What is Cultural Property Protection?
Cultural Property Protection (CPP) is a skill set that promotes greater operational awareness, strategic understanding and responsible management of the heritage landscape during military operations.
Implementing CPP practices and procedures helps U.S. forces meet its obligations under the The 1954 Hague Convention, the 1972 World Heritage Convention as well as U.S. and the laws in host nations where DoD operates, which require that cultural, historical and religious sites and properties be protected from unnecessary harm during full spectrum operations.
Learning CPP practices and procedures enables U.S. forces to:
- improve situational awareness to prevent adversaries from using our respect for Historical and Cultural Property to gain a momentary tactical advantage;
- foresee, and thereby take steps to prevent, an adversary from damaging or destroying cherished monuments, cultural institutions, religious structures or symbols in order to demoralize the population or incite further conflict; if left unchecked, intentional cultural destruction by an opponent during combat or contingency operations can quickly lead to civil unrest, loss of trust in U.S. forces and, in extreme cases, the temporary collapse of civilian order;
- avoid damaging media attention that can result when archaeological, historical or religious sites are damaged during combat operations or post-conflict reconstruction;
- demonstrate our respect for host nations, local populations and their institutions; and
- confirm that DoD is the most professional and respectful military force in the world.
In short, CPP serves as a force multiplier and an effective use of soft power that supports the mission. For these reasons, CPP must become part of the skill set of all Combatant Command (COCOM) and Joint Force (JF) Planners and Engineers.
To support this effort, CCHAG collects planning information, develops training materials and provides products and services for COCOM and JF Planners and Engineers that enable U.S. forces operating overseas to recognize and respond appropriately when they encounter heritage properties, cultural and archaeological sites, sacred places, historic monuments and landscape features that are important to local populations.
Bottom line: CPP plays a important role in making informed decisions that lead to mission success.