Navigating through the Challenge of Culture and Law in Postconflict Stability Operations

Lt. Col. John B. (J. B.) Shattuck, U.S. Army, Retired

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A member from the Iraqi security forces beats an Islamic State insurgent who was captured 1 April 2015 in Tikrit, Iraq. Iraqi troops and Shi’ite paramilitary fighters were battling Islamic State forces in northern Tikrit, which officials described as the Sunni Muslim militant group’s last stronghold in the city. (Photo by Alaa Al-Marjani, Reuters)

Long-term, postconflict stability operations will always be a challenge; complicate the situation with an insurgency and the difficulty of the challenge is further elevated. Critical to meeting this challenge during stability operations is promoting the development of legal institutions, particularly law enforcement, to establish rule of law. This will sound familiar for many who have been deployed over the last sixteen years. Still, there is cultural friction when attempting to understand what rule of law is, what it means, and how it should be applied. Consequently, it is imperative that we recognize understanding our own cultural perspectives and the cultural foundation from which they grow as a prerequisite for attempts to influence others in their perspectives regarding appropriate law enforcement.

There are many examples of short-term, mission-specific task forces manned by specialists that have established a track record for stability mission success in operations with limited and discrete objectives. Among these are the Ebola relief effort in West Africa, the earthquake relief effort in Haiti, and the counterpiracy efforts in East Africa.1 However, long-term rebuilding of a conquered nation is an entirely different challenge.

During any stability operation, we (U.S. military members) make an honest attempt to learn all about the culture of the people in the affected region. Routinely, however, there is a lack of effort to gain greater understanding with regard to our own cultural perceptions. Consequently, without effective efforts to obtain introspective knowledge of ourselves and our own culture, we are ill prepared to anticipate the cultural friction points we will encounter when we try to influence, or impose, a law enforcement system on a very different culture.

In stability operations that include efforts to change law enforcement perceptions and methods, a key point of cultural concern is an understanding of the prevailing legal traditions of the occupied society, including how they police themselves. Without such understanding, the most important aspects that need to be changed may be overlooked. This may result in training that focuses on the comfortable and familiar routine of teaching and improving law enforcement skills and techniques rather than the more vital efforts to change attitudes and values. Such a circumstance presents the danger of reinforcing, or even empowering, the worst aspects of those segments of the military involved in internal security, and may simply be conducive to instituting a perpetual state of oppressive martial law once the training mission is complete.

In any case, changing cultural attitudes and values is no easy task, and it is well understood that within stability operations it will be tough to effectively establish normalcy ruled by law even backed by knowledge of institutions that need to be modified or newly established. However, prepared or not, the task will fall on the shoulders of the ground maneuver forces. A study by the U.S. Army’s Strategic Studies Institute concluded that

Post-war planning cannot be separated from war planning. All phases of the war need to be coordinated to work towards the same end … ground forces need to be prepared to take on stabilization and reconstruction tasks after the conflict. Only they are able to do it in the immediate aftermath of the conflict because of the power vacuum. They must be given the proper training to handle these tasks.2

Our recent history of organizing and training for stability in long-term, postconflict scenarios in Iraq and Afghanistan, both complicated by an insurgency, demonstrate mixed results at the tactical level. Moreover, with the downsizing of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, we seem to have given up on the separate advisor effort under its own authorities, such as Multi-National Security Transition Command–Iraq. Or, if not given up, then we have pushed them into the background and focused efforts on advise-and-assist brigades (AABs).

Nevertheless, for all such engagements and operations, the challenge is determining where the most gain is made in the limited training time available. Well before any deployment announcements are made, training needs to begin on this basic fundamental: understanding our own culture in a way that is conducive to a deeper understanding of the role of civil law in society generally.

Cultural Preparation

Unfortunately, such essential preparation is not being accomplished: teaching one’s own culture as a platform for understanding other cultures is now not normally done. As a consequence, it is pretty tough to identify points of cultural friction without a shared understanding of the differences between one’s own culture and that of others.

