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The TRADOC Culture Center.


An important part of the ongoing transformation in the U.S. Army is its cultural awareness (CA) campaign, whereby the Army seeks to enhance soldiers' ability to understand and leverage cultural factors to accomplish the mission. If the early stages of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) provide an accurate foreshadowing of wars that the U.S. will fight in the coming years, then the need to understand foreign cultures takes on an unprecedented level of significance. Contemporary analysis increasingly identifies foreign populations as centers-of-gravity (COGs), which underscores the necessity of the CA initiative in the U.S. Army and military. (1) One important development to promote CA in the U.S. Army is the creation of the TRADOC Culture Center (TCC), located at the U.S. Army Intelligence Center (USAIC), at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. This article provides some basic information about the TCC, and how this unique organization serves the U.S. Army by providing the Force with relevant education on foreign cultures.


The TCC opened its doors in the summer of 2005. While the main purpose of the center is to support CA development and training, it also disseminates relevant cultural training, knowledge, and products across the Army (and potentially across the Department of Defense (DOD) in the future). (2) The vision for the Center includes cross-cultural training, education, research, collaboration among military and civilian scholars, and physical and virtual organizational features. Ultimately, as the TCC matures, it anticipates influencing the rise of new cultural centers across the Army and the DOD.

Its conceptual construct of how to leverage cultural knowledge to enhance military operations includes four levels of varying depth and understanding of a particular culture, ranging from initial entry soldiers at the lowest level to key military decisionmakers at the apex. (3) Some preliminary emerging charters of the center include:

* Production of Middle Eastern and South East Asian cultural products (with heavy emphasis on the Middle East).

* Development, refinement, and assessment of training standards.

* Development of proficient trainers.

* Ongoing virtual initiatives including a digital library and a cultural web site to support the "MI University" (University of Military Intelligence).

* Development of partnerships with military and civilian institutions that contribute to the Center.

Structure of the Center and its Branches

As figure one illustrates, the TCC's structure includes five sections. (4) The front office or headquarters supervises all aspects of the Center's missions and functions including overseeing critical training missions; assisting in developing and cultivating beneficial partner relationships; developing grant proposals; and determining requirements and associated research assignments for relevant present and future country and area studies. The Center falls under the Training, Development and Support (TDS) Division of the USAIC, and ultimately the Combined Arms Center (CAC), Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC).


The Cultural Training and Education Branch develops and provides cultural products to all customers to include USAIC courses, other TRADOC schools, Army units, DOD and National agencies, among others. Its main mission is to coordinate and train CA trainers ("Train-the-Trainer") and developers for its customers. This part of the Center manages trainers and instructors for classroom support; develops and exports distributive learning products; develops and assists in lesson plan development; and coordinates the exchange of cultural knowledge and training products with such partners as the Defense Language Institute (DLI) and the Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO).

The Language Center existed prior to the development of the TCC. Its charter includes providing language sustainment training opportunities for cadre and students; serving as a repository for foreign language literature; conducting language testing (such as the Defense Language Proficiency Test); sponsoring video-teleconferences that support language training, designing, and development; implementing language sustainment programs (some recent examples include the Iraqi Language Trainer and the Somali and Liberian Language Trainer Programs); maintaining close ties with DLI, and providing the rest of the TCC team with salient, language-oriented insights.

The Partnering Branch of the TCC develops collaborative relationships with a variety of military, government, academic, and civilian agencies for the purpose of developing grants and furthering the Center's purpose, mission, and vision. This branch seeks to build a synergistic team that simultaneously enhances the Center and also benefits professional allies. An example includes the building of alliances with foreign students attending USAIC schools, drawing on their expertise and insights. Other TCC partners include the University of Arizona; Georgetown University; Columbia University; TRADOC and CAC (including FMSO); New Mexico State University; Cochise County Community College; DLI; other Army branches and U.S. military services; the American, British, Canadian, and Australian (ABCA) Program; the Army Research Lab (ARL); other U.S. intelligence agencies; DA staff; the 300th MI Brigade, Utah National Guard; and Brigham Young University. This is not an exhaustive list, and the partnering branch continues to expand its associations and relationships to provide the Center and its customer base with cutting-edge research, knowledge, and ideas.

The Cross-cultural Applied Research and Dissemination Branch coordinates and conducts applied research for both current and anticipated future needs. Its main tasks include helping to generate funding in support of research and dissemination; serving as a repository of cultural materials; initiating the publication of a refereed journal of applied cultural research; coordinating and supervising the visiting scholars program; and providing support across the Center, particularly to the training and education branch.

