Assessing the Development of Cross-Cultural Competence in Soldiers

The contemporary operational environment is often characterized by ambiguous, multi-cultural contexts, where Army Soldiers must rapidly adapt without extensive prior knowledge of a region or its people. Ongoing training development efforts are addressing the need for general cross-cultural competence, but this broad competence must be clearly defined and assessed in order to determine if Soldiers are being adequately prepared. To support this goal, this research effort examined how cross-cultural competence develops in Soldiers, and how that competence supports mission success. Using multiple methodologies, including cognitive task analysis, critical incident elicitation, and review of existing models, we developed a model of cross-cultural competence that includes 28 knowledge, skills, attitudes and abilities (KSAAs) over four levels of development. This model will inform the development of metrics to assess Soldiers’ cross-cultural competence and provide relevant feedback.