A Developmental Model of Cross-Cultural Competence at the Tactical Level

Non-kinetic engagements in multi-cultural settings are becoming the norm for deployed Soldiers, and the ability to operate effectively within these environments is critical to mission success. Soldiers must be able to rapidly adapt to unfamiliar surroundings without extensive prior knowledge of the region or its people. Ongoing training development efforts are addressing the need for general cross-cultural competence (3C). To support these efforts, this research aimed to identify the critical components of 3C and describe how 3C develops in Soldiers. Five components of 3C were identified: Cultural Maturity, Cognitive Flexibility, Cultural Knowledge, Cultural Acuity, and Interpersonal Skills. These components and their corresponding KSAAs were used in identifying four levels of 3C development: Pre-Competent, Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. This model establishes a foundation from which to create an online tool that measures competence of an individual Soldier and provides feedback to support improvement. The tool may also be useful for evaluating the effectiveness of cross-cultural training initiatives. This model is specifically focused on understanding tactical level operations, but can be customized for applications across domains, both within and outside military settings.