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Canadian Military Journal

Brains and Brawn: Cultural Intelligence (CQ) as the ‘Tool of Choice’ in the Contemporary Operating Environment

Emily Spencer
Emily Spencer
Abstract :

Armed forces spend enormous amounts of money, time, and energy ensuring that their troops are trained on weapon systems, vehicles, and equipment. They spend small fortunes on preparatory exercises and training to test tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), drills, and general soldier proficiency and effectiveness should they need to exercise force protection, demonstrate a deterrent posture, or actually enter combat during an operation. This preparation and expenditure is only prudent. It makes perfect sense, particularly when lives are at risk. It is, after all, just due diligence. Moreover, it better positions an organization to be successful during operations. However, what makes less sense is that, comparatively speaking, very little effort is spent solving the ‘people puzzle.’

In reality, most stability and counter-insurgency operations are all about the people. Quite simply, people are a if not the key component to mission success in the contemporary operating environment (COE), a space characterized by complexity, ambiguity, volatility, change, and danger. The importance of people is true at all levels, whether dealing with adversaries, a host nation population, the international community, and even one’s own nation. To be successful in these potentially diverse environments, cultural intelligence (CQ), that is, the ability to recognize the shared beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviours of a group of people, and, most importantly, to apply this knowledge toward a specific goal, is critical.

Keywords :
Brains and Brawn: Cultural Intelligence (CQ) as the ‘Tool of Choice’ in the Contemporary Operating Environment

Date Deposited : 08 Apr 2015 10:36

Last Modified : 08 Apr 2015 10:36

Official URL: http://www.journal.forces.gc.ca/arc/index-eng.asp

Volume 11, Number 1, - 2011

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