Have you been forced to sort through silly sociological texts and pointless psychological “theories” about tribes and nations from other parts of the world?
Has work or school forced you to read nonsense promising to give you a “deep understanding” and an “in-depth analysis” of a part of the world you are professionally or personally interested in…
And yet fails to deliver time and time again?
Well don’t worry, because here at Mind at War.org, we’ve got you covered…
A STORY BATHED IN BLOOD
During the 2003-2011 Iraq War, the United States Marine Corps faced the same problem as you.
See, they were in the middle of a shooting war against an enemy that they couldn’t see, amongst a people with a complete alien culture!
In order to overcome this hurdle, General James “Mad Dog” Mattis commissioned the Warfighting Laboratory at Marine Corps University (MCU) in Quantico, VA to come up with a system to put our warfighters back on top.
The Marine Corps assembled the best Anthropologists and Sociologists in the business…no, not the ones who write the nonsense you read in your textbooks and corporate handouts…but the real deal.
Because the Leathernecks didn’t have the luxury of screwing around with feel good, multicultural, one-world diversity-worshiping platitudes.
They had a war on, and they had American lives to save.
THE BIRTH OF OPERATIONAL CULTURE
The end-result of the project was a ground-breaking textbook, the likes of which had never been seen since the end of WWII.
The textbook is built upon a system called “Operational Culture”. It’s a get-up-and-go, ready to deploy check list of 5 key points that any operator has to understand about a foreign culture he’s operating in:
- The Physical Environment
- The Environment of Ideals
- The Social Environment
- The Political Environment
- The Economic Environment
The author’s observations are compiled in the textbook itself, Operational Culture for the Warfighter: Principles and Applications by Barak A. Salmoni and Paula Holmes-Eber.
However, at Mind at War.org, we’ve improved upon the original system…adding detailed sub-headings giving you questions, optional answers, and frameworks of thinking to make the checklist even better than ever!
The new and improved 5 Point Operational Culture Checklist is perfect for:
- Military Operators taming terror-infested war zones…
- Law Enforcement Officers patrolling crime-ridden urban streets…
- Diplomats rebuilding failed Third World states…
- Academics & Analysts learning about an Area of Interest…
- Historians seeking to understand the culture of a different time and place…
- Average Joes just trying to get by in an ever-changing world…
What’s even better is, you can use it right now!
Just take a look…the whole thing is outlined below!
The Physical Environment
- Availability of Resources: Are there:
- A Lot of Resources?
- A Medium amount of Resources?
- Very Little Resources?
- Ease of Resource Obtainment: Are these Resources:
- Hard to get?
- Medium to get?
- Easy to get?
The Environment of Ideals
“Who are the Warrior Heroes and Villains of a Group?” asks Salmoni and Holmes-Eber.
At Mind at War.org, we add on to that question by asking: What is the “Combat Code” or ethos of a culture’s Warriors? What makes up the Identity of a culture’s Warriors?
To find out, we must first answer these questions:
- How do a culture’s Warriors view the Nature of Life?
- How do a culture’s Warriors view War?
- Normal and Good?
- Abnormal and Bad?
- What is the Main Goal of Warfare for a Warrior?
- To take something Physical?
- To keep something Physical?
- Honor: Love of Combat and Victory?
- How do a Culture’s Warriors fight?
- Confrontational (Hard Victory)?
- Predatory (Easy Victory)?
- Does it change in each of the realms of Strategy, Operations, and Tactics?
- How do a culture’s Warriors view their enemy?
- Do they like a tough foe to show off their own strength (i.e. Confrontational, Hard Victory)?
- Do they like a weak foe to juxtapose their strength (i.e. Predatory, Easy Victory)?
- How do a culture’s Warriors view their fellow Warriors on their own culture?
- Loyal Brothers-in-Arms?
- Back-Stabbing Potential Foes?
- How do a Culture’s Warriors view their leaders?
- First Among Equals based on greater bravery or skill?
- A Despot keeping them down that they have to eliminate to make it to the top?
- How do a Culture’s Warriors view the classes under them?
- Do Merchant and Peasants have Rights?
- Do Merchants and Peasants have no Rights?
- Can Merchants or Peasants join their ranks if they show they’ve got the right stuff?
- Are you strictly born into your role, no exceptions?
- How do a Culture’s Warriors view their women?
- Do they honor them as something special?
- Do they view them as worthless animals?
The Social Environment
There are 4 Universal Social Classes that all cultures have at some point in their existence. These are:
- The Priestly Class
- The Warrior Class
- The Merchant Class ( aka White Collar, Bourgeoisie, Middle Class)
- The Peasant Class (aka Blue Collar, Working Class, Slave Class, Peasants, Gatherers, Farmers, Workers)
The Political Environment
- Which of the 4 classes outlined above rule in the culture?
The Economic Environment
- How are resources distributed, dependent upon the Political Environment answered above?
YOU CAN USE IT NOW!
There it is…the entire 5 Point Operational Culture Checklist, originally created by Marine Corps University to save American lives, and improved upon by the present author here at Mind at War.org!
You can put it into action now…because at Mind at War.org, we sure are!
All of our future articles, videos, and books on anything dealing with humanity in all of its guts, glory, and wonder will be understood through this fantastic 5 Point Checklist!
So be on the look-out for more scholarly work from us…
And put the 5 Point Operational Culture Checklist into action in your own life today!
Salmoni, Barak A. and Holmes-Eber, Paula. Operational Culture for the Warfighter: Principles and Applications. Quantico, VA: Marine Corps University Press, 2011. 2nd Edition.