FAO Quotables

"But being right, even morally right, isn't everything. It is also important to be competent, to be consistent, and to be knowledgeable. It's important for your soldiers and diplomats to speak the language of the people you want to influence. It's important to understand the ethnic and tribal divisions of the place you hope to assist."
-Anne Applebaum

Sunday, March 20, 2016

2013 Joint FAO Conference --My Notes and Takeaways

I found these old notes from when I attended the Joint FAO conference back in 2013 before I began my FAO career in earnest (i.e., before I'd received my master's and embarked on my first overseas tour).  It would be worthwhile for me to revisit them at some point in more depth as there's a big gap between expectation and reality.

AMB Lyon on FAO Shortcomings:
-Writing style: needs to be analytical, need to work with Amb. He needs essays WITHOUT acronyms.
-Need to see the shades of grey
-bring about change through indirect means
-research ‘campaign design’
-lack of negotiation training
-need to embrace language beyond mechanical knowledge (poetry, music, etc)
-FAOs must listen to their music, read their poetry, watch their TV shows (what are the top TV shows in your country)
*Are Foreign Service Nationals unsung heroes?
Image result for ambassador lyon

RADM Lemmons

Image result for admiral jeff lemmons
-For NOB FITREPs, request a soft breakout, this is very important!
-FAOs need to be publishing!
Book Recommendation:  Blueprint for Action: A Future Worth Creating by Thomas Barnett

The Foreign Assistance Spectrum

-Maritime Pillars: Professionals, Domain Awareness, Infrastructure. Response capabilities.
“Sea blindness” inability to see what’s going on in your own waters. Also a blindess to the value of the navy’s value in maritime environment.

As a FAO you must establish your brand.

Defense is from Mars, State is from Venus” paper (1998) by Col. Rife

Foreign Service Institue- emphasis on active learning of language
-2 week intensive course

My question:
What is your opinion of the ethics of the Pentagon’s Human Terrain System wherein civilian social scientists are used by in country military commanders (currently being done in Afghanistan)?
Is the current FAO training sufficient to fill the place of these anthropologists (particularly within the Marine Corps where this is the whole point of their dual track)?
*WRT to HTS-models must not become templates. There is power in idiomatic expressions.

How do you develop contacts? What’s a contact society? How do we teach relationship development?
The idea of skills vs. attributes in a FAO; you can teach skills but if they don’t have the correct attributes it’s a waste. FAOs must be immersed within the country’s people.

*Cultures are the conditions under which you will work, not a task but a context.
*Article Idea: on the effectiveness of Roman empire because of in-country cultural immersion.

-“Shoot-move-communicate” is the NORM.
-As a FAO we must “communicate-move-shoot” (ummm..probably shouldn't shoot at all)
-It is essential to understand cultural ‘nuances’ in order to Build Partnerships
-Human security must be promoted by BP!

*We are used to feeling of identity (i.e. Catholic, democrat, southerner, military), but when we are abroad we are only seen by one identity: AMERICAN

Read the following books:
Getting to Yes by Fisher and Ury
Common Sense by Paine
Africa Works by Chabal


DISAM- Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management (1206/1207)
“The purpose of security policy is to selfishly protect and advance US National Security interests (not to be consistent)”

Project2049.net--Asia Policy Site

Mark Stokes USAF FAO
1. Understand DIME (Diplomacy, Information, Military and Economic)
2. Know Basic History
3. Understand typical lifestyles of people
4. Understand cultural red-lines for foreigners and natives
5. Know 2 songs, 2 poems, read 2 books from their literature
6. Language- at least survival (1/1), appreciate high context or low context

1. Read target country or region periodicals
2. Visit country or region once every 18 months
3. Read outsiders writings on target country/region
4. Consume media in target language that interests you as a hobby, diversion or habit (ex. Get a French bible)

1. Talk with natives in target language
2. Make local friends
3. Go to historical or cultural sites
4. Get hot books or media
5. Go to the arts

Read the Koran

“What is this country’s concept of happiness?” This is essential to know!
It's an important distinction--the country's conception of happiness--not the international community's concept of happiness.

Chrysanthemum and the sword” by Ruth Benedict
A recognized classic of cultural anthropology, this book explores the political, religious, and economic life of Japan from the seventh century through the mid-twentieth, as well as personal family life

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