PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. .-- On June 30 and July 1, nearly 100 DOD and government leaders, practitioners, operators, and researchers joined together at the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) to discuss the importance of Cross-Cultural Competence (3C) relating to the effectiveness of our Total Force.
Cross-Cultural Competence refers to the capability one possesses to effectively interact with others from different cultures or background regardless of the culture to which they must adapt. The idea is to provide a more culturally adaptive military and civilian force. This cultural adeptness and adaptability refers not only to interactions within the international context, but is also a vital performance determinant for effective leadership and teamwork within our own diverse organizations.
The event was a Defense Department symposium with the theme of, “The Role of Cross-Cultural Competence (3C) in Organizational and Mission Success.”
The event was co-sponsored by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and the U.S. Air Force. The Personnel and Readiness sponsor was Mrs. Gail McGinn, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Plans), performing the duties of the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness). Although she is currently performing the duties of the P&R position, her other job is the Defense Department’s Senior Language Authority—responsible for overseeing the Defense Language and Culture program. This experience has given Mrs. McGinn the opportunity to see first-hand the importance of understanding the impact of cultural diversity in virtually everything DOD does.
“The Services have been working on the importance of cultural capabilities for our Total Force for several years, and I applaud them for taking the initiative to provide the requisite training and education for their members in order to meet their operational requirements,” said Mrs. McGinn. “However, this symposium offers us a unique opportunity to take stock of what is already being done, to identify those best practices that have proven their worth on both the training fields and the battlefields, and to build on those successes to address the challenges and opportunities of today’s global security environment,” she said.
The senior military leader and U.S. Air Force co-sponsor was Air Force Lt. Gen. (sel) Robert R. Allardice, the Director of Strategy, Plans and Policy, Headquarters U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.
The general addressed what he views the role that 3C plays in today’s military.
“As we engage in the world today, much like we have the past couple of centuries, our capacity to identify the challenges in each individual culture; to be able to interact within; and then embrace the challenges of the day to create an effect requires us to understand the culture of both the target country and our own culture so that we can better be able to accomplish what we need,” Gen. Allardice said. Our purpose here is to identify the competencies required at each level of the military for us to train as we prepare to better interact as we embrace foreign cultures.”
One of the DOD’s leading researchers in the area of cross-cultural competency today is Dr. Daniel P. McDonald, who is the Executive Director for DEOMI’s Research, Development and Strategic Initiatives. He believes that this event held at DEOMI was the perfect forum to bring the Services and DOD together in order to forge the strategic way ahead.
“We socialized the concept of 3C with the senior leadership, practitioners and scientists in attendance, by defining how 3C can impact our organizational and operational successes. The group also discussed the synergistic relationship of 3C to EO/EEO and Diversity Management initiatives, and the development of language proficiency and regional expertise. Discussion also centered on the role of 3C in DOD and Interagency concepts and operations such as Irregular Warfare and Counterinsurgency Operations, to name a few,” Dr. McDonald said.
“On the second day, symposium attendees were organized into working groups to capture their ideas regarding how 3C may best be institutionalized across the DOD processes as a mission-critical capability. Implementation strategies such as research, education, training, and leadership development were examined,” noted Dr. McDonald.
“We had the right mix of people at the table to present ideas for how 3C may be integrated into our human capital strategies and practices in order to ensure a more adaptive, culturally capable, future force.”
PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Lt. Gen. (Sel.) Robert Allardice, Director, Strategy, Plans and Policy, Headquarters U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., discusses his personal experiences concerning cross-cultural differences he has encountered during the performance of his duties for CENTCOM. (DEOMI Photo/Mr. Bryan Ripple)
PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Senior DOD leadership including Ms. Nancy Weaver, Director of the Defense Language Office (third from right), Lt. Gen. (sel.) Robert R. Allardice, Director, Strategy, Plans and Policy, Headquarters U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., and Mrs. Gail H. McGinn participate in a Air Force/DOD co-sponsored symposium to discuss and analyze Total Force Cross-Cultural Competence June 30 at the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute. (DEOMI Photo/Mr. Bryan Ripple)
PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Navy Captain Kathlene Contres welcomes those in attendance at the Cross-Cultural Competence Symposium held at the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) June 30 and July 1. Information gathered at the symposium will help members of the Total Force, both military and civilian in being better prepared to conduct their missions in today's culturally complex environments around the world. (DEOMI Photo/Mr. Bryan Ripple)