November 1, 2012  

Culture-savvy Marines

To the Marine Corps for requiring all new sergeants to get culture-and-language training.

Starting last month, Marines who ascend to E-5 and above enroll in familiarization courses focusing on one of 17 regions around the globe. The Corps has been running similar programs for new lieutenants and warrant officers, and rightly saw the value in equipping its enlisted leaders with matching skills.

The logic is simple enough: Marines can be sent anywhere in the world on short notice, so it’s important to establish a cadre who can help those around them get up to speed on relevant cultural nuances, paving the way for productive cooperation with partners, allies and locals. Linking the training to promotions sends the proper message: Senior leaders see cultural training as essential.