Fire, Ready, Aim: Developing Intercultural Skills during Officer Formal Education
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Fire, Ready, Aim: Developing Intercultural Skills during Officer Formal Education

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Michael D. Rothstein
246x189x3 mm

Recent operations in Iraq and Afghanistan underscore the assertion that the US military needs to be able to interact effectively across cultural boundaries. Consequently, there has been a significant effort to emphasize development of intercultural skills in Air Force (AF) professional military education (PME). This paper provides a vector check on recent efforts to energize intercultural curricula across the continuum of officer formal education. Specifically, it examines intercultural curricula at the US Air Force Academy (USAFA), Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), Officer Training School, Air and Space Basic Course (ASBC), Squadron Officers School (SOS), Air Command and Staff College (ACSC) and Air War College (AWC), analyzing how each program teaches subjects related to building officers intercultural skills namely in the areas of cultural awareness, regional understanding and foreign language competency. The author focused on core curricula, rather than optional or elective offerings, under the premise that core curricula best reflects institutional values and priorities in educating the mainstream officer. The methodology for the study was to examine each institutions plan for teaching culture, region and language in Academic Year 2007, noting changes from previous years based on leaderships direction to emphasize intercultural skills. To gather data, the author interviewed faculty and staff at all of the institutions, reviewed applicable lesson plans and consulted experts in the field. Given the picture of what will be taught across the continuum of education, the analysis endeavors to compare the anticipated product against the perceived expectations. In other words, what will be taught in Academic Year 2007, and does it adequately address the perceived need?

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