Anna Simons' work is always worth reading. I think this paper should be read in all Professional Military Education (PME) programs. The full 64 page report can be downloaded at the link below.
21st Century Cultures of War: Advantage Them
Anna Simons is a Professor of Defense Analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School. She is the author of Networks of Dissolution: Somalia Undone and The Company They Keep: Life Inside the U.S. Army Special Forces. Most recently she is the co-author of The Sovereignty Solution: A Commonsense Approach to Global Security. Simons' focus has been on conflict, intervention, and the military from an anthropological perspective. Her work examines ties that bind members of groups together as well as divides which drive groups apart. She holds a PhD in social anthropology from Harvard University and an A.B. from Harvard College.
In the inaugural launch of the FPRI’s new e-publication, The Philadelphia Papers, the anthropologist Anna Simons of the Defense Analysis department at the Naval Postgraduate School, and member of the Orbis Board of Editors, provocatively assesses cultures of war in the 21stcentury. She cautions that while the United States military increasingly dazzles in the technological realm, we remain at a marked disadvantage when it comes to social relations, chronically underestimating the sophistication of adversaries and allies in the (non-East Asian) non-West. This asymmetry, to include who is willing to do what to whom, puts our soldiers, diplomats, and intelligence communities at a distinct disadvantage. She argues that the U.S. needs to take this into account as it rethinks how to wage war, never mind whether to become involved in the kinds of ambiguous political-military conflicts we have engaged in over the past decade. Indeed, without a greater appreciation for the social and anti-social skills of likely future adversaries, current problems plaguing our military -– from PTSD through questionable generalship -- will only worsen over time.
(Full report at the link below)