At the AIA Annual Meeting in Jan 2014, officers from the AIA, US Committee of the Blue Shield (USCBS), CHAMP, and the Combatant Commanders Cultural Heritage Action Group (MilCHAG) (a CHAMP member group) met to discuss the relationship of these groups with each other. At this meeting, USCBS invited CHAMP to partner with it as an independent, but related, organization. The Association of the National Committees of the Blue Shield (ANCBS), its US partner USCBS, and CHAMP have the same interests, but CHAMP has closer ties to military organizations. These organizations can provide mutual support to each other.
To acknowledge this partnership, CHAMP has formally changed its name from Cultural Heritage by Archaeological Institute of America and Military Panel to Cultural Heritage by Archaeology and Military Panel. This name change allows the group to broaden its mission to include any organization concerned with archaeology. It also acknowledges that CHAMP is not an official partner or committee of the AIA, although most CHAMP members are AIA members.
This new partnership between CHAMP and USCBS does not mean that CHAMP is discontinuing our interests with AIA. To the contrary, CHAMP will continue to be a source of important information for the AIA on protection of cultural property during conflict. AIA and USCBS are also starting to explore development of a formal partnership between the organizations. As a USCBS committee, CHAMP will also develop a more formal relationship with AIA in time.
A major impetus behind these changes is CHAMP’s informal status as an interest group, rather than a formally instituted organization with national and international recognition and support. This has hindered its credibility to represent its interests and concerns. On the other hand, AIA and the ANCBS (including USCBS) are nationally and internationally recognized. In order for CHAMP to become more effective as an organization, all CHAMP members are encouraged to become members of both the AIA and the Blue Shield Committee of their respective countries, as well as other cultural heritage organizations with similar goals. To join the AIA, go to website http://www.archaeological.org/join. To join the Blue Shield committee of your nation, go to website Association of the National Committees of the BlueShield http://www.ancbs.org/cms/index.php/en/about-us/about-ancbs.
- Build collaborative groups between military personnel and professional archaeologists to promote understanding of military needs, cultural site preservation, and sensitivities of local populations.
- Offer opportunities for AIA professionals and members to participate in DOD initiatives to enhance global heritage stewardship.
- Develop good procedures for military operations within areas of cultural significance.
- Train military personnel on history, culture, historical sites, artifacts, and laws regarding trafficking in antiquities.
- Educate military personnel on host nation history and heritage resources and provide training for AIA and military members on compliance with preservation treaties, laws, and regulations.
- Develop academic exchange programs for military personnel to attend various academic institutions and for non-military academic personnel to help military academic institutions develop curricula.
In 2003, the looting of the Iraq National Museum in Bagdad and damage to Iraqi cultural sites brought together the Archaeological Institute of America and Department of Defense in an effort to improve cultural and heritage awareness of military personnel operating outside of the United States in host countries and in war zones. Training has expanded to include the development of cultural education information into lectures to deploying personnel, materials and training scenarios, participation in international symposia, and public awareness of the DOD-AIA program. In 2008, the AIA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia hosted a panel session on DOD-AIA support in war zones. Working groups developed plans for GIS mapping of cultural sites, US and international offices for cultural preservation, and education and training. At the 2009 AIA Annual Meeting in Anaheim, a workshop was held to discuss the accomplishments and current efforts of the AIA-Military Group, including the translation of the Iraqi Cultural Atlas, participation in various training scenarios, development of training materials and courses, and new initiatives and participating organizations.
Since 2005, The Office of the Secretary of Defense, Legacy Resource Management Program with in-kind support from Central Command, Installation Management Command, and Ft. Drum have generously supported a range of in-theater training projects including development of reference heritage websites, GIS planning, the well-known playing cards, computer-based training, replica archaeological sites in military training areas, and hardening methods for safely preserving archaeological sites while making them available for training.
In 2007, the Office of the Secretary of Defense Environmental International Cooperation Program (DEIC) began to supplement the Legacy Funded Efforts. DEIC funds made possible participation in the Bright Star Training Scenario (Egypt), Eagle Resolve Exercises, the Jordan Environmental Conference, the World Archaeology Congress – Archaeology and Conflict Conference in Vienna, creation of the Egypt playing cards, and formation of the Central Command Historical Cultural Advisory Group.
ACC has provided additional support since 2010. The AF ISR Agency has provided generous support in translating the Iraqi Cultural Atlas and other materials. Colorado State University Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands has been an outstanding contracting partner for all of these projects, and Saving Antiquities for Everyone (SAFE) made an outstanding contribution in their work on the heritage websites.
At the 2011, 2012, and 2013 AIA Annual Meetings, CHAMP hosted working groups that focused on training methods, tools and techniques for protecting cultural heritage, policy, education, and future of cultural heritage integration into military operations. In 2014, CHAMP hosted a colloquium focused on preserving cultural heritage in various conflicts. (See the Events/AIA Annual Meeting webpage for details.)