What he was doing in Afghnaistan was what was really interesting. He was a social social scientist supporting military operations. Among the things he had to help with was identifying the bad guys. Apparently the theory in operations like Afghanistan is to put the welfare of the people at the center of the struggle, which is what requires social scientists.
The mission of the infantry is to close with the enemy by means of fire and maneuver to defeat or capture him, or to repel his assault by fire, close combat, and counterattack.That works when the enemy wears uniforms and carries arms openly, but in more complicated environments social scientists can be helfpful At any rate Sam Striker has written a book about the concept - The Humanity of Warfare:Social Science Capabilities and the Evolution of Armed Conflict.
I haven't gotten through it yet. It's tax season you know, but Sam has given me a run down which I am sharing here.
The Humanity of Warfare: Social Science Capabilities and the Evolution of Warfare addressees the changing nature of conflict and the new focus represented in the Counter-insurgency (COIN)
doctrine. Now that the population’s welfare is placed at the center, understanding the populations and social dynamics becomes critical. Military commanders and the population’s welfare are inextricably intertwined and victory now depends upon the success of this paradigm-shifting doctrine.
This book takes a penetrating look at the socio-cultural enablers, subject matter experts and social scientists who assist the military in understanding the indigenous culture and populations they hope to serve and protect. Throughout the course of the book the reader gains an understanding of how the Social Scientist can help the military understand the key socio-cultural issues, dynamics, and leaders necessary to achieve success.
Chapter two demonstrates specific examples of relevant socio-cultural products that have greatly enhanced the military’s ability to interact successfully with the population of Afghanistan. Chapter three informs the respective commanders on how to best enable their socio-cultural team with specific needs and requirements.
Chapter four demonstrates the critical skills, education, and abilities socio-cultural team members must have to be successful in a conflict environment.
Chapter five reveals peacetime socio-cultural capabilities designed to inform and prepare military
commands by bringing the unique perspectives, analysis, and socio-cultural expertise into their processes to create the most culturally prepared deploying unit as humanly possible before deployment. In short, to fully exploit the socio-cultural capability with the goal to protect lives within vulnerable populations and the occupying soldiers, and achieve objectives.
Samuel James Striker, Ph.D., is the founder of Hollin-Phoenix Consulting, LLC: a company that specializes in socio-cultural research in unstable areas. He is considered by many to be one of the foremost conflict zone social scientists with extensive experience in unstable areas such as North Africa, Iraq, and Afghanistan.