To familiarize our troops with foreign cultures, we set up language labs, provide computer-aided culture instruction, and hire foreign expatriates with cultural experience in a given operational area to teach us about that prevailing culture from their perspective (a mistake, but more on that later). Additionally, the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Culture Center (TCC) can launch mobile training teams prepared to teach any culture in the world. But, unfortunately, among all such training, the segments on self-awareness of one’s own culture, together with cultural empathy and perspective, are usually deleted in the push for predeployment preparation and skills training.3

We normally do not identify who we are culturally or develop even modest awareness of how our culture may potentially conflict with the target culture of interest. As a result, a stability force is often sent in that understands surface culture practices and issues but stumbles clumsily through a landscape of deeper cultural issues. Much of this stumbling about is unintentional ignorance that stems from lack of effort to understand how we are different.

As previously mentioned, expatriate foreign personnel with experience in a specific operational area are commonly hired to provide cultural insight to soldiers preparing to deploy into that area. While hiring a foreign expatriate culture instructor sounds like a good idea, there is significant potential for getting highly biased or parochial instructors who lack true cultural expertise. Many appear to speak authoritatively from personal localized experience with one segment of a population, but lack the broader, formal scope of cultural knowledge that may include knowing where family, local, and regional culture ends and national culture begins. This problem can be highlighted by imagining that a U.S. expatriate overseas was asked to provide cultural insight to persons preparing to come to the United States on some of kind of relief mission. Obviously, there are many certain generalized observations the expatriate could make about his or her culture from his or her own experience, but there is also the risk of deceptively overgeneralizing that experience for the entire population across the entire nation. To illustrate, a white male from New England and an African American female from the Deep South may have certain common cultural traits and experiences as American citizens but would have significantly different cultural experiences at the family, local, and regional levels. It requires a culturally well-educated expatriate to identify common cultural traits and also to distinguish them for their students from local and regional traits.

Iraqi army soldiers look on as U.S. soldiers use a sand table to demonstrate how to react to an ambush 24 March 2015 during a training exercise at a training area on Camp Taji, Iraq. (Photo by Sgt. Cody Quinn, U.S. Army)

So, who should instruct us on our own culture? For the long term, training doctrine and “research efforts must include a greater investment in the human and behavioral sciences.”4 As noted previously, the TCC can provide mobile training teams. In addition, cultural anthropologists could be contracted from local universities, and there are also a limited number of applied anthropologists who work outside of academe as culture advisors who may be available for hire.

Also, in the absence of true cultural experts, as a remedial measure, it may be possible to pool human resources in a unit sufficient to “teach oneself.” In the current environment, there may be enough members in the organization who have spent sufficient time engaging at a cultural level with foreign personnel in a stability environment to provide useful and meaningful insight gained from the experience of being an outsider looking in.

Insight into Our Own Culture

So what are the salient elements of our own culture about which we must be aware? There are volumes written about American, North American, and Western cultures, but a few points are particularly salient. Among the most important, a general trait of American culture is the tendency to see only two sides to any issue—black and white, red and blue, cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, Hatfields and McCoys, home team and visitors, winner and losers, etc.

This tendency is reflected in the multiplicity of recreational sports competitions in the United States. Given enough contestants, these competitions are organized into a schedule of one-on-one contests and called a tournament that must culminate with a winner. The black and white dichotomy is also reflected in the U.S. political system. Unlike European parliamentary systems, which routinely encompass numerous political parties, our two-party political system generally eschews multiple parties, and relegates third-party candidates into the outsider or spoiler role. These examples help illustrate that we in the United States have a distinct cultural inclination to categorize all parties as either “my team” or “the other team.” The proclivity to see the world in two camps pitted against each other obscures our cultural perception when we encounter a collectivist society that encompasses many tribes, families, sects, and groups; all with their own positions, goals, and plans.

For example, tribal leaders in the Middle East seem to enjoy intrigue and complex dealings, negotiations of assistance and support set amidst a kaleidoscope of shifting alliances. When we attempt to place such leaders in a Western-style taxonomy—sorting individuals and groups into black, white, and gray lists—understanding the relationships of these to each other and attempting to categorize reliable loyalties makes heads spin.

