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  1. Human Terrain Team members to understand and utilize their capabilities, as well as learn from previous deployments of other team members in order to integrate them into their training and employing them when in the field. 1 FM 3-24, December 2006 2 Human Terrain System CONOP, July 2008.

  2. May 14, 2010 · Human Terrain System. 122 pages. September 2008. Human Terrain Teams (HTTs) are five- to nine-person teams deployed by the Human Terrain System (HTS) to support field commanders by filling their cultural knowledge gap in the current operating environment and providing cultural interpretations of events occurring within their area of operations.

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    What was the purpose of the Human Terrain System?

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    Who is the head of Human Terrain System?

    When did the Human Terrain System program end?

    • History
    • Implications
    • Notes

    Inception to Government Transition.HTS was developed as a response to concerns about mismanagement of U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, in particular the lack of cultural understanding of these countries demonstrated by the U.S. military. Soldiers, commanded by leaders with limited cross-cultural experience, were being asked to navigate a complex foreign environment with little or no training, and they were failing. Prior to U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, cultural research and analysis had only a small place in the Army thought process. HTS changed that. Designed to provide a better understanding of indigenous populations in these countries, it was hoped that HTS would help U.S. and allied forces reduce violent misunderstandings and dampen the insurgencies. In 2006, the Army, facing progressively worsening situations in Iraq and Afghanistan, needed new ideas and thus backed a $20 million, five-team HTS proof of concept. Even before all five teams had been...

    Centralizing Support for Deployed Civilians. While poor management limited HTS during its early years, the program was also hindered by DOD’s ineffective civilian deployment system. The U.S. military is capable when deploying uniformed Servicemembers, but its civilian deployment process is minimal and poorly integrated. For small organizations, or units with only a few civilians, this is a nuisance to be endured. For HTS, which deployed civilians at a larger scale, the system’s weaknesses created massive challenges to mission accomplishment. The effects were significant. The U.S. Government spent almost $800 million on HTS from its inception through the 2014 Afghanistan drawdown, a period of over 7 years. During much of that time, mismanagement, excess attrition, inflated salaries, and poor support practices wasted hundreds of millions of dollars. Furthermore, assuming HTS provided value to battlefield commanders, the years it took to fix these issues and field more effective teams...

    For a detailed account of Human Terrain System (HTS) history, see Christopher J. Lamb et al., Human Terrain Teams: An Organizational Innovation for Sociocultural Knowledge in Irregular Warfare(Wash...
    Ibid., 147. Lamb et al. reference three types of Human Terrain Team (HTT) members: “ne’er-do-wells,” “fantasists,” and “workers.” While these categories are crude, they are also quite accurate. Wit...
    It is important to note that timecard exploitation was routine for civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. To HTS’s credit, team members never approached the excesses of deployed Department of Justice e...
    Lamb et al., 73–74.
  4. GIS for Human Terrain Analysis This 3-day workshop aims to teach utilization of GIS for the purpose of Human Terrain mapping. This is a growing area of study with both national security and commercial applications. Its major goal is to facilitate modeling, representation,

  5. The Seven Deadly Sins of the Human Terrain System: An Insider’s Perspective. Ryan Evans. July 13, 2015. The Human Terrain System (HTS) – a U.S. Army program aimed at helping U.S. and allied military forces understand the people around them in Iraq and Afghanistan – is dead. And anthropologists are dancing ritualistically around its corpse.

    • Benefits
    • Profiling Success
    • Proposals
    • Conclusion

    Sociocultural Analysis.HTS’s raison d’etre was the mapping of the human terrain. In the non- or semi-permissive environments that characterized Iraq and Afghanistan, trained professionals could uniquely and quickly offer qualitative exploratory research to combat units. Reliable quantitative data were difficult to acquire (though it would be easier in a preconflict society). HTT analysis was built on a powerful research reachback capability, today preserved as the Global Cultural Knowledge Network at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The Phase Zero environment, more extensive baseline assessments, and local connections could potentially be established and social science could be used with a greater degree of reliability, so long as political and cultural sensitivities were observed. If operations move to more kinetic phases, reliably trained and vetted social scientists could provide insight into the rapidly changing dislocation that accompanies conflict. As designed, HTTs were to work as c...

    Commanders assessed their teams as successful if they brought understanding of the local environment, proved themselves by strong working relationships within the staff and with other enablers, and supported the brigade’s efforts with their unique skills sets. Despite considerable effort, HTS never established a comprehensive profile for what a successful “social scientist” looked like. Education and adaptability were known attributes, but alongside social scientists, those with a background in the humanities also exceled, so mission success was not necessarily limited by particular disciplines, such as anthropology. This had been suggested in the aforementioned 2008 West Point study, though it further complicated a troubled selection and assessment process. Clifton Green has argued recently that the HTS program turned itself around in 2012 and that it was a model program under the guidance and leadership of Colonel Sharon Hamilton. Until a more thorough organizational history is co...

    Sociocultural Information as an Intelligence Function.One stirring debate surrounding HTS concerned whether its function was intelligence or something else. HTS founders McFate and Fondacaro maintained that in order to be effective, HTS needed to forge ties within academia. They hoped that by focusing HTS products on unclassified material and widely disseminating them in an unclassified manner, such ties could be forged. In 2012, I argued for the gathering and collating of local and oral histories into an archive available to academics in a further effort to bridge the “academic/military divide,” as both McFate and I have termed it. But HTS was also a kind of intelligence function, reporting to TRADOC G2 (Intelligence). In 2010, its new director, Colonel Hamilton, had been deputy G2 at TRADOC and moved the organization in a direction more in line with G2 parameters. Almost all material generated was caveated For Official Use Only, with much of it being classified SECRET. As such, it...

    The Intelligence Community is already moving to capture some of the sociocultural analysis space, but this solution likely reduces sociocultural understanding to a subordinate position within a community where “red layer” concerns are paramount. Housing an HTS-like capability with SOF has some merit but has not been realized for undisclosed reasons. HTS housed with the State Department would likely run into budgetary constraints since State’s budget for research is so much smaller than that afforded by DOD. The Army seems to have adopted a hibernation strategy, preserving a core of HTS capability, in theory in preparation to surge or support combatant command demands should they arise. This strategy does not, however, provide significant preconflict analysis. But here is another possibility: hybridize the capability either by making it a part of the Army’s civil affairs organization or attaching small teams to work in Embassies, perhaps attached to Foreign Area Officers. HTS did not...

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