23 January 2010
The New Face of the Human Terrain System:
Goin’ to Kansas City on 1 April 2010
by John Stanton
US Army Human Terrain System (HTS) principals recently produced a number of briefings adding up to a total of 133-pages of MS PowerPoint slides. For convenience sake here, we’ll use the title of the first presentation titled The Future: Training Directorate Executive Overview, 08 January 2010 (The Future)1 as the overall title for the series. The presentations contain a dizzying array of information, mostly in living color.
They are audacious and excellent documents whose purpose seems to be to convince command and funding sources that HTS principals have been working since at least 2008 to improve recruiting practices (rigid check of qualifications), training methodologies (going Socratic, modular and phased) and logistics practices (housing, deployment, transport, move to Kansas City).
Once past the hypnotic affects of the 133 slides that induce a “this is great” feeling, the realization comes that the same people who destroyed the US Army program concept in the first place are the same ones that now claim they can reconstruct it and expand HTS operations to all combatant commands.
Montgomery Clough and Steve Fondacaro still remain at the program’s helm in spite of two year’s worth of allegations–from former and current HTS employees–that fraud, waste and abuse have been common place throughout the life of the HTS. Further, the substance of The Future is early-collegiate, not professional military/academic pedagogy. Financial figures are presented with no work breakdown structure/allocation. And worse, there is no mention of any academic/university review of the social science effort. This is troublesome given that management’s experience in the field is limited. In short, the effort seems somewhat disingenuous.
John Stanton is a Virginia-based writer specializing in national security and political matters. His book on the Human Terrain System (entitled General David Petraeus’ Favorite Mushroom is available at Amazon and Wiseman Publishing. Reach him at cioran123[at]yahoo.com.
John Stanton’s Human Terrain System articles: