Canadians Win US Army Combat Support Contract: Human Terrain System in CGI, Oberon

by John Stanton

Oberon Associates, a subsidiary of Quebec based CGI, has been awarded just over $227 million (US) to run the US Army’s Human Terrain System (HTS), which “directly supports combat units in OIF/OEF” according to the Office of the Assistant to the Secretary of the Army.

It is interesting to note that Oberon was the King of the Fairies most notably in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream.

It may be good to have literary minded contractors running the show; if they can understand Shakespeare, maybe they can figure out HTS.

The Brits (BAE Systems) seemed to have mucked things up with the help of DCS, TRADOC-G2 and OSD/Intelligence, so it was time for a change.

Now it is up to the Canadians (CGI) to set things right. The size of the award makes it clear that HTS is going to be marketed at every turn through CGI Federal’s operations with the approval of DCS, TRADOC G2 and OSD/Intelligence. It also says that US Army Civil Affairs is out of $227 million bucks that it could have used to perform the same functions.

According to one source, “CGI should fire or demote every manager and supervisor currently in those positions. But the decay and morale is so systemic that I do not see how CGI can succeed.”

The contracting authority for HTS is at the Mission Installation Contracting Center (MICC) located at Joint Base Langley-Fort Eustis. TRADOC has a unit located there. An official at MICC said “the place of performance” would likely be scattered around the country as it is now but that some elements of HTS would be located at Langley-Fort Eustis. There are some changes being made in HTS that may shift the location of personnel from the Mid-West to the Eastern seaboard. The MICC official said “there are spacing issues at Langley-Fort Eustis and not everyone will be located on post.”

Langley-Fort Eustis is home to the USAF 633rd Air Base Wing and is composed of the 1st Fighter Wing; the 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing; and the 192D Fighter Wing.

So Long, Fair Well

“From: Solomon, Mark (US SSA); Date: Friday, September 23, 2011; Subject: Re-bid Update; To: All

The award of HTS was announced this morning. BAE Systems was NOT awarded the re-bid. This is very sad news, but our focus still needs to be on keeping our men and women in uniform safe and that means ensuring our customer (HTS) is successful. Work will continue as usual, until I inform you otherwise. Please continue to show up for work (even after the 27th). I will provide more information as soon as I know more on a transition, timelines, etc. Thank you all for your hard work and dedication.

Regards, Mark Solomon, Deputy Program Manager– HTS/BAE Systems

According to one source, “HTS has 180 Defense Army Civilians (DACs) on Compensatory Time and Leave. Many of these are awaiting their next tour in theater. Additionally, the program has approximately 140 DAC’s supporting operations in Afghanistan. This means the HTS program has more DAC’s on Compensatory Time and Leave than it has deployed. There are dozens and dozens of formerly deployed HTS personnel that would also come back and work. So why is there an expensive HTS training program?”

A few months ago HTS advertised a DAC position for the Chief of the Training and Education Division (CTED). Sources say that the candidates were narrowed down to two for the final competition. They both were subsequently interviewed by Colonel Sharon Hamilton, Program Manager of HTS.

“It is important to note that this competition took place during this same time period the program was going through a number of investigations with one of them being accusations of racism,” said a source.

“The guy hired for the position has a Master’s Degree, is a minority, and has no experience that lends itself to the position. The bizarre thing about this situation is that he has several PhDs working for him that are clearly more qualified for the position. In fact, one of the PhDs performed the duties of this position for over a year and during that time the program was completely redesigned under his leadership. So everyone decided to give the new guy a break and see what he could do. To date he has done nothing that you would assume the CTED to do. He is clearly uncomfortable in this unfamiliar setting surrounded by DAC’s and contractors who have more education, experience and skills than he does. Plus, like the rest of the HTS leadership, he suffers from the inability to communicate effectively, lead, and appreciate the talents and experiences of those around him. Several of the DACs under him have already filed complaints accusing him of creating/fostering a hostile work environment.”

The Case of Colonel D

According to observers, “Colonel D’s” military extension has been denied because he is being medically retired by the Kansas National Guard. So the HTS is finally rid of him.

Not so fast!

“Colonel D, soon to be “Mr. D” is a finalist for the for the newly created DAC position of Director of Training. “The person doing the interviewing and making the final hiring decision is Colonel Sharon Hamilton. Ah NEPOTISM! The DAC’s that work in HTS training have started a pool and most are betting that Colonel Hamilton will pick Mr. D as he is the perfect scapegoat for everything broken within HTS Training, now and into the near future. She does not want to retire from TRADOC with a blemish on her military record. Good idea COL H,” said a source.

Turns out Colonel Hamilton has been working on her PhD while managing HTS. How she found the time to do both is interesting. Some sources have found this appalling.

Some Good News! Wow!

“Glevum’s analysts are hard-working, creative, and properly credentialed in language and subject matter. SSRA has taken a lot of hits about its reliability and validity, but these analysts are at the mercy of whoever created the research design and collected the information. In addition, all data collected in a battle-space is subject to those kinds of problems and the SSRA analysts acknowledge that.

Glevum had some analysts who very thoughtfully conceived of a qualitative study for understanding stereotypes in Iraq.

What they did was collect jokes told in Iraq. The creative approach to the study was to be commended. Few of the HTS internal SSRA critics in the Research Reachback Center or on the HTS teams in theater have done any better and most have done much worse in collecting data and getting good results either through qualitative or quantitative research. Very few will state in their research proposals or plans that there might be limitations to a study in terms of getting good data and results.”

John Stanton is a Virginia based writer specializing in national security matters. Reach him at cioran123@yahoo.com

US Investigators Probe US Army Program: Award of New Contract, Shake Up Claimed

by John Stanton

Breaking News: Oberon has been awarded the US Army HTS contract. The TSI and BAE Systems contracts are in jeopardy. Oberon is a subsidiary of “Conseillers en gestion et informatique” or CGI.

“Where is the oversight on this program? Anytime employees speak up even during protected sensing sessions they are summarily released/fired from the program. The fact that the current Director of Training is still employed is proof since the HTS Director and Deputy Director have said in meetings held at Oyster Point that he is an idiot. He recently told BAE to lay off two of the three Afghan Language and Culture instructors because he thought they only spoke Dari. He had no idea that they spoke Pashtu and other languages and had been teaching them for over a year. He found this out after they were laid off.”

“A subprime contractor worked with the prime BAE to correct known deficiencies with the contract based off of inside info that the other bidding contractors would not have known.

No Comment

A spokesperson for a US congressional office familiar with HTS could not comment on whether the US Office of Special Counsel is currently pursuing an investigation of HTS.

The “no comment” statement still applies to the question of whether an investigation is under way by the Pentagon’s Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service.

But sources have confirmed that US government investigators have visited the US Army Human Terrain System program (HTS). Agents traveled to Fort Leavenworth where they interviewed several US Government employees. But they did not interview any contractors or Department of the Army Civilians (DAC’s).

“They should have,” observers said. “They were asking questions about timecard fraud. The government representatives denied any knowledge of timecard fraud. That was interesting. The HTS Training Director, Executive Officer has first-hand knowledge of time card fraud. One person that was redeployed was a Team Leader that the Training Director knew had managed timecards in a fraudulent way during his previous HTS deployment. Instead of releasing him from the program he was redeployed likely because he is a bully-type and scared the training leadership.”

Observers say that the HTS program has retained and redeployed Team Leaders that have repeatedly shown that they have failed to live by the Army and DAC values and simply do not know what they are required to do. Some recently were redeployed without any training.
One Team Leader–who apparently has numerous allegations of sexual harassment dogging him–was redeployed from Iraq to Afghanistan. “He has had some teammates resign their posts prior to his arrival to the team,” said one. “His personal claim to fame is that he is the highest paid Human Terrain Analyst (the lowest paid individual on a Human Terrain Team) in theater. He stated this based on his complete lack of interest in leading the team but instead going out on tours of the battlefield and taking pictures.”

