Steve Fondacaro and Montgomery Clough, senior program management of the US Army’s Human Terrain System (HTS), were warned as early as 2007 that Human Terrain Team members in Iraq and Afghanistan would become prey for insurgent groups. They were advised repeatedly that training must emphasize the dangerous environment HTS employees would be operating in. That training needed to focus on practices and procedures for handling life threatening situations to include kidnapping.
Issa Salomi, a 60 year old HTT member operating in a combat zone, was taken in January 2010 by an Iraqi insurgent group and a video of him was released on the Net in February 2010 by the same group. This tragic event drives home, once again, the core failings of the Human Terrain Team System: the inability to find qualified personnel, to train them properly and to, quite simply, take care of them. Some allege that many team leaders and HTS management itself have no clue where many of their teams are. “Some HTT members disappear for days and then return.”
“They will tell you they are addressing this in the curriculum redesign but it’s too little too late. The students currently in training are not been thoroughly briefed on the situation on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan . There does not appear to be any attempt to implement anything in training regarding kidnapping. This is criminally negligent,” said observers.
Phi Beta Iota: White the author of this piece has been nearly obsessive in his constant attacks on the managers and methods of the Human Terrain Team (HTT) program, we find a great deal of substance and believe that the HTT program should be placed directly under the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, perhaps as a direct report that is also under the dual over-sight of DH and DI. We certainly believe HTT needs a DoD-level Inspector-General Review, and on balance we would add a Congressional Investigation from the General Accountability Office (GAO).