"I think in the long term, though, the Army sees this as a more efficient way to train the staff," Dowling said.
Odierno seems to agree, as he made the regional alignment a top pillar in his Army 2020 objectives aimed at making leaders more adaptive and equipment more modern.
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrated how cognizance of cultures, ethnicities and religions was essential to understanding the source of conflict, Broadwater said.
Dowling added that the training alone can help a soldier better understand the lay of any land. Even if troops received cultural training specifically for African nations, it would be better to use that unit in the Middle East than troops who weren't culturally aligned at all, he said.
"Anthropologically, socially, economically, they'll have to reset what the answers are, but the right questions will already be in their mind," he said.