A second, and recently deployed Team Leader, “has a proven record of failing to lead yet is now heading out on his third tour with HTS.”
And a third Team Leader deployed again by HTS to Afghanistan was “consistently accused of bullying, sexual harassment, stalking and timecard fraud. The person that observed this first hand was the HTS Training Directorate, Executive Officer.”

The Tale of the Valueless Leaders

“If someone visits the HTS training facility in Fort Leavenworth these days they cannot help but notice that every wall in the building has a poster with one of the Seven Army Values on it. It is interesting that these posters have replaced the poster boards which once depicted pictures of HTS personnel deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.

So what is the message here? It is to think less of HTS as a program [with a troubled history] and, instead, work on knowing and living the Seven Army Values. That might actually be okay if the program’s leadership lived up to them.”

In July of 2011 a new training cycle began the 10 week training program. This cycle consisted of 26 contractors from BAE, CLI, and ALION; and one DAC from TRADOC G2 hoping to become a Human Terrain Analyst. Except for the DAC this is likely the typical makeup of a training cycle, said sources.

“During the first week of training the HTS Director of Training, Executive Officer, came in and talked to the July Cycle. In his introduction he stated that if ‘you get through CPAC and the E-QIP you are guaranteed a position on a team because HTS asks BAE to hire enough of each position to fill existing holes in theater.’ Since that time the class lost 5 to the CPAC resume screening and 4 because they could not pass the initial E-Qip security screening. One additional person was a medical fail. So with these hurdles behind them the July Cycle assumed their jobs/positions were secure as promised by the HTS Director of Training, a Colonel.

At the end of the first two week block of instruction all of the instructors and faculty got together with the Training Directorate leadership to discuss the status of each student. During this gathering the DAC from TRADOC G2 was highlighted as someone that might be too immature for the program. The HTS Training Director stated that this person needed to be dropped immediately. A seminar leader came to the DAC’s defense and stated that with some mentoring this might change.”

Three weeks later, according to sources, the training cycle, staff and faculty were shocked to hear that this nearly fired DAC from TRADOC G2 was promoted to the position of Social Scientist 2 (GS12) a full 5 weeks after the CPAC review process was closed. “When her fellow students, faculty and staff looked at what occurred they were interested to find that this one analyst of the 8 in the group was not even in the top 4 most qualified. Her ‘promotion’ was very suspect.”
The fact that the DAC came from the TRADOC G2—which houses HTS program manager Colonel Sharon Hamilton–“caused eyebrows to be raised.”

“So flash forward,” said observers. “The July Cycle begins their second day of the final exercise just like any other day. It is just nine days until graduation. At 8AM a seminar leader announces to the group that the BAE local project lead wants to see all of the Human Terrain Analysts currently in training at the BAE office in Fort Leavenworth at 9AM.”

So what happened next?

“Every Human Terrain Analyst in the July and August training cycles were released at one time. 11 persons joined the HTS program, made it through the early gates, and stayed in the program with the good faith that their jobs were secure. They left jobs and home to take this mission. No one from the program talked to these individuals or thanked them.”

Yet Colonel Sharon Hamilton’s friend was saved by being promoted to a position she was not qualified for, said observers. “No one else was given this opportunity. Ah nepotism. How many of the Seven Army Values did the leadership fail to live up to? All of them!”

Sources Say Defense Giant Moves In

According to sources, Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems (LMC-BAE) have recently won the HTS contract and will share it. But hat has not been confirmed by either LMC or BAE who were contacted for this piece but could not respond in time for publication. At one point, Northrop Grumman was said to have won a portion of the HTS contract. Further, sources say that the announcement is being closely held.

No matter whom the defense contracting primes are sources say that a majority of the sub-prime companies will be jettisoned. “Most if not all of the sub-prime companies will experience a complete cut or will have to renegotiate or be re-hired by other companies that retain or become a part of the reshuffled HTS deck of prime and sub-prime contractors.”

But there are conflicting views on this.

One of the companies apparently in limbo as a result of the new contract award is TSI Executive Services. TSI is a sub-prime contractor that administers and staffs the HTS Reachback Research Center (RCC). As of this writing, one source said that TSI “has been given no direct news about where they fall in the contract reshuffling of sub-primes….BAE has reportedly told TSI executives through indirect channels that its employees can remain on until 12 October 2011 which is about two weeks after the late September 2011 drop-dead date that they were expecting.”

But another source indicates that TSI is not part of the reshuffled contractor deck. “Good thing, too, said another source. “TSI’s theater research managers for Iraq and Afghanistan were notorious for their insistence that RRC cultural knowledge analysts not provide analysis. They were obliged instead to merely report ‘facts’ with little to no synthesis or provision of individual professional expertise. Because the mission of the RRC on the HTS website suggests something other than mere parroting of information without much application of well-conceived professional thought or synthesis of ideas in a formal analytic paper, the practices with the RRC left many analysts frustrated and confused because they were hired under a pretense advertised on the HTS website that they would be making full use of their critical faculties.”

They were also led to believe that they would engage in “occasional but fresh, original research as described about the RRC on the HTS website.”

Geographic Combatant Commands Need HT-CA Skillsets

HTS has a team stationed in Vicenza, Italy supporting AFRICOM, said observers. “But it is staffed with the dregs that came out of Iraq and not the people most qualified to support those operations. HTS program managers picked a social scientist (SS) they could control, someone who demonstrated weakness in her duties while in Afghanistan. The program failed to pick one of the many SS’s from the HTS program that had extensive knowledge and first-hand experience in the region.”
Sources say that is a good idea for COCOM’s to hire their own HTS-type personnel (add Civil Affairs too). But, “they should not consider anything that HTS offers them because the HTS leadership would ensure that the right people for the job, supporting a specific COCOM, would NOT on that team. There are many within HTS that have the knowledge and skills to support AFRICOM or any other COCOM. Unfortunately the program’s leadership does not ensure those people are sourced as needed.”

Observers confirmed that the HTS program was recently reduced from five months to two months. “Once students graduate they go to Fort Polk for two additional months of training to make them soldiers. The program has failed to make them prepared to do their job but they are prepared to be soldiers.”

“MapHT Toolkit is taught in the HTS training program by people that cannot and will not answer the question ‘Is it being used in theater?’ This toolkit has been empty from the beginning and that is why no one uses it.”

Edifice of Shit?

“The only ones that are focused on the next HTS fight are a few at Oyster Point with the direction of the HTS program leadership and they are doing this at the expense of the training directorate.”

One former analyst referred to a document on the HTS website describing the HTS RRC as an “edifice of shit.” That person “was discouraged because he was hired to do some of the very sophisticated things described in this document yet ended up doing low-quality work at his immediate supervisor’s insistence. The tradition of cut-and-paste in the RRC was not something he expected. He feared that in the long-run being required to do low-quality work would hurt his future chances of employment, either inside or outside the defense establishment.”

