6 November 2008. Thanks to John Stanton.
hts-madness.htm US Army Human Terrain System Madness Mayhem Cash October 6, 2008
hts-farce.htm US Army Human Terrain System an Absolute Farce August 14, 2008
hts-joke.htm US Army Human Terrain System in Disarray July 22, 2008
Cleaning Up US Army/TRADOC's Human Terrain System (HTS):
Terminate Current Management, Move HTS to Civil Affairs*
by John Stanton
Few remember, or even are aware, that one of the primary functions of HTS
was, according to a defense contractor memo, "
ethnographic causes for
increased Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) activity in target areas. The
concept is a five person team embedded with the Brigade Combat Team but not
accompanying the BCT on patrols. The HTS team would stay in the Green Zone
and collect information from returning BCT patrols."
Fewer know that Cultural Operations Research - Human Terrain System (COR-HTS)
-- now simply HTS -- was originally funded by the Joint Improvised Explosive
Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO). Coincidently, JIEDDO was formerly under
the command of Steve Fondacaro, who now runs the turbulent HTS program. JIEDDO
received a punishing audit by the Government Accountability Office
The GAO described JIEDDO as an ad hoc organization that did not identify,
track or report all contractor personnel, and sorely lacked accounting controls.
Those activities appear to commonplace within the HTS program.
The HTS program has descended a long way since then.
The mismanaged transformation/evolution of that HTS concept into a troublesome
and dangerous field operation has resulted in internal turmoil at Fort
Leavenworth (Building 48) and logistics/deployment SNAFU's in Kuwait. It
has sorely tested civil-military relations in and out of theater. Many
academics/social scientists, according to one source, treat NCO's with disdain.
Military personnel complain -- legitimately -- that they end up putting their
lives at risk for non-combatant social scientists who offer human terrain
system data that is rarely useful.
The most tragic result of this is the deaths and injuries that have occurred
in the field, the most recent being Paula Loyd of HTT AF-4 Blue.
Loyd, a member of Human Terrain Team (HTT) AF-4 Blue, was severely injured
as she was interviewing an Afghani national. Loyd was doused with flammable
liquid and set alight. One of her team members managed to submerge her in
a nearby water source. Still, Loyd suffered 60 percent burns on her body
and is being treated by US Army burn specialists. Reportedly, the team member
that was charged with monitoring the movements of the Afghani national was
distracted for a moment and the Afghani national took advantage of that lapse
to successfully assault Loyd. A distraught HTT member later tracked the Afghani
down and shot and killed him. The case is under investigation by the US Army.
A Civil Solution from Fort Bragg
It is high time that civilian and military personnel in the Office of the
Secretary of Defense and the US Army fix what in the minds of many has become
a get-rich scheme for retired military contractors and their friends. All
sources have pointed their collective fingers at these regular's of the local
pub--the High Noon Saloon--as the sources for the program's travails: Maxie
McFarland (DI-SES ,TRADOC HQ G-2), Steve Fondacaro (HTS Program Manager,
former Commander of JIEDDO)), Mrs. Montgomery McFate-Sapone (HTS Senior Social
Scientist), Steve Rotkoff (HTS Deputy Program Manager). BAE Systems is also
receives criticism for being ethically challenged. "They are all milking
the program," said a source.
According to all sources, the HTS program is located in the wrong place with
the wrong people. Sources believe that the program should properly be funded
and located in Civil Affairs (CA) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina -- home to
USA Special Operations Command (USASOC). They all agree that the current
management crew should be terminated and replaced with competent individuals.
Some have indicated that "congressional inquiries and legal action" are
forthcoming. In a sign of the mutinous atmosphere inside HTS, some believe
that "settlements" are being made by management to keep dissenters/whistleblowers
One source commented that, "the concept of human terrain analysis is an
inherently governmental function, an inherently civil affairs function, and
not something that should be tainted by association with the intelligence
function. It is something that is also diametrically opposite the Clandestine
Human Intelligence function (spying for money)."
US Army Major Kevin Burke of CA at Fort Bragg has provided a structured and
formalized program to improve on counter insurgency operations in his December
2007 thesis titled Civil Reconnaissance: Separating the Insurgent from
the Population. The solid 89-page thesis was written at the Naval Post
Graduate School in Monterey, California and is available by request from
mirror]. It should
be the cornerstone document for cleaning up the HTS program and moving forward.
Major Burke's thesis suggests the following:
Civil Reconnaissance should be kept out of the intelligence function.
Civil Reconnaissance requires proper training and competent management.
HTS/HTTs should be moved into the Brigade Civil Affairs Planner element.
Doctrine must to be developed to explain the relationship between the HTS/HTT
and the military. It does not now exist.
Standard Operating Procedures need to be developed immediately for data
collection, analysis, and storage. USASOC 95th Civil Affairs Brigade, Civil
Information Cell may be the proper location for the data.
Civil Affairs staff and planners should be the primary generators of missions
and suggestions to the Command
Meanwhile: Mutiny on the Bounty
According to sources, the presence of the hot-tempered Steve Rotkoff has
only increased tensions within the program. "Rotkoff thinks he is still a
Brigade Commander but he is retired from the US Army and is a contractor."
Reportedly contractor Rotkoff wanted sole control over site security functions,
specifically the ability to issue badges for entry in and out of the building
that houses HTS elements and undoubtedly classified information. This is
a function normally associated with the Facility Security Officer (FSO).
The FSO, according to sources, filed a complaint up the chain of command
about Rotkoff's actions.
HTS contractors like Rotkoff (McNeil Technologies), BAE Systems, MPRI, Lincoln
Group, et al -- are bound by the security protocols found in the National
Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM) issued by the Defense
Security Service (DSS). DSS, understaffed and funded, does its absolute
level-best to ensure that private contractors operate in accordance with
the NISPOM but they can't be everywhere at once.
Sources also alluded to the ratio of civilian contractors to military personnel
in the HTS program. One indicated that there were three civilians (retired
military now contractors, etc.) for every one active duty military person,
reservist or otherwise. "It's a military program but the military does not
control it," said one. As such, the HTS program seems representative of a
US military that continues to privatize/outsource the protection and defense
of the United States Constitution to those whose allegiance is to their
contractor's balance sheet.
One source indicated that there are more HTS troubles inside Iraq. "One team
placed at the Division level may be sent home
Another social scientist
is being removed from theater with a possible termination for no apparent
reason and no due process. That's usually a prelude to being fired. Traci
St. Benoit, the first social scientist to be sent out to Afghanistan, apparently
has been dropped from the program. Three HTS contractors were wounded in
Mosul when the MRAP they were in rolled over. Other social scientists are
complaining about how this program is becoming militarized."
Sources indicate that HTS management has hired a consultant on Africa to
sell the HTS program to AFRICOM (AFRICOM's new headquarters will apparently
be in Botswana). And yet, according to a source, the program basics are not
even settled. HTS program manager Steve Fondacaro "has spent $175,000 to
procure 50 computers that remain unused." Another indicated that "No one
is working! You can watch all the HTS personnel hanging out in the parking
lot of the local hotel day after day waiting for something to do. And they
get paid for that."
*Part IV of the Series. Part I is titled US Army's Human Terrain System in
Disarray. Part II is titled US Army's Human Terrain System: From Super Concept
to Absolute Farce. Part III is titled US Army's Human Terrain System: Madness,
Mayhem and Troughs of Cash
John Stanton is a Virginia based writer
specializing in political in national security matters. His last book was
Talking Politics with God and the Devil in Washington, DC. Reach him