Posted: 09/04/2017
One question that I find interesting when discussing the integration of culture in the planning process is our allocation of both mental and physical resources in military planning with regards to understanding the operational environment. I would argue that from a perspective of understanding the complexity of the environment we tend to focus the majority of our resources both mental and physical on understanding the enemy ( the red terrain). This tendency results in a lack of understanding the surrounding society and how the enemy relates to the surrounding society. This in my perspective is a result of primarily two things. 1) An inherent tradition in military thinking on defeating the identified enemy. This is what the military instrument is used for and thus our primary task in any operation and our main focus. This I see that that US LTG Flynn also argues for in his article, Fixing Intel, A blueprint for making intelligence relevant in Afghanistan (Flynn 2010). Here Flynn points to the need for a change in mindset amongst military personnel and that military forces tends to focus on the immediate threat and collecting information in relation to that and thus to some extend neglecting information collection and analysis of the surrounding society. Even though Flynn in an interview in PRISM 4 no 4 in 2014 argued that we are over the hurdle of culture I would argue that the change in the military mindset has not been that fundamental. 2) The other argument I will put forward is how the structure we plan (and think) operations in to some extend affects what knowledge we seek in our initial understanding of the operational environment that forms our perception of what is going on. The phases which we normally think operations in is, deploying, shaping, offensive, stability, transition and exit. This way of thinking adds to our tendency to focus on collecting and analyzing the enemy as shaping and offensive action is focused on actions against the enemy. I have observed that when the stability phase is close then knowledge about the society becomes interesting and not before. With the above I would like to invite you to respond to my arguments and conclusion. looking forward to seeing you all in Copenhagen. Best CDR (N) Poul Martin Linnet