John Stanton is a Virginia based writer specializing in national security matters. Reach him at cioran123@yahoo.com

A Microcosm of America’s Decline: Killer Pentagon Program Runs Amok

“Unless changes are made, continued waste and fraud will undercut the effectiveness of money spent in future operations, whether they involve hostile threats overseas or national emergencies here at home requiring military participation and interagency response. Responsibility for this state of affairs lies with Congress, the White House, federal departments, the military services, agency leadership, contractors, and individuals who abuse the system. Contract waste, fraud, and abuse take many forms: An ill-conceived project, no matter how well-managed, is wasteful if it does not fit the cultural, political, and economic norms of the society it is meant to serve, or if it cannot be supported and maintained. Poor planning and oversight by the U.S. government, as well as poor performance on the part of contractors, have costly outcomes: time and money misspent are not available for other purposes, missions are not achieved, and lives are lost. Commission on Wartime Contracting

Lives Lost, Damaged

Michael Bhatia, a former member of the US Army Human Terrain System (HTS), was said to have exercised “bad judgment” on the day of his death knowing that he was piggy-backing with US soldiers who were high value targets for the insurgents. Advised not to travel on that day by colleagues, he did so anyway.

Nicole Suveges used her academic skill sets to not so indiscreetly assist the US military in rigging and changing the outcome of a local election involving the Sadrists. The Sadrists found that out and retaliated. They found, fixed, tracked, targeted, engaged and killed her.

Paula Loyd’s death was, at core, the result of letting her guard down whilst talking with an Afghani man who happened to be holding an open container of flammable liquid. He doused her with the fluid and lit it and her on fire. A murder/manslaughter immediately followed, as did an arrest and punishment. The suffering continues for the two American families and one Afghanistan family involved.

These three individuals were lionized in the US press. The HTS program directorate led by Dr. Steve Fondacaro (program manager), Dr. Montgomery McFate (senior social scientist and “creator”)–with oversight of Maxie McFarland of TRADOC G-2–used their deaths to advance HTS program growth/funding, and browbeat “liberal” academia for not embracing the new non-kinetic counterinsurgency program cobbled together with bits and pieces of doctrine dating back to Sun Tzu. They were supported in this effort by former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (who just signed lucrative book deals with Knopf Doubleday) and former US Army General David Petraeus, now CIA director.

The reality, of course, was that US political and military leaders did not prepare their soldiers, contractors or the American people for these long wars on terror or the cultures in which the wars would be conducted. As Zibigniew Brezezinski correctly pointed out, the American people and their leaders are stunningly ignorant of the world around them. The US Army Human Terrain System program has only made matters worse.

Meanwhile, no one paid much attention to the US soldiers who were damaged in Iraq and Afghanistan having the had the misfortune to be in close proximity to HTS: Lt Brian Brennan–(both legs amputated); Wesley Cureton–wounded, partially blinded; Scott Wilson–wounded, status unknown; name unknown–shot in chest; name unknown–wounded in vehicle rollover.

Then there was the unfortunate incident of a suicide: a US Army sergeant killed himself while employed at HTS. While there is no firm linkage to suggest the HTS environment and management personnel triggered the incident, the tragic event added more darkness to the already dismal program. Sources now report that some HTS personnel returning from overseas are suffering from PTSD.

As two observers put it, “The soldiers are too much trouble for this civilian program [HTS]. The people who run this shit do not care about the training or the candidates. This is about contractors and others making money and that is the bottom line. HTS is a money making scam run by a shit load of retired officers and contractors…What he told us over a few beers is downright disgusting. Human Terrain Team member’s double dipping their per diem meals and claiming false time worked…”

“The truth of the matter is that where there is widespread, systemic damage in an organization like HTS liability gets spread around, but Steve Fondacaro and Montgomery McFate were ultimately responsible during the years they were at the helm. From the beginning, they kept talking about expansion and ‘doing’ other Combatant Commands. They devoted resources in the rear to that effort, which by default detracted from much-needed attention to immediate programmatic problems. Then they scapegoated various employees who blew the whistle on corruption and the American Anthropological Association whenever things went wrong, which was often,” said an observer.

Stressed Out

“The inability of HTS management to recognize that it has a psychological relationship with its employees, whether they go down range or not, is by now legendary,” said a person familiar with the program. “Such a volatile environment is also against Army values. The Army teaches its people to watch out for each other on a psychological basis. HTS does not.”

In 2008 and 2009 the HTS Training Directorate in Fort Leavenworth had an employee who was interviewing members of each HTS training cycle to get a sense of how students scored the training (volunteers granted interviews). He gained permission from trainees in the HTS training cycle to tape the post-training sessions. He asked them at the end of every training cycle to rate the training. Observers say that most trainees ranked aspects of the curriculum no higher than a 2 on a scale on 1 to 10 (1 being lowest, 10 being highest). According to observers, “He was truly committed to making things better but despite his great efforts, nothing changed except that the Iraq and Afghanistan studies parts of the program were discontinued and a “real world” Fort Polk component added.

“The Fort Polk component began several months ago and the results have been abysmal. The retention rates are the worst ever,” said a source. After each HTS training cycle, the results were the same yet program management ignored the data that might have been used to take corrective action.

As a result many HTS trainees finished their training disgusted and embittered. The dysfunctions encountered during training led many to carry excess psychological baggage into their assignments whether in or out of the USA. According to one source, this “illustrates the terrible indifference of HTS management to its people, to the program itself, to the Army, and to the American taxpayer.”

“This is not a good way to begin one’s deployment into a war zone,” said an observer. “The stress the HTS training directorate caused was so severe that in one training exercise some former uniformed military personnel mentioned how they were taught to observe others for signs of operational stress that might lead to suicidal behavior. The retired uniformed personnel went on to speculate that it was only a matter of time until HTS would experience a suicide.”
There are good people in the HTS program who “try and try and try on a regular basis to make the system work and believe in the HTS concept,” said an observer. “They want to make the program do what it was intended to do. But their attempts to promote the best of the American work ethic and Army values into HTS are stymied by management at every turn.”

After enough time in the HTS program these “idealists” often describe themselves as disillusioned or depressed. “These are high-quality, competent people whose contributions are often overlooked and dismissed by their supervisors or others in managerial positions. Their depression is the result of working in an environment that is sometimes hostile, sometimes hindering, and in either case limits people to such an extent that they are left feeling ineffective and blameworthy–when in fact they are not. These well-meaning people take things too personally when the reality is that it’s the management of the program that is at fault,” said one who wished to remain anonymous.

Haiti, a Hostage and Prostitution Ring

In December 2009 amid timesheet screw ups (and one case of documented fraud) that led to dozens of employees in Iraq not getting paid properly, and others getting paid too much, Fondacaro and McFate came up with the idea to send a Human Terrain Team to check out the action in earthquake stricken Haiti. Fondacaro and McFate figured it would be a great marketing ploy and so contacted the then Program Manager-Forward, to ask him for volunteers to send a team to Haiti. This idea was floated as the program was going up in flames in Iraq and Afghanistan due primarily to a dearth of qualified personnel and poor management skills at the top.

The people who did volunteer did not have appropriate language skills for Haiti, said a source. Many in the HTS program felt that program management’s sole focus should have been Iraq and Afghanistan, particularly given salary issues and a case of fraud. “The fact that Fondacaro wanted to devote resources conduct a Haitian venture was an insult to those of us who had already been working forward for some months and had yet to receive danger pay.”

Issa Salomi was taken hostage by insurgents in Iraq in 2010 and was ultimately returned. As it happens, Salomi was taken while he and his brother-in-law were cruising Sadr City’s version of a “red light” district. Prior to joining HTS, he was indicted by the US government for violating export laws. Many in HTS think Salomi used the program to develop lucrative business contacts and deals in Iraq. Somehow Salomi managed to obtain a security clearance from the US government.

And speaking of red light districts and the American entrepreneurial spirit, an enterprising employee of the US Army’s HTS was fired because she was allegedly running a prostitution ring in Diyala Province, Iraq.