Most troubling to U.S. operatives is the gray list. It is normally populated by persons whose loyalties are unclear to us, or who are in the process of shifting allegiances—a frequent and completely accepted cultural occurrence in some areas. Although a conflict in such a cultural environment may seem to be red versus blue, almost everyone in that environment seems to be a shade of purple. Unfortunately, a typical reaction among U.S. planners operating under their own cultural perceptions has been to group the mostly reddish purple into the red team and the mostly bluish purple into the blue team and be done with it. The end result is a mix of groups that are neither as hostile nor as friendly as the Western-style categorization into groups would lead some to believe.

Experience has shown that operating under a culturally inflexible blue-red construct without nuanced understanding of each part of the whole has often created more adversaries than existed when an operation originally began, and has sometimes led to U.S forces being exploited by self-labeled friends. Furthermore, once a clear understanding is obtained, the entire rest of a tour may be spent trying to get alienated true third-party groups under control and onboard with the end goal.

Additionally, as a strategy against cultural oversimplification, some nongovernmental organizations, such as Doctors Without Borders, deliberately maintain their independence. This confounds unit leaders who cannot seem to brook these wildcards out there following their own agenda.5

Avoiding the Pitfall of Ethnocentricity

We humans tend toward an ethnocentric view of the world—seeing and evaluating the world around us through the lens of our own experience and culture. One result is that we work under the assumption that the way we learned to do things is the only correct way.6 In the military, this ethnocentric proclivity is exacerbated by a predilection toward the kind of excessive pride, esprit de corps, and euphoria stemming from the experience of having already defeated the host-nation armed forces prior to the postconflict stability period. We assume a level of cultural superiority on our own part and a level of cultural mediocrity on the part of host-nation forces. However, such inflated views can blind us to the reality of events and circumstances on the ground, undermine stability operations, and lead to mission failure in circumstances where clarity of cultural vision is imperative.

Looking a little deeper within, our Declaration of Independence provides a glimpse into our core values and beliefs.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.7

The fundamental belief in equality among people appears so engrained in the aspirations of the writers of the Declaration of Independence that they felt unburdened to provide proof; they perceived that it was so obvious as to be self-evident. And, there is no more clearer statement of the basic American values that now underpin our national consciousness and behavior. Admittedly, it took some time for these core values to permeate American society and become fundamental cultural mores for all U.S. ethnicities and genders; moreover, there is still room to grow in some respects. Nevertheless, the John Locke-inspired ontological vision provided by the Declaration is the basis for our national narrative and cultural faith in a class-free society.8 Holding this concept of class-free equality, Americans appear to generally share the belief that a level playing field is necessary to allow each individual to rise as far as his or her own talent and drive will take them. This is further reflected in the passing of laws and policies aimed at establishing equal rights, as well as in the establishment of monitoring agencies such as equal opportunity offices to ensure that the measures put in place to advance equality are being enforced.

In contrast, the antithesis of the ontological society with its focus on equality, natural rights, and right to the opportunity for individual advancement through merit is the collectivist society. In collectivist tribal societies, social advancement occurs through patronage rather than through individual merit. Such patronage is a common custom, particularly in the Middle East.

Without the benefit of broad cultural understanding, U.S. military operatives see patronage as antithetical to the level playing field of opportunity they are trying to promote, and they normally categorize it as a type of corruption. U.S. planners often make the further mistake of assuming others in a society are as empowered culturally as we are to make individual choices. Nurtured in a culture where all have the opportunity to rise as far as their talent and drive will take them, we naturally assume this is a universal social reality. However, this cultural sense of individual empowerment does not exist in many foreign cultures. In the eyes of his or her superior, a foreign police officer or soldier may not be considered to be anything more than obedient and docile manpower that exists to serve his or her superior. In such circumstances, individual initiative may be regarded as an actual threat to the existing order; it may even be punishable. As such, some foreign soldiers would never dream of taking the same initiative we expect to see in our own young soldiers. Therefore, without a refined cultural awareness of why initiative is discouraged in some societies, lack thereof may serve to reinforce perceptions of mediocrity in the foreign force.

