Dr. Laurie W. Rush (Ph.D., RPA, FAAR), Cultural Resource Manager for the U.S. Army, is at the forefront of pioneering training programs to educate soldiers on cultural heritage protection. Dr. Rush is currently working toward improved archaeological mapping for military planning and military guidelines for stability operations in archaeologically sensitive areas. Additionally, Dr. Rush and her team are brainstorming innovative methods to raise awareness and to instruct. Their work includes developing teaching aids; for example, in partnership with colleagues at Colorado State University, Dr. Rush has developed three different decks of playing cards, each version featuring photos and messages about the cultural heritage of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Egypt. These playing cards are a simple, yet highly effective, training tool for U.S. troops.
Dr. Rush and her team are presently involved in creating PowerPoint modules on “Cultural Property Protection Training” that focus on various countries of the SOUTHCOM AOR (“The U.S. Southern Command Area of Responsibility encompasses 31 countries and 15 areas of special sovereignty. The region represents about one-sixth of the landmass of the world assigned to regional unified commands”). These modules cover topics such as: identification of cultural resources, governing national and international legislation, and “your part”—what should you do and why you should do it. These teaching aids will help military personnel to develop cultural property identification skills, to consider cultural property protection strategies and process from a military point of view, and to develop the capacity for identification and protection of cultural property across the SOUTHCOM AOR.