It is all good stuff for a movie or play. In fact, the play has been staged already. “A satirical examination of the US policy of making the War on Terror more culturally sensitive, ANTHROPOLOGY: Or How To Win Friends and Influence Afghans features a poor Afghan family struggling to survive as an overpaid private contractor, with a predilection for opium, a drug dealing warlord, an earnest academic and bawdy shadow puppets battle it out for who controls the story and the land.” Rick Mitchell, the play’s author, said that “Due to the absurdities of the current occupation of Afghanistan, the play contains a significant amount of comedy, along with live music, out-of-control private contractors, and violent puppets. And the performance features a great, multi-ethnic cast.”

But Where’s the Story? So Asks Government and Big Media

Charges of fraud, waste, and abuse in HTS remain ignored and uninvestigated. Allegations of time card fraud, discrimination—by race, creed and sex–in the workplace remain unresolved. Crooked funding streams from the US Army/Pentagon to prime contractor to subcontractors; incestuous contractor relationships; good old “retired-boy” network nepotism; expensive junkets (one to Paris, France); drunken revelry (at taxpayer expense at a bar in Kansas); whistleblower retaliation and cover-ups, are some of the many allegations that have been made consistently over a three year period (2008-2011). The pattern is clear and consistent.

The US Congress’ Office of Special Counsel apparently has a combined HTS case pending or underway, one of which alleges a cover-up by the current program manager Colonel Sharon Hamilton. Hamilton is alleged to have deep-sixed a report on a team leader in order to avoid embarrassment that might threaten funding for HTS (the team leader referenced here/subject was discussed in a prior article). It is not known one way or the other if the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the FBI are investigating the program.

Under Hamilton’s watch, the Center for Naval Analyses’ (CNA) analysts were apparently setup for interviews with people who were briefed or who were watched by program management personnel as interviews were conducted. Many involved with the HTS matter denigrated the CNA report. But in the hostile environment they had to work in at HTS/TRADOC, they did the best they could.

The US Army Human Terrain System is a program in a state of anarchy. For all intent and purposes, it remains a leaderless, ad hoc program. That has been the reality for the last few years.

Hamilton has picked up where Fondacaro, McFate and McFarland left off which is disheartening to many in and out of HTS. Desperate to find new business opportunities, the marketing goes on with Combatant Commands and Allies (UK, Australia, and Canada) on the receiving end of the HTS sales pitch.

Microcosm

The “buck” has nowhere to stop in HTS. The principles that American children are taught to live by—teamwork, responsibility, accountability, consequences for bad judgment—are turned on their head in HTS. Witness the recent piece by Fondacaro and McFate in Prism, a publication of the National Defense University. Program troubles are largely blamed on other institutions or personnel. Mangled word usage like “Catastrophic Success”, George W. Bush’s description of his invasion of Iraq, is used to describe the HTS program. They “enjoyed” their run at HTS.

But TRADOC, McFate, Fondacaro, McFarland, Hamilton–and their HTS program—are merely symptomatic of some of the systemic macro-level troubles in the USA.

Public servants do not exist in America any longer. The standard for that was set by General George C. Marshall, arguably the finest public servant America has ever produced. Not a man of means by any stretch, he refused lucrative publishing offers that would have made him a wealthy man. “My service to the country is not for sale” he once said. He was “a great man, a human being” according to the legendary actor Orson Welles. Marshall deeply cared about each and every soldier under his command and made sure that Franklin D. Roosevelt and everyone else knew it.

Witness today’s US civilian and military leaders. To them, American lives simply do not matter whether they are destroyed in battle in Iraq or Afghanistan, fired or laid off by states that are forced to cut budgets, jettisoned by businesses crushed by foreign competition, privatized in the mythical quest to save money, or cast-off as technology reduces the need for human labor.

What becomes of those Americans? When pensions, Social Security and Medicaid are cut, what becomes of those no longer considered productive, or in assisted living? Can Logan’s Run be far behind for all Americans?

HTS mirrors the erosion of American society and governance. The covenant between the leaders and the led has vanished. People really are fungible, as Donald Rumsfeld once said. The country is ideologically polarized, the two party system is one body with two heads, elections and voting are theater. The nation’s wealth is in the pockets of the rich as never before. According to the CIA, “Long-term problems include inadequate investment in deteriorating infrastructure, rapidly rising medical and pension costs of an aging population, sizable trade and budget deficits, and stagnation of wages in lower-income families…Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households.” War rages on and the civil-military divide has increased. “The war in March-April 2003 between a US-led coalition and Iraq, and the subsequent occupation of Iraq, required major shifts in national resources to the military,” says the CIA. Some argue that the USA is becoming a national security state.

911 was remembered and celebrated with great fanfare this year. Many used the occasion to promote increases in military spending, global SWAT kill-capture operations and more domestic surveillance. Forgotten in the national frenzy over 911 are two events that reflect far more deeply the dysfunction and danger in state of the union: The non-response as Hurricane Katrina pummeled New Orleans—and the subsequent fall out–and the demise of Detroit, Michigan (lost 25 percent of its population).

Where do displaced Americans go? A trillion dollars (US) goes for Iraq and Afghanistan reconstruction and training. Why not a trillion dollars (US) for reconstruction, education, vet benefits and training here at home?

Americans do not take care of their Homeland or themselves. There is a big difference in securing the homeland and caring for it.

As the Commission for Wartime Contracting put it, “The responsibility for this state of affairs lies with Congress, the White House, federal departments, the military services, agency leadership, contractors, and individuals who abuse the system.” To that add the American people.

John Stanton is a Virginia based writer specializing in national security matters. Reach him at cioran123@yahoo.com

Combatant Commanders Beware: US Army Program Cancerous, Contagious

By John Stanton

A spokesman, and a high ranking official, at the Office of the Inspector General, Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), could not “confirm or deny” that the Human Terrain System (HTS) is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the DCIS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Sources are adamant that an investigation is underway and that many in the program are aware of the activity. Whatever the case, one thing is for certain: the effect of that information traveling from soul to soul within the HTS program is damaging to the performance and morale of employees in HTS.

“The US Army Human Terrain System program is in a profound state of organizational decay. Everything within the Human Terrain System is decaying. It is as if it is at the stage-4 level of cancer. It is pathetic. I don’t believe HTS should continue” said an observer. Others report that nothing has changed within the program and that Colonel Sharon Hamilton, USA, was unable, or unwilling, to clear out the “dead wood” from the Social Science and Training directorates of HTS.

“HTS is a place for people who do not want to be accountable,” said a source.

HTS manages to “irritate people downrange” in Afghanistan. Program management and contractors are more concerned about “what comes after Afghanistan” rather than focusing on the immediate needs commanders have there. Growing the program, rather than serving current constituents fully has been the pathology of HTS program managers and contractors since the program started. The US Army has encouraged this activity at the expense of their personnel.

Further, there are ongoing administrative brushfires within the HTS bureaucracy with procedures and processes being constantly altered, diffusing personnel issues, and more. This effort takes up time that should be spent on assisting teams and commanders downrange. “It’s really sad the so much intellectual capital is spent on such tasks,” said an observer.

Dead Bodies

Human Terrain Team (HTT) leadership is the major problem in Iraq and Afghanistan. “They leave dead bodies wherever they go,” noted one observer using a colorful metaphor. “The interviewing process for team leaders is as bad as their performance.” But no one in charge seems to care about that.

The response from HTS leadership to organizational dysfunction is mercenary, according an observer. When learning of disruptive activity in the field, the typical response is this: “Well, have they [team leaders] committed a crime or done anything immoral. If not, it is ok.” There is no “moral code” within the program. This is a message that sanctions mediocrity and invites trouble.

Patronage and politics still dominate within HTS. Subprime contractors have allegedly shared information on everything from proposals to MAP HT design. Some think that their relationships are too cozy. And funding streams from the US Army to the prime contractor and then down to subprime contractors have been described as “weird.”