Motivations, cultural biases, and differences in expectations affect mission accomplishment. In nearly all stability or postconflict resolution efforts, there is a mission-related need to influence, motivate, and shape attitudes and capability in order to complete the overall mission and depart. In attempting to influence behaviors, we have often focused on the differences between what we consider acceptable behavior as opposed to what a local tribe, clan, or unit may think. In approaching the issue as an adversary trying to impose our perceptions and values on a society, we lose the opportunity to find and expand on common ground as we focus on dissimilar values. It is essential therefore to find common ground if we are to move forward.

The Boundaries and Limits of Behavior

When building a methodology for stability operations, it is essential to refine both the limits of tolerance as well as the space for cultural diversity of activity. The art of cultural engagement is navigating through unacceptable behavior and deciding what cannot be tolerated, what can be influenced over time, and what will just have to be accepted as part of the cultural landscape. Beyond the range of acceptable behavior is the realm of what we cannot tolerate during stability operations; this unacceptable behavior conflicts with our core values and beliefs (see figure 1).

Figure 1. Conflicting Behavior with Core Values and Beliefs Behavior Concept (Graphic by author)

In this model, behavioral limits as well as freedom of action can be estimated. When two groups come into contact that share very similar core values and beliefs, the shared range of acceptable behavior is quite large (figure 2). Conversely, the area of conflictive behavior is small and at each other’s cultural periphery of the acceptable or unacceptable. Any conflict between red and blue is a periphery issue that is easily resolved without cutting close to the core values and beliefs.

Figure 2. Core Values Closely Aligned (Graphic by author)

A much greater and more common problem for blue exists when a group with very different core values and beliefs is encountered. A much smaller area of commonly acceptable behavior is seen in figure 3. In addition, some of the unacceptable behavior is close to the other group’s core values and beliefs. Just to create a hypothetical example, treatment of dogs as a ceremonial food source might be unacceptable behavior to blue but may be a religious ceremony and fall in very close to fundamental beliefs and values in the red acceptable behavior zone.

Figure 3. Core Values and Beliefs Widely Divergent (Graphic by author)

When red is a group that we find we must influence, our typical focus is on mitigating what we regard as the unacceptable behaviors inside the range of what they regard as culturally acceptable behavior. However, engagement aimed at changing a culturally accepted behavior often causes resentment and indignation, and it can polarize and drive the core values and beliefs of the two groups even further apart.

Where efforts should focus is on shared values, beliefs, and acceptable behaviors, particularly those shared acceptable behaviors close to the red core. This will serve to bring core values closer together over time, bringing more red behaviors into an acceptable zone while bridging divergence. In this construct, some unacceptable behavior must be tolerated, at least for a time, in order to influence, motivate, and shape attitudes over time. For example, over time, the practice of ceremonial dog meals may drift toward the periphery of red’s acceptable behavior, find less adherents to the ceremony, and become less of an issue; however, it is unlikely to ever disappear entirely.

The Martial Law-Civil Law Conundrum

A significant application of the art of cultural navigation is the cultural understanding it takes to simply stand up the agencies of normalcy and restore essential services to a functioning civil authority. The most significant of these services is a functioning law enforcement system. The restoration of other services can be more easily established once civil authorities have control of law and order. The institutions of law enforcement include police, judiciary, and corrections; referred to as the civil authority triad.9 A significant challenge is to understand the cultural underpinnings of civil authority that provide policing as they relate to law enforcement systems operating within a cultural context to support civil authorities.

