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Operational Culture for the Warfighter

Principles and Applications, 2d edition

Barak A. Salmoni and Paula Holmes-Eber



This textbook is designed to help Marines link concepts of culture to the realities of planning and executing military operations around the world. The book has three primary goals:

  • To provide a theoretically sound framework of five basic cultural dimensions, based on clear, academically accurate definitions, which are relevant to military missions.
  • To apply these basic cultural principles to actual environments to which Marines and other members of the U.S. military have deployed, or may deploy in the future, showing how the principles of Operational Culture can be applied across the geographic and kinetic spectrum of operations.
  • To develop a capacity among Marines at all levels to think systematically about culture, and to apply that thinking to learning about culture in both professional military education and predeployment training



Part I. Terms of Reference

Chapter One: Context

Chapter Two: Defining Culture

Part II. Five Operational Culture Dimensions for Planning and Execution

Chapter Three: Dimension I –The Physical Environment

Chapter Four: Dimension II – The Economy of a Culture.

Chapter Five: Dimension III – Social Structure

Chapter Six: Dimension IV – Political Structure

Chapter Seven: Dimension V – Belief Systems

Part III. Toward Applying Operational Culture

Chapter Eight: From Models to Dimensions to Observable Realities

Chapter Nine: Operational Culture Learning in Training and Education


Chapter Ten: Incorporating Culture into the Marine Corps Planning Process



Appendix A: Glossary

Appendix B: Culture Operator’s Questions


6 x 9 paperback
400 pages
PDF download

Marine Corps University