The Center's Diverse and Talented Membership

A very unique and talented team with the ideal background and experiences propels the TCC forward in support of its purpose and vision. The Center's membership has sixteen CA experts and educational specialists--including 12 linguists; four members with doctorate degrees; many members with other advanced degrees; and combined military and civilian experiences in the Middle East that exceeds 100 years. (5) Some of the members are former interpreters; others are retired military officers. One is a former journalist, and many of the members speak Arabic and have extensive experiences living in the Middle East. Most of the TCC members are contractors.

Preliminary Accomplishments and Value-Added

The Center has already made significant progress in support of the Army's CA campaign. Recently, it arranged for an Imam affiliated with Georgetown University to brief USAIC on moderate interpretations of Islam, helping to bolster knowledge and CA about this important, salient topic. The Center has also developed common core standards and topics for all levels of professional military education (PME) and lesson objectives and classes enabling units across the Army to train soldiers in cultural issues that are paramount to winning the GWOT. The Center has expanded the development of Middle East and South East Asia cultural products (with emphasis on the Middle East, as figure 2 (6) indicates), and has made noteworthy progress on potential future CA needs, including development of products on Africa, among other emerging threats. The Center has provided mobile training teams (MTTs) Army wide to prepare CA trainers and soldiers preparing to deploy (see figure 3 (7)). Additionally, the Center has produced some creative and innovative educational ideas for practical exercise training through the use of CA video games to cater to the younger generation of soldiers' penchant for them. On the whole the TCC, despite the fact that it is still in its infancy, has provided value added in the realm of CA for the Force. The Center will continue to grow in size, scope, and mission set.

Present and Anticipated Challenges for the Culture Center

Preliminary insights from some Army battalion commanders whose soldiers received training from the TCC speak to some of the value added as well as some areas to target for refinement regarding the Center's operations. On the one hand, it seems that some commanders thought that the Center generally provided sufficient CA training for entry level soldiers, such as enlisted troops across the Army. The feedback indicated that the CA overview for junior enlisted soldiers provided relevant, important training on cultural factors that would help them in contemporary missions. On the other hand, at least one commander wished the Center provided more sophisticated and detailed country and even village specific cultural knowledge and factors for Army leaders (e.g., senior NCOs, chief warrant officers, and other officers). So it seems that the TCC's higher level training--intended for more senior military audiences--might benefit from some refinement to address this important customer feedback.

Some preliminary feedback also suggests that perhaps there is mild resistance to CA training. Specifically, one Quality Assurance training evaluator for the Army received feedback from a host of TRADOC installations that they did not have the time to conduct CA training due to an overwhelming host of training requirements to accomplish. So this resistance is not necessarily directed at the specific type of training but focuses rather on being over-tasked and therefore, CA training becomes difficult to find sufficient time to conduct. This finding points to a recurring reminder for Army commanders everywhere: the need to set unit priorities for training (especially pre-deployment training), and to seek sufficient, quality training on those tasks deemed most imperative. If organizations within TRADOC feel over-tasked with regard to accomplishing CA training, then it begs the question about whether sufficient hours and attention are dedicated to CA in PME across the Force. Again, if foreign populations increasingly constitute a COG in current and projected military operations, then CA training becomes of paramount importance, and therefore must receive adequate time and attention in order to truly become a force multiplier in the GWOT.


The TCC, with its focus on CA, is an important part of the Army's transformation. The Center has already demonstrated its value to the Force by creating and training solid CA classes on relevant cultures for PME, deploying units, and the Army at large. Like any new organization, it faces some preliminary challenges including securing long-term budgeting, additional resourcing to meet growing requests for CA support, and some refinement and expansion on regional analysis and associated classes. The Army benefits from the emergence of the TCC, and all members of the profession should tap into this valuable new institution that exists to serve and reinforce CA in the force.

How to Request Support from the Culture Center

Mr. Art Vigil ( is the Center's scheduler and point of contact regarding CA training. The Center's training schedule goes out to 18 months and fills up quite quickly. Please contact him at the earliest possible time to arrange pre-deployment training or other Center support. The Deputy Director hopes to expand the size of the Center in the near future so as to increase the Center's capacity to support all of its missions, including providing personnel to travel to Army installations worldwide in support of CA training.