Let’s face it; many may not understand civil law or the rule of law. As a military force, we establish martial law when trying to bring order to areas we control. During a deployment to Iraq on an advisor mission, I heard a colonel serving as the division judge advocate general state that we had no definition for rule of law, but he would describe it as an absence of chaos. To be fair to the colonel, if the definition of rule of law is googled, a long list of subtle variations is found, including “rule according to law; rule under law; or rule according to a higher law.”10 In practice, we typically establish local legal authorities to process and imprison detainees, and are not looking to establish a host-nation legal system to be subservient to. Therein lies a quandary: how is rule of law established if we are unwilling to be ruled by the rule of law institutions we establish? It is a deeper challenge than one may first realize as, like cultural baggage, there are learned legal norms that people are normally not even aware of. Without realizing it, U.S. forces often maneuver about the hard-won territory newly under their control while demonstrating ignorance of and irreverence for the local legal systems they want to emplace. In order to engender the type of respect toward the rule of law we want to develop, it is imperative we ask ourselves what example are we setting, and what lessons are we teaching to those who are standing up and partnering with us?

Further complicating matters is that staff legal expertise necessary to guide the development of law enforcement capability is often directed to other efforts. For example, how often are staff judge advocate officers assigned as a primary mission to become experts in host-nation legal code? Instead, they are often kept occupied with processing damage claims, trying Uniform Code of Military Justice cases, or acting as liaison officers in the civil-military operations center. In Iraq, “major problems ensued because so many international specialists did not understand the Iraqi criminal justice system and the policies, procedures, and nuances required to make things happen in an appropriate fashion.”11 With no shared definition of rule of law and ignorance of the local criminal justice system, it should be no surprise that there are challenges to establishing a professional police force.

At the brigade-combat-team level, the only organic military police are the provost marshal (a captain) and two noncommissioned officers.12 But, in postconflict, if not sooner, military leaders will find themselves with the task to establish security and rule of law, which then requires them to understand the fundamentals of local policing as it may be some time before professional policing advisors arrive.

In Iraq’s second largest city, only three … police officers were deployed … from June to December 2003. Thousands of military troops were tasked with police training and police tasks and were given inappropriate responsibilities and roles.13

As uneducated as we may remain in host-nation criminal systems, our knowledge of policing and of police primacy is just as low. Again in Iraq, “there was no police primacy or primacy of rule of law strategy in Iraq; there was instead a military-led and military-dominated attempt at enforcing law and order.”14

The difference between enforcing law and order (absence of chaos) and policing is a topic beyond the normal professional education and experience of the great majority of military leaders. Military leaders will need to overcome this deficit in order to be successful in establishing effective police forces in future postconflict stability operations.

Far too often it is thought that local police are some kind of light infantry with a badge. Indeed, I have heard well-intended leaders explain the lengths to which they had to go to camouflage an invited police unit at a live-fire training event. It took time to explain why it was inappropriate to camouflage a police unit, as well as to explain the concept of the police identifying themselves as representatives of civil authority versus the concept of a military force conducting operations under the law of land warfare in armed conflict.

Additionally, there is a challenge in enforcing law and order, as we are shaped by our military experience and training. To counter an adversary, intelligence is used to predict future action. Law enforcement will use evidence to prove misconduct to hold an individual accountable. As military strategists, gaps in knowledge are inconsequential as long as there is enough to counter an adversary. However, knowledge gaps in a law enforcement investigation represent reasonable doubt in an alleged criminal’s guilt. For example, in 2011, our unit captured an individual with rocket launcher rails in the back of his vehicle. He was turned over to the local police and there were high-fives all around. During the military analysis there was enough information to know that we had a bad guy; if he was not launching rockets, he was at least supporting those who were. However, the first questions the investigating judge asked were what rocket did he launch? What damage or injury is he responsible for? With the case incomplete, the individual was released, and only a prediction of this outcome helped stem our normal conclusion from a judicial action like this: “the judge must be corrupt.”

Corruption, bribery, kickbacks, inducements, payoffs, and the like; infiltration by those loyal to an insurgency; or loyalty to anything other than the civil authority from which the police’s authority comes is even worse. It all exists and challenges the establishment of a professional police force. It is extremely difficult, however, to gaze through the lens of cultural baggage and law enforcement ignorance, and see it accurately.