The program directorate at HTS (to include Training and Doctrine Command and elements of the Office of the Secretary of Defense) are pushing HTS to other COCOMS in hopes of expanding the crippled program. AFRICOM is a particularly noteworthy target as that continent is a zone of fierce economic warfare between the USA and China, Russia, Brazil, India, and Europe. Africa’s cultural landscape is nearly alien to American leadership (and the American people) as are its many troubles.

US Army HTS to the rescue? Not so fast!

It would be a “huge mistake for the US Combatant Commanders (COCOMS) to accept HTS expertise, precisely because there is no expertise,” according to one source. “Why accept something with such a poor track record.”

“There is a dangerous ethnocentric attitude at work,” said one source. With little or no Africa experience in the HTS house, and demonstrably poor design and research skills, the leap to deploy HTS to a COCOM like AFRICA makes no sense. Indeed, an internal HTS report from 2010 stated that there was a “lack of necessary knowledge & skills” within the program.

Three of the deficiencies listed in the 2010 report include: “Lack of Social Science Skills: failure to present correct information obtained during interviews, social science products not supported by evidence and not vetted against the Intelligence stream, and lack of training. Lack of Requisite Knowledge: failure to understand the specific region to be worked, and how to use knowledge management tools. Lack of Knowledge of Operational Environment: failure to understand deployment stressors, and OPTEMPO.”

False Advertising

It takes a lot of moxie to sell a COCOM, or anyone, a skill set that is known to be absent. More galling is that the HTS program directorate knows this to be the case. In the end, lives/careers are at stake; or rather, lives/careers end up on the stake.

HTS leaders have been saying for years that the MAP HT program has been a success. That is incorrect according to sources. As one said, “The GIS component of MAP HT does not interface with the Link Analysis portion of the system. How efficient is that? It is unusable. The MAP HT cell is a failure. I have never known such a waste of taxpayer money.”

On the subject of money, HTS managers authorized the purchase of a software license for Palintir, a data analysis program. The cost for that license was $1 million (US). The computers on which the Palintir program operates sit idle in an office somewhere in Virginia. Observers are not quite sure what the purpose of the purchase was. The program has never been used. Some think that software engineers in HTS were studying the Palintir program, learning from it, or even pilfering it for MAP HT.

So what to do with HTS? One observer said that the plug should be pulled once the US vacates much of its armed forces from Iraq and Afghanistan. “HTS was designed for two wars: Iraq and Afghanistan. It should stay focused on those two theaters.”

Another solution perhaps preferred by HTS program management is to go ahead and classify it all. Recent advertisements for HTS senior level positions show that Top Secret clearances are required. Perhaps HTS will become a highly classified program. “Some would like it to be mysterious and hidden,” said an observer.

John Stanton is a Virginia based writer specializing in national security matters. Reach him at cioran123@yahoo.com.

Human Terrain System Turmoil, MISO

By John Stanton

“You should look again at this cash cow of a program and ask questions…”

“A spectacular failure…”

“People I met in HTS are incapable of separating truth from manipulation by respondents.”

Montgomery McFate, former senior social scientist for the US Army Human Terrain System (HTS) and Steve Fondacaro, former program manager for the HTS, are teaming up once again to, apparently, tell their side of the HTS story. The Center for Complex Operations (CCO) will be publishing their account in PRISM later in 2011. CCO is supported by the Department of Defense, State and USAID. It also works with the United States Institute for Peace.

“Building a Rocket in the Garage: Reflections on the First Four Years of the Human Terrain System (with Steve Fondacaro), PRISM Journal, National Defense University (forthcoming), 2011,” is the title of the work. HTS was not rocket science, of course, and the the two alchemists managed to get a lot of support from General David Petraeus, USA (Ret.) and a very friendly mainstream media too enamored with the program’s personalities, rather than system performance. To this day, reliable performance data on HTS does not exist.

Also forthcoming from McFate in later 2011, is “What do Commanders Really Want to Know? US Army Human Terrain System Lessons Learned from Iraq and Afghanistan.” That effort, with collaborators, will appear in The Handbook of Military Psychology from Oxford University Press.
But if recent reports are to be believed, commanders either want nothing to do with HTS or “want to have one” in the same manner as a teenager wants to have the latest gadget because everyone else does, even if the older gadget is far more reliable. One can hear commanders stomping their feet in a fit, “I want a Human Terrain Team, not a Civil Affairs Team!”

The Pentagon, Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD), has shown in the past that is more than happy to support and supply HTT’s. That support may get stronger with Petraeus now into the Central Intelligence Agency. Who knows if there will be a HTS linkage between SECDEF Leon Panneta in OSD and Petraeus at CIA.

A Sri Lankan warfighter once said he “feared HTT’s more than the CIA.” That fear factor is probably going to go up a notch given the potential for CIA-DOD collaboration in human terrain exploitation. Who knows? Maybe it has already been done.

Inside The Rocket Launched from the Garage

New reports of dysfunction have surfaced which mirror those of HTS 1.0. The US Army and BAE Systems are still having trouble recruiting qualified personnel. When qualified social scientists with lengthy experience in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Iraq are found, the US Army and BAE Systems manage to find a way to botch up the hire. Both blame each other and then inform the hire that it was the other guy who was responsible for the termination with or without cause. Submitted resumes are embellished by both trainers and recruits and not thoroughly scrutinized by the US Army or BAE Systems it is reported.

A group of new employees was apparently told by a senior HTS instructor, “that he and others were being cut from the program on short notice.” Evidently, a new contract has been let by the US government.

“The curriculum is laughable…It is a smattering of information that includes lessons on the US Army for those unfamiliar with its internal operations, the background of HTS, some elementary counterinsurgency doctrine with selections taken generally from the 2006-2007 time period, a session of anti-Marxism, a class on culture in Islam–taught by an Iraqi woman—and basic phrases in Dari,” said a source. “No one can speak Pashto.”
“The database is secret, internal and is therefore off-limits to peer evaluation by social scientists,” said sources.

Observers say that “HTS doesn’t provide any information that regional specialists don’t already have.” That is the case because, “Field interviews, we were told, are limited to about six minutes. People go out only the morning. Some exceptions would be immediate local requests or communications which indicate social fissions.”

There is an allegation of religious discrimination within the program. One trainee evidently asked for a minor accommodation to observe Ramadan and from that point on had to document nearly every activity and, apparently, was under close scrutiny by program officials.

US Military Information Support Operations (MISO)

What is HTS 2.0 morphing into? A MISO support function.

No matter how sliced and served, HTS is still a polling, intelligence and kill-pacify chain operation dating from its early days at the Joint Improvised Explosive Detection Organization. But now, if some employment announcements are any guide, HTS is becoming central to US MISO (globally) which, obviously, is critical to COIN Doctrine.

Shaping the public consciousness, foreign and domestic, is critical to the success of US national security. It is all stated as such in the strategic, operational and tactical doctrine of the USA.

And yes, Americans are a target of US MISO no matter what the law may say. The term Human Terrain originated in the 1960’s out of the US House Committee on Un-American Activities and focused on minorities and anti-war demonstrators. The US national security apparatus, at the time, was waging a counterinsurgency effort in the American Human Terrain (see Anthropology and Global Insurgency by Kelly, et al).

Here are three advertisements from Glevum Associates which has built a name for itself as expert on pulling information out of cultural-human terrain environments. They gained a lot of experience working with HTS 1.0 and have done quite well in the defense contracting arena.Where they go, or are, the US military and intelligence gathering organizations are likely to be. These advertisements are from the July-August 2011 timeframe.

