by Howard Ward, AFCLC Director
I’ve read a number of articles dealing with a variety of regional security issues that were written from the perspective of culture. It brought to mind how powerful the LEAP educational model is because we are blending both culture and language into your preparation to serve our nation at a strategic level.
If all you can do is interpret the meaning of words, you may know what a person said but you will not know why they said it or gain insight into what they are really thinking unless you understand that person’s culture as well.
I’m sure you’ve experienced that phenomenon many times right here in our own US Air Force. We are a diverse group of people from a large geographic area. Different areas of our nation have unique cultures and ways of expressing thoughts and beliefs. Even with a common language of English, we sometimes struggle to understand what another person means even if we understand every word that was said. Now add in the language and culture that comes from different functional tribes within our Air Force and effective communication can be even more challenging.
Through infusing cultural education into the LEAP model, our Airmen are able to move beyond interpretation and get to true communication. Armed with background in culture, our Airmen are able to connect with and gain mutual respect from our valued international partners in a way that builds relationships of trust that can stand the test of time.
I encourage all of you to work as diligently incorporating culture into your individual regimen of LEAP education. For the purposes of building operators who can work seamlessly with many air forces at a strategic level, culture and language are inseparable.
Culture and Language…essential and operational.