In 2006, while serving as an advisor to a National Police unit in Baghdad, Iraq, a teammate and I observed two sheikhs arrive for a meeting with a senior national police leader. Knowing these two sheikhs were from a tribe hostile to coalition interests, we followed, curious as to why they would be there. In the meeting that followed, a detainee (clearly from a family of importance within the tribe) confessed to his sheikh that yes, he had committed a number of crimes. With that confession, the national police leader restored the familial honor that was lost by the detention; the hostile sheikh was no longer honor-bound to seek retribution against the police. To the advisors, it was an amazing example of cultural maneuver. However, three days later, the loyalty of the police official was in question as a report of his secret meeting with hostile sheikhs was distributed—never mind that we were in the room for this allegedly secret meeting. For the most part, the author of that report had accurate information, he was simply culturally ignorant and misinterpreted events in his analysis. He could not imagine a loyal member of the blue team meeting with the red team other than to negotiate terms of red team’s surrender. From the cultural stand point of the individual who prepared the report, there are no meetings with adversaries until after they are defeated.

Staff Sgt. Damian Remijio instructs an Iraqi National Police (NP) officer assigned to the 3rd NP Brigade, 1st NP Division, to keep his sights on a door during a training event 24 June 2009 at Forward Operating Base Hammer, located outside of eastern Baghdad, Iraq. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Alex Licea, U.S. Army)


First, recognizing how valuable training time is, simple awareness on the part of maneuver leaders can go a long way. Leaders with a sense of empathy, maturity, respect, humility, a sense of humor, and a desire to learn can overcome a great deal as they become versed in local customs, particularly if they are aware of their own cultural knowledge shortcomings. Staff specialists such as the judge advocates, provost marshals, civil affairs officers, and chaplains can educate themselves in the appropriate cultural institutions and then apply cultural expertise to decision making. Additionally, long before the announcement of a deployment in support of a postconflict stability operation, individuals and units can invest available time to learn more about their own culture, the significance of martial versus civil law, and some of the principles of policing. These same topics should be added to the professional military education curriculum.

Photo of Maj. Andrei Alexandrovich Kyzylo

Maj. Andrei Alexandrovich Kyzylo

May 2, 1993 –
January 29, 2017

Extract from a Letter to the Editor

(Editor’s note: We publish this extract and photo as a reminder that our allies also make heavy sacrifices during armed conflict to preserve their freedom.)

Author Victor Morris (“Complex Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield in Ukrainian Antiterrorism Operations,” Military Review 97, no. 1, January-February 2017) recently contacted our staff to inform us that the subject of a photo that accompanied his article, then Ukrainian Army Capt. Andrei Kyzylo, was killed in action while fighting separatists in the Donetsk region of Ukraine. Morris wrote:

I’m writing because I respect and trust Military Review. Andrei, pictured in our January Complex IPB article, was killed in action on 29 January 2017. … He was killed in Avdiivka, eastern Ukraine (23 years old). I sent him the article draft right before Christmas because he was the best student and we highlighted him. I wanted him to be proud. Lastly, as a joint and multinational force, we are that much stronger, but our personal losses are greater. Andrei will be missed. Sorry for the somber news.

Complex Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield in Ukrainian Antiterrorism Operations Article Image

Next, avoid what can be called the “Dorothy Trap” by continually assessing who potential friends and adversaries are, why they are, and who is none of the above. Remember Dorothy? She lands her utility house in LZ Munchkin in the land of Oz, accidentally killing a local faction leader and unknowingly taking a priceless heirloom, and wonders why the Wicked Witch of the West (who she learns from her “friends” is evil) seems so angry with her. She is sent by the Wizard of Oz to recover the broom of the witch; a suicide mission, and the propaganda section probably has the story of the martyrdom of the brave foreign fighter from Kansas all ready to go. Even after the wizard is revealed to be a charlatan, he is still on the “friend” list. It is only after the bungled personnel recovery mission that the “good” witch drops the little bombshell that Dorothy had the means to go home all along. She blunders through Oz making enemies, is used by her friends, and never seems to be aware of any of it.15 How often have some of the same mistakes been made by U.S. forces during postconflict stability operations?

