from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2011, Issue No. 101
October 27, 2011
Secrecy News Blog: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/
- ARMY SEEKS TO PROMOTE CULTURAL LITERACY
- ARMY WEAPON SYSTEMS 2012
- AFGHANISTAN WAR CASUALTIES, AND MORE FROM CRS
ARMY SEEKS TO PROMOTE CULTURAL LITERACY
A new U.S. Army publication invites American soldiers to ponder the role of cultural factors in shaping perception and action.
"Analyze this statement: 'The English drive on the wrong side of the road'."This is not a purely theoretical exercise, but is intended to support the Army's counterinsurgency role in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
"In some Islamic countries women wear burkas. Who is advantaged and who is disadvantaged by this?"
"Why do you think major religious traditions tend to have a plain version and a more mystical version?"
"What do television commercials tell us about American culture?"
"Soldiers must understand how vital culture is in accomplishing today's missions," the new publication says. "Military personnel who have a superficial or even distorted picture of a host culture make enemies for the United States. Each Soldier must be a culturally literate ambassador, aware and observant of local cultural beliefs, values, behaviors and norms."
See "Culture Cards: Afghanistan & Islamic Culture," U.S. Army, September 2011:
ARMY WEAPON SYSTEMS 2012
The 2012 edition of the U.S. Army Weapon Systems handbook provides a concise description of dozens of Army weapon systems and programs. In each case it presents system specifications and indicates the current status of procurement or development. It identifies contractors by name and location as well as foreign military sales, where applicable.
"The systems listed in this book are not isolated, individual products. Rather, they are part of an integrated system-of-systems investment approach designed to make the Army of the future able to deal successfully with the challenges it will face," the handbook says.
"Our goal is to develop and field a versatile and affordable mix of equipment that will enable Soldiers to succeed in full-spectrum operations today and tomorrow, ensuring that we maintain our decisive advantage over any enemy we face."
AFGHANISTAN WAR CASUALTIES, AND MORE FROM CRS
Between January and June 2011, the United Nations documented 1,462 civilian deaths in Afghanistan, which was a 15% increase over the same six months the year before. Anti-government forces, e.g. the Taliban, were responsible for 77% of the casualties and pro-government forces were responsible for 12%. (The remainder were indeterminate.) These and other casualty figures were compiled from published sources by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) in "Afghanistan Casualties: Military Forces and Civilians," September 30, 2011:
Some other recently updated CRS reports include the following.
"Pakistan-U.S. Relations: A Summary," October 20, 2011:
"Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Background and Current Developments," October 5, 2011:
"Funding Emergency Communications: Technology and Policy Considerations," October 4, 2011:
"National Security Professionals and Interagency Reform: Proposals, Recent Experience, and Issues for Congress," September 26, 2011:
Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.
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