Military Influence Tactics: Lessons Learned in Iraq and Afghanistan

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Abstract

When deployed U.S. soldiers attempt to influence the attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors of civilians, success can save lives and failure can be deadly. Survey data from 228 military personnel with deployment experience to Iraq and Afghanistan revealed that in a challenging wartime environment, empathy, respect, prior relationships, and familiarity with influence targets predicted success in cross-cultural influence attempts. Influence techniques involving resources and positive feelings were used more commonly in relatively successful influence attempts; negative tactics were used more commonly in unsuccessful attempts.

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