We ultimately must gain cultural understanding—first of ourselves and then of future cultures-in-conflict as crisis events unfold. This understanding must not be only of surface differences; it must include a deeper mastery of skills such as those instructed by the TCC on collective sources of identity, communication norms, engaging and influencing the local populace, and negotiating within the context of their culture. The fundamental values and mindsets in those cultures must also be learned, but the urge to hire foreign expatriates to teach their own culture must be resisted. Leaders need to learn to accept the range of purple-hued neutrals, and to focus on shared values and acceptable behaviors in order to align the interests of many purple, disparate groups with our own.

Leaders will have to understand martial versus civil law, and the law enforcement, judiciary, and corrections institutions necessary to turn control and authority for internal security over to a host-nation’s own law enforcement. Next, the host-nation’s military will need to be trained to protect the territorial integrity of the nation rather than maintaining internal order in a perpetual state of martial law.

Finally, well before knowing where the next deployment is, time can be dedicated to studying one’s own culture; in that way, half of the cultures with which one has to contend is already well understood upon arrival.


  1. Luis Martinez, “U.S. Military to End Ebola Relief Mission in Liberia,” ABC News website, 10 February 2015, accessed 27 December 2016,; Gary Cecchine et al., The U.S. Military Response to the 2010 Haiti Earthquake: Considerations for Army Leaders (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Arroyo Center, 2013), accessed 27 December 2016,; NATO, “Counter-Piracy Operations (Archived),” NATO website, last modified 19 December 2016, accessed 27 December 2016,
  2. Kate Phillips, Shane Lauth, and Erin Schenck, U.S. Military Operations in Iraq: Planning, Combat, and Occupation, ed. W. Andrew Terrill (Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, April 2006), 15, accessed 27 December 2016,
  3. Dr. Marilyn Willis-Grider, Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Culture Center (TCC) deputy director, and Alberto J. Lopez, TCC operations, discussion with the author, 12 July 2016. TCC’s training team availability and culture training menus are available via phone and e-mail distribution.
  4. TRADOC Pamphlet 525-3-7, The U.S. Army Human Dimension Concept (Fort Eutis, VA: TRADOC, 21 May 2014), 7.
  5. “Charter,” Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières website, accessed 27 December 2016,
  6. Graphic Training Aid 21-03-022, Culture Cards: Afghanistan & Islamic Culture (Fort Benning, GA: Maneuver Center of Excellence [MCoE], September 2011), 10.
  7. “America’s Founding Documents,” National Archives and Records Administration website, last modified 12 October 2016, accessed 27 December 2016,
  8. Patrick J. Connolly, “John Locke (1632–1704),” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy website, accessed 27 December 2016,
  9. Field Manual 3-39, Military Police Operations (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Publishing Office, 26 August 2013), para. 3-23, p. 3-7.
  10. Jeffrey Lehman and Shirelle Phelps, eds., West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, 2nd ed. (2008), quoted in The Free Dictionary, s.v. “Rule of Law,” accessed 27 December 2016,
  11. Stephen White, Police Primacy (Washington, DC: International Network to Promote the Rule of Law, June 2014), 40.
  12. MCoE Supplemental Manual 3-90, Force Structure Reference Data (Fort Benning, GA: MCoE, September 2012), 15.
  13. White, Police Primacy, 40.
  14. Ibid., 41.
  15. The events described are an alternate interpretation and military application of the events portrayed in the movie The Wizard of Oz, directed by Victor Fleming (Beverly Hills, CA: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1939). An alternate interpretation is inspired by the Broadway play Wicked.
Lt. Col. John B. (J. B.) Shattuck, U.S. Army, retired, holds a BS from the United States Military Academy and an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University. During his military career, he deployed to Iraq twice, and to Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Haiti, and Bosnia.

July-August 2017