Rapid Ethnographic Assessment Program
Department of Defense
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AbstractThis project proposes to develop a rapid ethnographic assessment tool designed specifically to be used by military personnel participating in Security, Stabilization, Transition, and Reconstruction (SSTR) missions who are untrained in social science research methods. Within the Department of the Navy, potential users include Naval Special Warfare, Marine Special Operations Command (MARSOC), and the Maritime Civil Affairs Group (MCAG) within Naval Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC). Each of these force elements is uniquely positioned to collect ethnographic data prior to large-scale military operations. Because potential or acute political instability is a precursor to United States military involvement in foreign countries, the proposed methodology is informed by both anthropology and political science, the former providing a local level perspective and the latter providing a ‘top-down’ approach assessing group relationships with central government(s) and structural/institutional drivers of stability. The interdisciplinary methodology is differentiated from the US Army Human Terrain System (HTS) because it provides Naval forces the capability to conduct assessments using organic assets, and will support broad elements of the SSTR mission set, to include the Department of State’s Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) Post-conflict Reconstruction Essential Tasks. This methodology will be tested in the Gulf of Guinea.
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