Executive Summary

People are the heart of all military efforts. People operate the available weaponry and technology, and they constitute a complex military system composed of teams and groups at multiple levels. Scientific research on human behavior is crucial to the military because it provides knowledge about how people work together and use weapons and technology to extend and amplify their forces.

The military has long recognized the role of research in furthering its mission. In that vein, the U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences (ARI) asked the National Research Council to provide an agenda for basic behavioral and social research focused on applications in both the near (5-10 years) and far (more than 10 years) terms. This request was made in the context of limited funds: for fiscal 2007, the U.S. Department of Defense budget for behavioral and social science is $37.6 million, its lowest level in 4 years, and for basic behavioral research at ARI it is approximately $4 million, including $1 million earmarked for “network science.”

The committee considered a wide range of topics in the behavioral sciences and a smaller number in the social sciences, focusing on their applicability to military needs. Both historically and currently, those needs are in the areas of personnel, training and learning, leadership, and organization. The committee’s distillation resulted in six research topics with an emphasis on ones that are likely to be applicable to military needs in the relatively near future.

The committee found that there are sufficient ideas and capability in the scientific community to support new work in each of the recommended ar-



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 1
Executive Summary People are the heart of all military efforts. People operate the available weaponry and technology, and they constitute a complex military system composed of teams and groups at multiple levels. Scientific research on hu- man behavior is crucial to the military because it provides knowledge about how people work together and use weapons and technology to extend and amplify their forces. The military has long recognized the role of research in furthering its mission. In that vein, the U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences (ARI) asked the National Research Council to provide an agenda for basic behavioral and social research focused on applications in both the near (5-10 years) and far (more than 10 years) terms. This request was made in the context of limited funds: for fiscal 2007, the U.S. Department of Defense budget for behavioral and social science is $37.6 million, its lowest level in 4 years, and for basic behavioral research at ARI it is approximately $4 million, including $1 million earmarked for “network science.” The committee considered a wide range of topics in the behavioral sciences and a smaller number in the social sciences, focusing on their ap- plicability to military needs. Both historically and currently, those needs are in the areas of personnel, training and learning, leadership, and organiza- tion. The committee’s distillation resulted in six research topics with an emphasis on ones that are likely to be applicable to military needs in the relatively near future. The committee found that there are sufficient ideas and capability in the scientific community to support new work in each of the recommended ar- 

OCR for page 1
2 HUMAN BEHAVIOR IN MILITARY CONTEXTS eas. The committee also judged that significantly increased funding for the behavioral and social sciences is necessary if the military is to take advan- tage of the opportunities for major research contributions to its mission. The committee recommends six areas of research on the basis of their relevance, potential impact, and timeliness for military needs: intercul- tural competence, including second-language learning; teams in com- plex environments; technology-based training; nonverbal behavior; emotion; and behavioral neurophysiology. These recommended areas were selected because of their potential impact, particularly in the near term; military needs and relevance; and likelihood of transfer from basic to applied research. The intersection of military needs and research areas is depicted in Table ES-1. The recommended research areas represent topics of particular impor- tance to the military. • Intercultural competence—the ability to navigate and adapt to dif- ferent cultures—is critical at every level of the military, from field operations to strategic planning. Within the field, the two areas of particular importance for the military are learning a second lan- guage and cross-cultural negotiation. • Teams are ubiquitous and critical to the military, as they are in all organizations. Understanding team behavior and functioning, their dynamic nature, and leaders’ behaviors in them are key issues for the military. • The use of technology is an increasing feature of military training. It is critical that the use of technology is based on evidence-based knowledge about learning and not simply driven by the available technology. • Nonverbal communication is a key aspect of people’s reactions and behavior. In the military, nonverbal communication directly affects leadership, persuasion, negotiation, cultural fluency, training, and learning. • Emotion affects almost every aspect of people’s behavior and per- formance. In the military, troops are subject not only to intense emotions in stressful situations, such as euphoria and grief, but also to long-term effects on their health and functioning, both in their families and military units. • Behavioral neurophysiology holds great promise for understanding the interplay among the biological underpinnings of motivational, affective, and cognitive processes, and new noninvasive techniques make possible research on human behavior that has not previously

OCR for page 1
TABLE ES-1 Research Topics and Areas of Military Concern Social Organizational Leadership Training Personnel Interactions Structures Intercultural Competence x x x x x Teams in Complex Environments x x x x x Technology and Training x x x x x Nonverbal Behavior x x x x x Emotion x x x x x Neurophysiology x x x x 

OCR for page 1
 HUMAN BEHAVIOR IN MILITARY CONTEXTS been observable. Such research can make critical contributions to military procedures for personnel selection, training, and perfor- mance evaluation. The committee recommends a doubling or more of the current budget for basic (6.1) research for the behavioral and social sciences across u.S. military research agencies. This level of funding can support approximately 40 new projects per year across the committee’s rec- ommended research areas. Funding should be significant enough to establish a scientific foundation in basic behavioral and social research from which important specific applications addressed to military needs can be developed. An expanded military budget for basic research in the behavioral and social sciences of about $75 million will support both new and continued work on important research topics with likely application in the near future and longer term, as well. Although the recommended additional funding will support only a small number of projects in each of the recommended fields, it will allow a sufficient number of large and small new grants to support viable fields of research that are relevant to military needs. Without such support, basic behavioral and social science research is not likely to meet those needs. More than 15 years ago, the former commander of the Vietnamese forces against both the French and American armies, General Vo Nguyen Giap, said: “In war there are the two factors—human beings and weapons. Ultimately, though, human beings are the decisive factor. Human beings! Human beings!'' (New York Times, 1990, p. 36).