!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism