Socio-Cultural Analysis – Lessons for a Canadian Capability


  1. Last, D.
  2. Seaboyer, A.
  3. Chalmers, W.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Toronto, Toronto ONT (CAN);Royal Military Coll of Canada, Kingston ONT (CAN)
This paper explores lessons to develop a permanent Canadian capability to conduct socio-cultural analysis (SCA) in support of operations. SCA is defined as a set of tools to guide policy in ways that are sensitive to and effective in indigenous environments. The US Army has dominated the discussion of SCA based on its recent counter-insurgency (COIN) experience. However, SCA has its origins and many applications outside military operations, less fraught with controversy than the American military experience. These are relevant to Canadian needs, and include rapid assessment process (RAP) and culturally sensitive program evaluation tools developed by international organizations to be applied to health, education, agriculture, and development projects in unstable environments since the 1990s. The American experience of the Human Terrain System (HTS) and public-private partnerships in the “Small Worlds” project provide useful examples of capabilities to support military operations. International, governmental, and non-governmental agencies have also developed systematic capabilities for social and cultural analysis that can be integrated with military capabilities and requirements. In the Canadian context, it is never clear whether military operations will lead or be in support, so a Canadian SCA capability must cater to any of the ways in which it might be applied. As a way ahead, the paper concludes with a three-dimensional space in which Canadian SCA capability might be p
Report Number
DRDC-TORONTO-CR-2011-179 — Contract Report
Date of publication
31 Dec 2011
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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