“Glevum Associates seeks a Senior Media Advisor in Afghanistan…to provide comprehensive advice and understanding to U.S. military staff in Afghanistan on cultural, social and political implications of communication strategies. In this role, the ideal candidate will engage media, tailor messages and monitor audiences to support the command’s strategic communication objectives. The person will be responsible for implementing the quantitative aspect of Glevum’s Face-to-Face Research and Analysis ™ (F2RA™) which positions Glevum to collect and analyze highly sensitive, population-focused data, while protecting the safety and anonymity of respondents and interviewers. Purpose of collected data will be non-intelligence purposes…Experience supporting US Military Information Support Operations target audience analysis is a plus…Must possess Secret Security Clearance.

Glevum Associates seeks Senior Afghanistan Advisor to support a DoD client developing, managing and coordinating information operations programs. Must be able to move freely within Afghan society and develop personal networks of contacts that can facilitate MISO operations. Must already have established network of Afghan contacts and recent experience of establishing Afghan partner and advisor networks. Experience supporting US Military Information Support Operations target audience analysis is a plus. Research conducted and supervised will lead directly into analysis and recommendations regarding information campaign planning. We count on this person to assist the Senior Research Scientist with the development of culturally appropriate campaign themes, objectives, target audience programming, testing and archiving.

Glevum Associates, a government contractor, is seeking Subject Matter Expert Network Managers to support U.S. government initiatives in Algeria, Nigeria, Libya, and Somalia. Recruits and manages regional and/national SME Net in subject country.”

MISO and HTS: perfect together and coming to a country near you.

John Stanton is a Virginia based writer specializing in political and national security matters. Reach him at cioran123@yahoo.com.

Does USA Seek World War III? Agitating Iran, DNA Farming

By John Stanton

These are gruesome days: the Single Bullet Doctrine rules.

The world is truly adrift and on the brink of a global “something”. Everyone can feel it here in the USA.

The US system of government is often described as a layer cake: federal on top, state in the middle, and local at the bottom. That cake is a mess. The frosting—the sweet taste of the American Way of Life–has melted away; the bitter taste of economic insecurity/uncertainty is everywhere in the country. The federal government has slid off the top of the cake and occupies a place completely disconnected from the remaining two layers–state and local. The state and local layers of the cake are drying up and crumbling as the economic crisis in the USA is causing them to jettison all sorts of labor and safety net programs. And cost to care for returning military personnel and the heavy burden on communities that involves makes life all the more difficult in 2011.

Listening to America’s “leaders”, one is tempted to think that their grand solution to all of the USA’s problems is to start World War III. Is there a better way to do that than invade Iran based on divine or mythological guidance? Will Obama look to George W. Bush for guidance leading up to the invasion? Is the country being prepared for a “longer war”?
As the country continues to fragment, truth’s role in the political-military-economic-media milieu, as Gianni Vattimo points out, has vanished. The USA is devolving into religion, sorcery and mythological practices of times past as fear and the national security consciousness breeds visions of the unknown evil lurking everywhere. No one can be “trusted.” Technological Shamanism has appeared. Neil Whitehead of the University of Wisconsin has a very interesting take on UAV/Drone, Night Operations and the USA’s role as a night stalking killing machine.
And now the USA is engaging in the interesting practice of taking the corpses of dead “terrorists” offed in SWAT like kill-capture raids for DNA retrieval purposes.

A Mid-Summer’s Daydream

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta—described early in his career by a veteran Washington, DC politico as a “dangerous idiot”—trots off to Iraq and tells the US soldiers there that “you guys” are here because of 911. Great!

What is CIA Director David Petraeus going to say next? Fortunately, the former General’s version of the Iraq “success” is being challenged from within. Nonetheless, if Obama ascends to the Presidency again, Petraeus will likely become Secretary of Defense.

A daydream here: perhaps President Barak Obama is secretly negotiating with Iranian leaders behind the scenes and as the USA’s election cycle starts to spin fast we’ll hear the “Breaking News”, a sort of “Nixon in China” announcement that a breathtaking series of agreements have been signed between the Iranians and Americans. Can you hear Obama speaking on national television at the post-breakthrough press conference? “I am pleased to announce that, at long last, we have come to terms with Iran. It is in America’s strategic interest to work with the Iranians. It has been far too long since we sat directly across from each other and extended hands of friendship across the table. The negotiations were brutal for both sides. But, talk was not cheap in this case. But make no mistake……”
That would be a groundbreaking event that Obama and all Americans could take a lot pride in. The fallout would be stunning as it would change the global geopolitical balance and put the USA one-up in the Great Game underway in South Central Asia.

Imagine it.

In the daydream world, the US and Iran could work together in Iraq and help diffuse the violence in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and other countries in the region. A solid relationship would counterbalance the nefarious interests of Saudi Arabia and its support of violent Sunni extremists. It would force Israel to the negotiating table and with the USA and Iran leading the way, Hezbollah, Hamas and the Palestinians may be resolved peacefully. Economically, the USA and Iran, teaming up with Turkey, Russia, China and India, could bring to bear massive investments in the region stretching from Iran to Egypt and other countries on the North African continent, employing millions/creating new markets. On that note, it may alter, to the USA’s advantage, the peer competition between the USA and China.

There are so many positives that a USA and Iran partnership would produce that it seems to be a no- brainer for both sides to “get it done”. But that’s exactly the point: there are no-brains, apparently, on both sides, willing to give up living in the past.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

So, instead of diplomatic breakthroughs, we get a press conference in which Obama stated, “We killed Bin Laden last evening”. Is that the stuff of national celebration, pride? To literally blow one man’s brains out, take a blood sample from the corpse for DNA purposes, and then dump the guy in the ocean? Did they retrieve any internal organs (like the brain) for study? What happens to his children/wives? Are they imprisoned for life, stuck in a Dungeon, for fear that they would avenge the father? Where did their DNA end up?

And, for that matter, what becomes of all the DNA samples and bodies that JSOC, CIA, et al, pick up after a kill-capture raid? Is there a “Terrorist DNA Database”? Is the USA sequencing genetic material at a university defense contractor like Johns Hopkins? At some point the DNA, the bio-scans, the cultural data from Human Terrain Teams, Female Engagement Teams, Provincial Reconstruction Teams, and Village Stability Operators will make its way into many Geospatial Maps in intelligence agencies, military commands, and executive offices. This is Joshua Project meets Global Human Terrain Map. Makes sense, the way things work these days.

Getting back to Panetta, the US State Department had to put him in check for his statement suggesting that the USA would respond militarily to Iranian meddling in Iraqi affairs. Where has that guy been?

The Iranians are ascendant in Iran. This comes on the heels, or at the same time, as the US Congress held a session with the MEK, listed as a terrorist group by the US State Department. The National Iranian American Council in Washington, DC reported extensively on that event and a visit to their website should be in order for anyone interested in a balanced view of Iran and US relations, their tireless efforts to prevent a US-Iran war, and their activities for American Iranians.
NIAC reports this on the MEK “A decision is imminent regarding whether the MEK will stay on the terrorist list or if it will be permitted to receive U.S. Government funding and support. The State Department has been ordered to review the MEK’s terrorist designation as result of a legal appeal by the MEK and a decision is expected in August 2011. The MEK has spent millions of dollars on lobbyists, PR agents and communications firms to orchestrate an unprecedented political campaign to pressure its way off the terrorist list. High profile former U.S. officials have received payment to advocate publicly for the MEK, and Members of Congress have introduced resolutions calling for MEK to be removed from the FTO list. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to issue a decision on whether the MEK will continue to be listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in August 2011.

