Human Terrain Handbook: Online Here

Thanks to all those involved in “leaking” this, copies have been made and distributed widely. Access your copy here, or go to wikileaks.

Also, Nature has turned against the Human Terrain System — see “Failure in the field: The US military’s human-terrain programme needs to be brought to a swift close.”

Nature is reversing its earlier support for HTS, which you can read here.

4 thoughts on “Human Terrain Handbook: Online Here

  1. If there was ever any doubt as to the nature of the relation between HTS units and counter-insurgency operations/tactics/targeting:

    “HTTs will use the Map-HT Toolkit of developmental hardware and software to capture, consolidate, tag, and ingest human terrain data. HTTs use this human terrain information gathered to assist commanders in understanding the operational relevance of the information as it applies to the unit’s planning processes. The expectation is that the resulting courses of actions developed by the staff and selected by the commander will consistently be more culturally harmonized with the local population, which in Counter-Insurgency Operations should lead to greater success. It is the trust of the indigenous population that is at the heart of the struggle between coalition forces and the insurgents.” (p. 34)

  2. I agree, and there are a few more instances in that Handbook, including ones noted by Price, where at a minimum one can say that the relationship between HTT work and targeting is “ambiguous.” Let’s assume that it is ambiguous, and nothing more: I think all of us are experienced enough to know that when it comes to official documents guiding actions in very unstable and unpredictable environments, the purpose of official ambiguities and blurred boundaries is to allow for flexibility or “loopholes” as some might call them.

    Aside from this, we know from one HTT member, Tom Garcia, who published a strangely open and direct statement online, that HTTs could be expected to fight in extreme cases. We also know of Don Ayala, a HTT merc, who of course killed an Afghan.

    That this program continues is not so much an indictment anymore of those who staff the program; it’s now more of an indictment of all those who support it, fund it, turn a blind eye, or call for more time to pass to see if, maybe, there is some chance that after two years of operation HTS might suddenly prove itself and render all criticisms null and void.

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