The COCOM Cultural Heritage Action Group (CCHAG) applies the same conservation ethics and practices to all of DoD’s global operations and undertakings that have been so successful for DoD’s domestic heritage management program in the U.S.
CCHAG enhances military capacity by promoting Cultural Property Protection (CPP) as a legal requirement, as a force multiplier and as an effective use of soft power for Combatant Commands and Joint Force (JF) Planners and Engineers that contributes to mission success.
CCHAG promotes CPP by developing CPP training programs, training tools, reach back support, GIS data acquisition, by participating in coalition exercises and contingency operations. In this regard, CCHAG has distributed CPP awareness materials to more than 100,000 deploying personnel.
CCHAG also makes policy recommendations that have informed USCENTCOM environmental regulations and other COCOM practices and policies. CCHAG contributed to the Historical/Cultural Resources chapter of USCENTCOM Regulation 200-2, Environmental Quality: Protection and Enhancement of Environmental Assets (2009), which contains essential guidance and best management practices for heritage preservation during all USCENTCOM contingency operations.
CCHAG delivers the right CPP information to the right people at the right time to support the mission. Examples include:
- innovative training aids and comprehensive reach back support for CENTCOM personnel serving in Operating Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and the biennial Exercise Bright Star;
- development of detailed maps of the ancient karez water systems of Afghanistan;
- historical/cultural awareness briefings during the Environmental Shura (consultation) in Kabul in February 2010;
- development of a cultural heritage map for Afghanistan in partnership with the AIA (Archaeology Institute of America) and other international partners;
- reach back support for Forward Operating Base expansion planning to give DoD decision makers a better understanding of nearby cultural sites and sacred places.
- successful partnerships with subject matter experts and national / international academic organizations to mobilize reach back capability and heritage landscape expertise.
CCHAG is a product of the In-Theater Heritage Training program sponsored by the Legacy Resource Management Program and the Defense Environmental International Cooperation Program (DEIC) and funded by the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Installations and Environment.