If MEK is removed from the State Department’s list, the NIAC correctly notes that the USA will be repeating the war formula for Iraq. “Disastrous repercussions in Iran and the US will take place to include empowering anti-democratic hardliners in Iran and devastating the pro-democracy movement in Iran; paving a pathway to covert action and war, repeating the mistakes of Iraq; empowering pro-war hardliners in Washington and destroying US credibility among Iranians; and enabling the MEK to control US policy towards Iran and silencing the Iranian-American community.”

John Stanton is a Virginia based writer specializing in national security matters. Reach him at cioran123@yahoo.com

Suicide at US Army Human Terrain System: General Martin Dempsey Channels Joker

by John Stanton

A staff sergeant on duty with the US Army TRADOC Human Terrain System (HTS) committed suicide in April 2011. He left behind his wife and children. Suicide has become a plague within the US Army. Whatever the reasons—despair, stress, relationship issues—it is obviously tragic for family, friends and colleagues.

According to the CDC suicide was the 11th leading cause of death in the United States. Latest data show that 34,598 Americans killed themselves in 2010. The preferred way for exiting life was a firearm with 17,352 choosing that method.
The US Army, led by Vice Chief of Staff General Peter Chiarelli, has moved aggressively to identify the underlying causes of suicide among its ranks. There are many resources available in the civil-military universe to assist those contemplating suicide and to educate family and colleagues trying to decode suicidal signals/tendencies.

One notable US Army effort in this area is Army STARRS that provides dozens of suicide prevention resources. It’s worth the visit. There is also a very compelling statement on the matter by Chiarelli.

“What I’m trying to do is change the culture of the Army, I’m trying to get soldiers to realize that the wounds you can’t see are just as serious as the ones you can.”

Go Chiarelli! When done in the US Army, take up that cause (and basic national health care) in civilian life.

US Army HTS PAO, Mr. Greg Mueller, was contacted concerning the suicide, plus other matters that observers say have surfaced recently. These include the results of a Command Climate Survey, ongoing internal investigations, and “disruptive” Human Terrain Teams operating in Afghanistan. Mueller’s response was this, “It would be inappropriate for HTS to comment on any of these questions. HTS takes seriously the personal privacy of its team members. Additionally, we impose similar restrictions on the release of information concerning the internal practices of the organization.”

Fair enough.

Born Under a Bad Sign

These days the US Army’s HTS brings to mind the classic song by Booker Jones and William Bell titled “Born Under a Bad Sign”. Cream’s version is particularly good. One phrase from the song is, “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck at all.”

The song should be the HTS anthem.

In the short life of this relatively small program (Pentagon relativity at work here), the brand name US Army TRADOC HTS has suffered battlefield killed and wounded, murder/manslaughter, a hostage and spy case, a suicide, sexual harassment (hostile work place), alleged waste-fraud-abuse, a skirmish with academia/anthropologists, plus other matters unreported or barely touched upon in this long series on HTS.

The news for June 2011, according to sources, is that HTS program leaders Colonel’s Jose Davis and Sharon Hamilton received substandard results on the latest Command Climate Survey. They say that the reviews were worse than those of former program manager Steve Fondacaro. There are stories of heavy duty partying by HTT’s in Afghanistan, pay and grade changes that affect program performance, high turnover rates, etc. “Turmoil” is how sources describe the program.

“We’ll maintain a reputation as good stewards of America’s resources. We’ll remain connected to America. And we’ll succeed in all of that because we’ll reconnect, engage, empower and hold our leaders accountable.” That was General Martin Dempsey, former CG of US Army TRADOC (December 2008 to April 2011), speaking at his Assumption of Responsibility Ceremony (for CSA) on April 11, 2011. Now he is on his way to the Chair of the JCS.

Dempsey recently remarked that US Army leaders should, “Encourage curiosity and don’t be afraid to introduce chaos once in a while.”

Perhaps Dempsey is a fan of Heath Ledger’s Joker segment on “Chaos” in the movie The Dark Knight.

“Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I’m an agent of chaos. Oh, and you know the thing about chaos? It’s fair.”

John Stanton is a Virginia based writer specializing in national security matters. Reach him at cioran123@yahoo.com.

USA’s Judge Dredd Moment: Military, Law Enforcement, Public Safety Merge

by John Stanton

According to the US Department of Justice, “Defending national security from both internal and external threats remains the [Department’s] highest priority. National security threats are constantly evolving and adapting, requiring additional resources to address new critical areas. Increasing global access to technological advancements results in new vulnerabilities that must be addressed…. technological and human capital [is needed] to detect, disrupt, and deter threats to our national security.” The DOJ’s FY 2012 Budget requested a total of $128.6 million and 170 positions in program increases that provide essential technological and human capital to detect, disrupt, and deter threats to our national security.

Wait! Isn’t that the Pentagon’s gig?

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta expressed this view on the new national security planning and operating environment. “In the post-September 11th era, there have been significant benefits due to increased unity of effort and interagency cooperation. Civilian-military collaboration has improved, and our military commanders expect to operate in a coordinated and joint, multi-service environment. Diplomats, development experts, intelligence analysts, and law enforcement must work together in today’s complex operations.”

Does Panetta mean all levels of law enforcement in the USA?

According to the National Military Strategy of the United States, 2011, “There are no more vital interests than the security of the American people, our territory, and our way of life… Military power complements economic development, governance, and rule of law – the true bedrocks of counterterrorism efforts…We will defend the homeland and play a critical role in supporting homeland security…”

Isn’t the rule of law determined and enforced by civilians? Doesn’t he mean supports rather than “complements”?

The Department of Justice describes law enforcement as “the prevention, detection, and investigation of crime and the apprehension and detention of individuals suspected of law violation.”

Not Civil, Not Military: Judge Dredd

The fact is the uniformed services of the USA are not the premier caretakers of the American people’s security or freedom. That is myth. National security has become a team effort and it’s time to recognize that. The USA has gone completely paramilitary in every aspect of its local-state-national-international life. America has transmogrified into the movie character Judge Dredd played by Sly Stallone.

But what happens to a democratic republic, say the USA, when military and civilian law enforcement/public safety functions merge and become indistinguishable?

No one has a definitive answer to that question.

Most say that the civil-military divide is clear cut, a Rubicon that will never be crossed by the executive branch, the military, the defense industrial base and its many civilian employees, and uncritical supporters in the US Congress.

Admiral Mullen, outgoing Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that civilian rule in the USA will be maintained at all costs. In fact, in his National Military Strategy of the USA, emphasis is placed again and again on the matter of civilian control of the military.

That’s good, of course, but why the reminder now in 2011? After all, Americans know that the US Constitution makes the military subordinate to civilians.

And yet determining who is in charge/responsible for the nation’s security, public safety and law enforcement has become more difficult over the last decade. In fact, the US military and US law enforcement operate with the same end game in mind: preempt, deter, neutralize, and remediate. Or, in US COIN parlance– clear, hold, and build (CHB). CHB applies to a drug infested neighborhood in Washington, DC, as it does in a community in Afghanistan.

The special operations units in the US military have much in common with their law enforcement/public safety counterparts. As far as the end game of an operation is concerned, SWAT and SEAL teams operate on similar kill-pacify chains and “jointness of operations”.

Perhaps it is time for a grand restructure of the national security machinery.

If it is to be the case that military and law enforcement/public safety operate under the same strategies, operations and tactics, should domestic and global law enforcement/public safety functions be placed under some sort of civil-military geographic combatant command based on legislation similar to the Goldwater-Nichols model?

Should the Pentagon, Department of Justice, Central Intelligence Agency, Department of State and Homeland Security, etc., be merged into some sort of National Security Department? Would centralization of the national security function alleviate interagency madness?

