Human Terrain System. The Human Terrain System ( HTS) was a United States Army, Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) support program employing personnel from the social science disciplines – such as anthropology, sociology, political science, regional studies, and linguistics – to provide military commanders and staff with an understanding of the local population (i.e. the "human terrain") in the regions in which they are deployed.
- History and Recent Developments
- Design and Organizational Structure
- Public Debate: Praise, Criticism and Controversy
- See Also
- Further Reading
In the most immediate sense, HTS was developed as a response to concerns about mismanagement of US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and, in particular, to the negative effects of recognized "deficiencies" in US military "cultural understanding" of these countries.However, military analysts and academics have also suggested earlier historical contexts for the program's development.
Chronological history of developments in HTS
The beginnings of HTS can be traced to a Montgomery McFate and Andrea Jackson's pilot proposal for a "Pentagon Office of Operational Cultural Knowledge", which was published in 2005. Shortly afterwards, in July 2005, the Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO) initiated an HTS pilot project (named Cultural Operations Research – Human Terrain System, or COR-HTS), which was headed up by Captain Don Smith, and housed at the Training and Doctrine Command in Fort Leavenworth. The pilot lasted until...
Michael V. Bhatia, a member of HTT AF1, was killed along with two other soldiers by an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) while riding in a Humvee in Khost, Afghanistan in May 2008.:17 Nicole Suveges, a member of HTT IZ3, was killed on 24 June 2008, along with 11 other soldiers, Iraqi government officials and United States Embassy personnel when a bomb exploded at the District Council building in Sadr City.:9 On 4 November 2008, HTS member Paula Loyd was fatally injured whilst surveying the vi...
Role of HTS in the US Army
HTS is defined as an "intelligence enabling capability",:1 and is categorized as "Intelligence support activity". According to the HTS website, the aim of the program is to "provide sociocultural teams to commanders and staff" in the US Army in order to "improve the understanding of the local population", and to "apply this understanding to the Military Decision Making Process (MDMP)".The website also argues that the program was designed to address an identified "operational need" in the US a...
HTS has two main components: an institutional component referred to as the "Army Enduring Base", and an operational component referred to as "Deployed Teams".Both components include numerous sub-divisions.
The HTS program focuses on mapping the "human terrain" (i.e. the local population in an area in which military are deployed). In order to do this, HTTs create databases of information about local leaders, tribes or social groups, political disputes, economic issues and social problems. This information is then analysed by HTATs and used to advise military staff and commanders, and to inform the Military Decision Making Process (MDMP). Collected data is compiled and stored in a larger archive,...
In 2010, James Der Derian, David Udris and Michael Udris released a documentary film about HTS entitled Human Terrain: War Becomes Academic. The film has been described as having two main narrative components: the first is an inquiry into the HTS program and its history; the second is a narrative of the "tragic" story of Michael Bhatia's involvement in HTS.The film features interviews with numerous individuals who have played an important role in the history of HTS and the public debate surro...Cultural anthropologySocial Terrain
Stanton, John (2013). US Army's Human Terrain System 2008–2013: The Program from Hell. pp. 207. ISBN 978-1491063927.
Jul 16, 2010 · by Andrew Garfield. General Petraeus, in his recent Senate Confirmation Hearing, reminded everyone that in Afghanistan, as in Iraq, "the key terrain is the human terrain." Taking and holding the human terrain is the essential prerequisite for ultimate success in Afghanistan, as it was in Iraq. This battle for control of and support from a contested population can only be won if we understand the Afghan people, whose cooperation, trust and support we are trying to secure.
Oct 05, 2019 · Definition. Research and data gathering activities primarily conducted for military or intelligence purposes to understand the “human terrain,”—the social, ethnographic, cultural, and political elements of the people among whom the U.S. Armed Forces are operating and/or in countries prone to political instability.
http://www.theaudiopedia.com What is HUMAN TERRAIN SYSTEM? What does HUMAN TERRAIN SYSTEM mean? HUMAN TERRAIN SYSTEM meaning - HUMAN TERRAIN SYSTE...
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Clip taken from the documentary Human Terrain, which you can see in full here:http://www.sidewaysfilm.com/human-terrain/Synopsis:Human Terrain tells two stor...
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Jun 29, 2015 · The Human Terrain System–which had been described in the pages of military journals and briefed to commanders in glowing, best-case-scenario terms–was ultimately a complex mix of brains and...
In 2009, I published an article for Military Review recommending the end of the human terrain system (HTS). In “All Our Eggs in a Broken Basket: How the Human Terrain System is Undermining Sustained Cultural Competence,” I argued that the deployment of nonorganic cultural teams to Afghanistan and Iraq was unnecessary and counterproductive.
Jul 07, 2015 · The Human Terrain System led the American Anthropological Association to look anew at its code of ethics and prompted many scholars to think about how close they could ever be to the military. And while only a small number of social scientists participated in the program, four were killed .