At Fort Campbell to help 101st Airborne prep for Afghan deployment

IWP news release / Publication Date: April 12, 2010.

IWP Professor J Michael Waller spent a week with the Army’s 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, teaching a module on strategic communications under combat conditions to help prepare troops for deployment to Afghanistan.

The 4th BCT of the 101st is the last major unit scheduled to deploy under the surge ordered by President Barack Obama, according to a Pentagon spokesman. Dr Waller is a faculty member of the Naval Postgraduate School‘s Leader Development and Education for Sustained Peace (LDESP) program, based in Monterey, California. LDESP provides graduate-level intensive education to military and civilian leaders that focuses on US regional and geopolitical objectives, and cultural frameworks. The program gives leaders the knowledge to “establish a unique frame of reference allowing them to comprehend a specific operational environment.”

Professor Waller teaches strategic communications, influence operations and cultural understanding to military leaders prior to their deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. To date he has trained about 3,500 commissioned and noncommissioned officers as a member of the LDESP faculty.

“The idea is to help our warfighters appreciate that everything they say and do, and everything they don’t say and don’t do, can have strategic effects,” Dr Waller says. “Our job with LDESP is to help our command and staff officers understand the local cultures in their areas of operation, and to help them work with those cultures to achieve their military objectives and to save the lives of our troops, our allies, and innocent civilians.”

“It’s a big honor to be part of LDESP and to help our warfighters prepare to deploy,” says the IWP professor. “The experience allows me to make a personal contribution to winning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and help our soldiers and Marines become more effective. Being part of the Naval Postgraduate School program also improves my abilities to teach innovative and cutting-edge material to our students at IWP. And the military gets some exposure to the IWP experience.”