Can the President and Secretary of Defense continue to maintain direct control over the expanding national security machinery? This question speaks not to a military coup, but instead to how two human beings—and their Cold War era staffs—can make the best decisions for the USA in the face of waves of near instantaneous information/events that flood national security decision making centers? Should the role of the largely national security illiterate members of the US House and Senate be changed?

And who are the American people supposed to honor and salute—sometimes deify–each day? Is it the brave men and women of the US military stationed at an outpost in Afghanistan? The contractor who serves the food at CENTCOM HQ or the security contractor—from Peru, say—that guards a US State Department official? Is it the courageous Predator pilot sitting in an air conditioned trailer thousands of miles away from his/her target package? How about the uniformed “bean counters” in the Pentagon?

Or is it the law enforcement/public safety personnel in Detroit, Washington, DC, or Houston who should be thanked for their service? Or the FBI agent shot to death while serving an arrest warrant? How about the guards at a state prison who detect, deter and disrupt plans for an inmate rebellion?

According to the Pew Center, “Second only to Medicaid, corrections has become the fastest growing general fund expenditure in the United States. Two million three hundred thousand people in the U.S. are now in prison or jail—more than one in 100 adults. On any given day 7.3 million adults are under federal, state, or local correctional control (including those on probation, parole, and other forms of supervision)—one in 31 adults. In FY2008, the most recent year data are available, states spent an estimated $47 billion of general funds on corrections, an increase of 303 percent since 1988. They spent an additional $4 billion in special funds and bonds and $900 million in federal funds, bringing total corrections expenditures to nearly $52 billion.” And this excludes the scores of US military/intelligence clandestine prisons located around the globe.

It has all gotten very confusing.

Kill ‘em All or Lock ‘em All Up

Arguably, the security of the American people is primarily the responsibility of civilian law enforcement and public safety personnel. An F-16 pilot or SOF operator in Libya, Somalia, Mexico or Guatemala is of no consequence to Americans living in high crime areas who want to get to school or work without being murdered, raped, assaulted or robbed.

The latest uniformed crime statistics for the period January to December 2010 published by the Department of Justice show that 14, 627 Americans were murdered; 53, 481 were forcibly raped; 442, 932 were robbed, and 649, 650 were brutally assaulted. The Virginia Association of Police Chiefs reports that 56 law enforcement officers were “feloniously killed” in 2010.

The neighborhood fire station is more relevant to security in a local US community than a forward operating base or outpost in Afghanistan/Iraq. It’s a good thing too as the Department of Justice reports that there were 40,070 cases of arson from January to December 2010. That excludes the daily calls that firefighters must make to subdue other incendiary events. According to the US Fire Administration, “an estimated 103,000 multifamily residential building fires are reported each year and cause an estimated 390 deaths, 4,050 injuries, and $1.2 billion in property loss.” Over the first five months of 2011, 33 fire fighters lost their lives in the line-of-duty, according to the US Fire Administration.

The national security consciousness is preeminent now in the minds of Americans. Everything from seeds used to plant corn for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes to rare earth minerals are a matter of national security, of survival (agroterrorism). Americans have a dangerous disregard now for the sovereignty of other nations terminating– 21st Century gang land style–any real or perceived enemy of the state.

The USA has planted the seeds of reprisal. American Homeland watch out!

There is only one other nation with a similar psyche as this and that is Israel. That nation provides a very useful comparative template, a sort of mirror in which to look. There is much to be admired about Israel and its people, but adopting their narrow security-minded view of the world is absolutely wrong for the USA. How has it come to pass that an Israeli official speaking before members of the US Congress receives more applause than the President of the United States of America delivering a State of the Union Address? Is there a clearer message of America’s move away from itself and its ideals?

John Stanton is a Virginia based writer specializing in national security and political matters. Reach him at cioran123@yahoo.com.

US Army’s Maxie McFarland Vacates: Turkey Goes for US COIN/HTS

Maxie McFarland, an unrelenting supporter of the US Army’s Human Terrain System (HTS 1.0), has left his position as Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence of the US Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), G-2.According to TRADOC Public Affairs Officer Greg Mueller, “Mr. McFarland has left government service after many years of dedicated service as both an Army officer and a senior government executive. Mr. McFarland made a personal decision to leave government service and pursue other opportunities.”

The former US Army Colonel managed to keep HTS 1.0 funded, marketed, and publicized with a positive spin–thanks mainly to the exceptional media/presentation skills of Montgomery McFate–during its most troubled years from 2008 to early 2011. But turbulence and dissension was the story behind the scenes. HTS personnel within the program were alleging fraud, waste, abuse, sexual harassment, mismanagement of recruiting and training, gun running, and much more. The stories were often tragic and astonishing; the stuff of movies.

Their comments were dutifully reported and carried by many media outlets in and out of the USA. It was HTS personnel that were largely responsible for the initiation of internal US Army investigations of the program, plus independent assessments (one mandated by the US Congress) by the Center for Naval Analyses and the Institute for Defense Analysis. The American Anthropological Association added its weight officially disavowing HTS. That was the least of McFarland’s problems.

Former HTS Technology Director Colonel Daniel Wolfe, USA (Ret.) and a principal of the Asymmetric Warfare Division, ARCIC, is said to be facing a bumpy road ahead due to actions whilst at HTS.

According to some observers, it’s not clear how much training has changed since Colonel Sharon Hamilton took over as HTS 2.0 program manager. Supposedly, the regional studies component of HTS 2.0 training, considered by many students to be the best part, was removed and has not been replaced. Improvements apparently include training that may reduce the “liability factor” of civilians working outside the wire and possibly help ensure their safety. A course on weapons familiarization appears to have been introduced. Others say it doesn’t appear that a “whole lot has changed although time spent training has been reduced.”

According the HTS website, the Pentagon/OSD continues to plan for an aggressive expansion of the Human Terrain System 2.0/MAP HT across the geographic combatant commands. There is a “DIA and USD-I initiative to expand socio-cultural capabilities beyond CENTCOM to [AFRICOM], EUCOM, PACOM, and SOUTHCOM.” HTS 2.0 is a key part of the USA’s counterinsurgency campaign in the CENTCOM AOR against assorted insurgent groups.

HTS 2.0 expansion into SOUTHCOM means it will join in the War on Drugs.

Planners maintain their intent to sell HTS 2.0 to other militaries around the globe.

For example, Turkey has been interacting with the US Army and Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Center for some time now in an effort to revamp its counterinsurgency doctrine. “January 2010 COIN consultations with the Turkish [Army] highlights the desire of partner countries to exchange operational insights, better understand counterinsurgency concepts, and build COIN capabilities,” said the director of the Center. That means foreign military officers are being exposed to, one hopes, the best elements/practices of HTS 2.0 and its MAP HT capabilities.

“In January 2010, US COIN Center principals met with the Chief of the Turkish delegation, MG Orhan Turfan (Chief, General Plans and Policies, Turkish Army) and U.S. lead, BG Ed Donnelly (DAMO-SS). Discussions focused on developing agility in leaders and soldiers…to operate in complex Operating Environment through education, introduction of non-military conditions…in training environments, and stressing the importance of situational understanding prior to task execution in order not to solve the wrong problem. MG Turfan was interested in processes to disseminate lessons across the force. Proposed agreed to actions (ATAs) under consideration include: adding Turkish Army POCs to distribution of monthly COIN SITREP; invitation of Turkish officers to participate in future COIN Leader Workshops; COIN Center engagement with Turkish ILE students (ongoing); and potential Subject Matter Exchanges tied to implementation of NATO [meaning US] COIN doctrine. Next step: continue collaboration with the Turkish Army by executing ATA’s from HQDA.”