The Role of Cultural Understanding and Language Training in Unconventional Warfare

The level of violence has not only increased constantly over the last decades, but has also shifted in nature from conventional to unconventional. Given these circumstances, Romania’s national interests call for the development of unconventional capabilities that are necessary in order to deal with current and future low intensity conflicts.  This thesis analyzes the influence of language training and cultural understanding on the overall success of counterinsurgency campaigns. Examining some situations where the U.S. and British forces carried out counterinsurgency operations, this project reveals that ground troops with foreign language skills and cultural training were able to work more efficient with the local population. Cultural awareness facilitated communication and developed interpersonal trust. Additionally, language and cultural training enhanced military personnel’s ability to understand the operational environment and to make a more selective use of force.  The purpose of this thesis is not to promote a departure from conventional military training, but rather to propose the development of new Romanian military capabilities, the performance of which will increase through a better exploitation of language and cultural resources.