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Socio-Cultural Analysis Framework (SCAF) A U.S. Army guide on how to research and write socio-cultural analyses.

What follows is a Socio-Cultural Analysis Framework (SCAF). The need for a SCAF is widely recognized within the Army. It is addressed in policy documents such as the Army Operating Concept (AOC) “Win in a Complex World” and Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) G-2’s “Operational Environments to 2028: The Strategic Environment for Unified Land Operations.” The need for a SCAF is similarly addressed in doctrinal publications such as Joint Publication 2-01.3 Joint Intelligence Preparation of the Operational Environment; ATP2-01.3 Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield/Battlespace; and TP525-8-5 Functional Concept for Engagement.

The absence of an Army-wide SCAF has resulted in multiple entities within the Army developing their own frameworks for socio-cultural analysis. For example, ATP2-01.3 Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield/Battlespace, FM 3-24 Counterinsurgency, FM 3-57 Civil Affairs Operations, and the Political Military Analysis Handbook from the Special Warfare Center and School (SWCS) all contain such frameworks. The frameworks in these publications are similar, but differ enough to necessitate a reconciliation that will result in a single, Army-wide SCAF.

The SCAF presented here utilizes a taxonomic approach. The taxonomic approach is a common analytic technique used in the natural, behavioral, social, and political sciences. The taxonomic approach consists of arranging related, recurring terms in a hierarchical framework in which more general descriptors (e.g., car) link to more specific descriptors (Mercedes), which then link to even more specific descriptors (450SL).

Listing, describing and assessing socio-cultural indicators for operationally-relevant purposes necessitates a streamlined SCAF. The SCAF taxonomy proffered here was developed from a content analysis of eighty-four documents associated with socio-cultural analysis