(1.) Peter Chiarelli and Patrick Michaelis, "Winning the Peace: The Requirement for Full-Spectrum Operations," Military Review, July-August 2005, 6.

(2.) "USAIC Cultural Center Proposal." May 2005, produced by the US Army Intelligence Center, Fort Huachuca, Arizona. This information packet on the center provided the backbone for this section of the paper.

(3.) Ibid., 9-14. The description of the objective structure of the center stems from this document.

(4.) "The U.S. Army Intelligence Center Opens the TRADOC Culture Center," The Fort Huachuca Scout, Vol. 52: No. 6, February 9, 2006, A3.

(5.) Ibid., A3.

(6.) "Cultural Awareness Training in Common Core PME: Decision Brief to CG, CAC." September 14, 2005, 13-14. Figure Two comes from this briefing.

(7.) Ibid., 15. Figure Three comes from this briefing.

Editor's Note: This article printed with permission of Military Review.

Author's Note: I wish to thank Dr. Russell Watson and Mr. Peter Shaver from the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and Mr. Bruce Wood and Dr. Charles Morrison from the TRADOC Culture Center for their assistance, insights, and suggestions in the preparation of this article.

Major Remi Hajjar, MI, served as an assistant professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at the U.S. Military Academy (USMA) from 2002 to 2005. He holds a BA from the USMA and an MA in Sociology from Northwestern University. His research interests and publications have focused on culture, cultural diversity, military sociology, leadership, bureaucracy, intelligence, and education. He has served as a platoon leader, executive officer, company commander, intelligence officer, and intelligence instructor in assignments supporting the 25th Infantry Division (Light), Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, and the U.S. Army Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.
Figure 2. Developed Training Materials

Islam Overview and Culture of:

Cross Cultural Communication
Middle East Geography Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt,
Middle East History Jordan, Kurdish, Kuwait,
Arab Culture Lebanon, Oman, Syria, U.A.E.,
Tribalism in Afghanitan Iran, Turkey, Qatar,
Mujahadeen Tacticts in Afghanistan
U.S. National Security Strategy Shi'a Hierachy (The Ayatoallahs)
Empire of Liberty The Culture of Terrorism
Globalization Terrorism Overview
Saudi Arabia/Wahhabism Palestine Overview
Tribalism in Iraq
Iraq Overview and Culture
Tactical Application of Culture Knowledge
(Class and Practical Exercise)

Figure 3. Examples of CA Training

* 11th ACR Ft. Irwin Train the Troops 40 hours 11 to 22 October 2004
* Deploying Reserve Offices 40 hours 25 to 29 October
* Camp Shelby Train the Troops 8 hours 7 to 9 December
* Camp Bulls Train the Troops 8 hours 13 December
* Ft. Huachuca Train the Troops 16 hours 17 December
* Ft. Berring CRC Train the Troops 40 hours 9 to 21 January 2005
* Ft. Riley 3rd BCT Train the Troops 40 hours 17 to 21 January
* Ft. Stewart 1st 78th FA Train
 the Troops 40 hours 24 to 28 January
* Ft. Lewis Deploying GTMO unit 8 hours 11 February
* Ft. Knox TTT 40 hours 14 to 18 February
* Ft. Lewis Deploying GTMO unit 40 hours 28 February to 4 March
* Ft. Huachuca MICCC Train the Troops 8 hours 4 March
* Ft. Wainright Alaska Train the
 Troops 8 hours 21 to 23 March
* Ft. Knox TTT 40 hours 14 to 18 March
* 351st CA Cmd TTT 40 hours 4 to 8 April
* Ft. Huachuca NGB TTT 30 HOURS 11 to 13 April
* Camp Shelby Train the Troops 8 hours 18 April
* Ft. Huachuca 111th MI BDE TTT 40 hours 18 to 22 April
* Ft. Drum 10th Mt. Div Train
 the Troops 8 hours 18 April
* Ft. Hood 4th Bde 4th ID 40 hours 2 to 6 May
* Ft. Lee Combined Arms Support Cmd 40 hours 19 to 24 June
* Ft. Sill Field Artillery Center 40 hours 11 July to 15 July
* Patrick AFB Defense EO Management
 Inst 40 hours 25 July to 29 July
* Aberdeen Proving Ground 40 hours 8 to 12 August
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Author:Hajjar, Remi
Publication:Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin
Date:Apr 1, 2006
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