The Army insists it has nothing whatsoever to do with Abu Ghraib. But U.S. military researchers are suddenly interested in figuring out whether its soldiers have the "wisdom" and "emotional intelligence" to handle the stresses of war.In its latest call for research proposals from small businesses (scroll way down), the Army Research Institute announced a pair of efforts to get a better sense of G.I.s' souls.Soldiers of today need to new "skill sets to function effectively under high-stress and other emotionally-laden circumstances," the Army says. "These conditions are sometimes associated with interpersonal transactions but may also emerge as reactions to fast-paced, high-demand events and situations."The best way to determine whether a grunt has these skill sets or not: gauge his "emotional intelligence," or EI. It's made up of four abilities, according to the Army: "the perception, management, expression, and utilization of emotion."The military is asking companies for ideas on how to put together a new, "comprehensive personnel management and training system" that would assess and build "an individuals ability to recognize, express, react and manage emotions associated with these interpersonal events and emotionally-laden circumstances."Similarly, the Army would like to find leaders "who possess the wisdom to extend their expertise and values beyond service interests." But right now, it doesn't have an efficient way to find out who's wise and who's not.So the Army wants to use "automated intelligent agent technologies" smart software to "enable the widespread, distributed self assessment of wisdom. How would a G.I. know if he's wise? The Army defines wisdom in two ways: "expert level performance in the pragmatics of life," and "the application of tacit knowledge mediated by values through a balance among personal, interpersonal, and extrapersonal interests."Some of these concepts especially EI -- have been floating around boardrooms and business bookshelves for years. And an Army researcher says that these sorts of studies are a part of "longstanding concerns, not in any way tied to recent events."But having wise and emotionally capable soldiers wouldn't exactly hurt in places like Iraq, now would it?
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