The 2013 CHAMP workshop started presentations from some of last year’s roundtable moderators as well as others. These notes provide the substance of those presentations.
Dr. Laurie Rush began with an overview of what the MilCHAG has been doing over the last year, and what the group plans to do in the future. She noted the number of meetings and training events she and other members have done at SOUTHCOM and other agencies over the last year. She is going to the Naval Academy in January, and hopes to connect with Army War College to discuss the addition of cultural property curriculum.
Dr. Brian Rose then explained the new Reserved Officer Training Corps (ROTC) training program under development to give cadets an understanding of the importance of preserving cultural heritage. He said that the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) has subject matter experts (SMEs) who could visit the various ROTC units at campuses to help them.
Mr. John Valainis, Colorado State U, then explained in detail the ROTC training webinar that is under development as a supplement to the proposed ROTC volunteer lectures. It will provide a canned lecture for students that instructors can then embellish with their own experiences and information. The ROTC materials also include an introduction to the military for volunteer instructors to educate those not familiar with the military about military customs, uniforms, and missions. This will allow instructors to be more comfortable and to understand their audience better.
Dr. James Ziedler, Colorado State University, then mentioned the new draft field commander’s guide to cultural property protection, commissioned by the Office of the Secretary of Defense entitled, “The Cultural Minefield.” [“The Cultural Minefield” has since been superseded by the NATO handbook for best practices in cultural property protection entitled “Cultural Property Protection as a Force Multiplier: Implementation for all Phases of a Military Operation” located on our website under References, Modern Sources] This document is designed to provide a basic introduction to the challenges of cultural property protection during deployment for deploying personnel. There are plans for development of region and country specific supplementary field manuals beginning with South Sudan, Honduras, and South Korea. Dr. Rush also discussed the importance of adding a research component to cultural property protection initiatives for the US Department of Defense. Her working hypothesis is that inadvertent damage to or destruction of cultural property can lead to violent retribution. She believes that all personnel involved in working with or near the local populations must be trained to be sensitive to the importance of cultural property and social norms. For instance, civil engineers need to understand how to install buildings or work around existing ones without damaging heritage or ignoring local leaders.
Mr. Ben Roberts, Brockington and Associates, moderator of the contingency planning roundtable last year, summarized the findings from his roundtable. These were 1) writing doctrinal definitions for cultural property protection for contingency plans; 2) Comprehensive tracking methods to show data on threats to cultural resources; 3) Define what constitutes a loss or success during contingencies; 4) Build a comprehensive cultural resource database available to stakeholders; and 5) Compile lessons learned files that are publicly available and that make CHAMP the owners of the data.
Dr. Corinne Wegener, moderator of the cultural resources roundtable, discussed the confusion about what the term “no strike zone” actually means. It does not mean that allied forces will not target facilities on the list. Instead, it provides a risk assessment for nations before conflict starts. To build such lists, we all need to work with local peoples to determine their own places to put on the list. Places should include museums, archives, libraries, and places of social significance. We should help to prioritize and organize these lists, so that they are easily understood and used. One such list has recently been built for Mali. The Smithsonian Institute is trying to build a global database, highlighting the lists for each country. A Lessons Learned study has just been published on the Libyan campaign. Dr. Rose suggested working with the Ministries of Culture for each country when developing the lists. Dr. Elliott said that Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) should also be added.
Col Joris Kila, the Netherlands Ministry of Defense, and moderator of the International Military Roundtable, then talked about the need to obtain international support and cooperation. He gave a brief synopsis of some trips that he and Dr. Karl Habsburg made to Egypt and Libya. He stressed the need to provide “after conflict” care, as well as care before and during conflict, to protect facilities and sites from looting. He also explained about a new academic chair being formed at the University of Austria, with the support of the Blue Shield. A PhD program is currently being formed at Leiden University in the Netherlands, where there is also a cultural property center. The Hague Criminal Court is trying to prosecute people who damage cultural property.
Dr. Lisa Kahn, Education roundtable moderator, discussed the need to go beyond educating the military. Social media needs to be used whenever possible. We should also look at cultural education for children, helping to establish state education standards. Working between organizations is also important. We need to work with the international archaeology community to integrate cultural property protection training for them.
Ms. Laura Childs, CHAMP communication coordinator, then spoke about the need to communicate more between the various groups within CHAMP. She explained that there are many different constituencies performing vital support to military personnel, museums, educators, and students. However, these efforts are not reaching their full potential if members don’t let each other know what they are doing. Ms. Childs implored members to send her information for the website and for dissemination to the group. There is a new blog on the website for their convenience. She then briefly laid out the options in her recent paper about possible futures for the group. These include 1) continuing as is; 2) dissolving and joining other groups; 3) becoming more integrated and communicative; and 4) incorporating as a formal non-government organization with 501C3 to raise funds. [Since the meeting, Dr. Rush has voted for the third option, with the promise to provide monthly updates on activities.]