Date of Conferral
Advisory activities form a central element of the U.S. National Security Strategy to mitigate the need for employment of large military formations. The commitment of large U.S. combat formations has resulted in more than 6,000 fatalities since September 11, 2001; poor relationship skills were cited as contributing factors in 51 or more fratricide-murders of U.S. soldiers by Afghan compatriots in 2012. Informed by social exchange theory, servant leadership theory, and role theory, the Army conceptual rapport framework provided a lens for this phenomenological symbolic interactionism study of rapport between Afghan counterparts and U.S. advisors. Participants included 15 English-speaking Afghan soldiers, police, and government officials. Data from semi-structured interviews conducted via Internet or telephone were manually coded and analyzed for overarching themes. Findings indicated that mutual understanding and respect were principal components to building rapport, and rudimentary use of Afghan languages by U.S. advisors provided symbolic value that contributed to rapport development. Findings may contribute to positive social change by informing advisor employment policies, enhancing preparatory training, and improving relationships between U.S. advisors and the foreign leaders with whom they work.