In 2009 the Office of Naval Research requested that the Board on Human-Systems Integration hold a workshop that would examine three of the critical issues associated with the military's use of sociocultural data for behavioral modeling: the types of data needed to provide the complete picture of the cultural terrain of a given region; the frameworks and databases in use by the military in analyses of sociocultural behavior; and the methods and tools that can be used to aggregate sociocultural data from disparate sources into a meaningful whole
Overseen by BOHSI, the ad hoc Planning Committee on Unifying Social Frameworks selected the workshop’s presenters and commissioned paper authors from a wide variety of disciplines, including anthropology; sociology; criminology; communications; modeling; and neural, cognitive, and social psychology.
The Workshop on Unifying Social Frameworks: Sociocultural Data to Accomplish Department of Defense Missions, was held August 16-17, 2009, in Washington, DC.
The workshop's keynote address by Major General Michael T. Flynn, U.S. Army, provided critical context about the cultural situation and needs of the military operating in Afghanistan. Additional presentations were divided into five panels to address the diverse missions encountered by the U.S. military worldwide:
- Conflict Is Local: Mapping the Sociocultural Terrain
- Bridging Sociocultural Gaps in Cooperative Relationships
- Building Partner Capacity with Sociocultural Awareness
- The Art of Sociocultural Persuasion
- Tools, Methods, Frameworks, and Models
In addressing these different issues from different perspectives, the workshop
speakers and discussants covered a wide range of topics from which two broad themes emerged. The first theme centers on data: its collection, its use in models, and questions about what exactly constitutes sociocultural data. The second theme is concerned with the overall topic of the workshop, “unifying social frameworks” and, more broadly, the application of theory-based approaches from the behavioral and social sciences to broad military contexts. The Workshop Report is a summary and synthesis of the presentations and discussions that took place during that workshop, and the themes that emerged.