U.S. Congress and the Human Terrain System

To supplement the report by John Stanton, “US Congress Requests Assessment of Army‘s Human Terrain System: Independent Assessment Due from SECDEF by March 2010,” one should note the following background documents to which the request for the assessment refers.


In the committee report (H. Rept. 110-652) accompanying the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009, the committee expressed support for expansion of the HTT concept, including to other combatant command areas of responsibility.

The committee is aware of anecdotal evidence indicating the benefits of the program supporting operations in the Republic of Iraq and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The committee also notes that a number of press accounts provide anecdotal evidence indicating problems with management and resourcing. The committee finds it difficult to evaluate either set of information in the absence of reliable, empirical data.

Let us turn then to the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009, specifically Title XV of H. Rept. 110-652. (if you have trouble accessing the document, you can obtain it here: 9.3 Mb PDF). Quoting directly from pages 271-272 (underlining added):

Human, social, and cultural behavioral modeling advanced development

The budget request contained $9.4 million in PE 63670D8Z and $6.0 million in PE 64670D8Z for human, social, cultural, and behavior (HSCB) modeling advanced development.

The committee notes that today’s military forces are involved in a growing number of complex missions from counterinsurgency to security and stability operations. These missions are best served by a security force that understands and appreciates the individual, tribal, cultural, ethnic, religious, social, economic, and other aspects of the human terrain. The committee supports the Department’s effort to reshape their approach to research, training, and doctrine to adapt to the current irregular warfare environment. The Department’s creation and deployment of Human Terrain Teams (HTT) that employ cultural awareness and analysis practices notes one approach toward adapting to complex military operations.

In title XV of this Act, the committee notes the contributions of the prototype HTTs currently supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and believes that sound research and resulting tools are key technology enablers for success of these teams now and in the future.

The committee recommends $13.4 million, an increase of $4.0 million, in PE 63670D8Z and $8.0 million, an increase of $2.0 million, in PE 64670D8Z for the continued development, demonstration and rapid transition of key technologies supporting human terrain understanding and forecasting to include, Mapping the Human Terrain Joint Capability Technology Demonstration and the Conflict Modeling, Planning and Outcome Experimentation Program.

On page 279:

Social science research within the Department of Defense

As noted elsewhere in this title, the committee is encouraged by the effort within office of the Director for Defense Research and Engineering (DDR&E) to place an increasing focus on the human, social, and cultural behavior (HSCB) elements of research. The committee is further encouraged by a corresponding emphasis within the science and technology (S&T) programs of the respective services.

The committee has also been encouraged by the success of integrating social science expertise into Department of Defense operations via the Human Terrain Teams (HTT), which provide culturally relevant advice to military decision makers. As has been pointed out in recent testimony before the committee, these teams provide value added to traditional military operational planning and have been instrumental in saving lives in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The committee believes that more programs in the future should be informed by social science research.

Despite this recent emphasis on efforts such as HSCB and the deployment of HTTs, the committee is concerned about the dearth of social scientists within the Department’s S&T community and especially within program management leadership positions. The committee believes the Department should take steps to leverage social scientist expertise existing within other parts of the federal government, such as the National Science Foundation.

And on page 475:

Human Terrain Team Support

The committee supports the concept for the prototype Human Terrain Teams (HTT) currently supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. HTTs have been instrumental in saving the lives of coalition troops by reducing casualties among Afghani and Iraqi civilians. HTTs provide our warfighters with non-kinetic options in planning and carrying out their missions. The committee is aware that the first prototype HTT is credited with reducing kinetic operations by more than 60 percent during its first 6 months of deployment in Operation Enduring Freedom. HTTs are critical enablers to shaping military planning in pre-conflict environments, and are supportive of reconstruction and stabilization efforts. HTTs are currently proving their value in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the committee believes that capability would prove equally valuable in other combatant command areas of responsibility.

The committee recommends $90.6 million in Operation and Maintenance for the purpose of fielding additional HTTs to meet the current Central Command requirement of 26 teams. The committee encourages the Department to begin training, equipping, deploying, and sustaining human terrain teams with other regional combatant commands to include at least one each for Pacific Command, Southern Command, and Africa Command.

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5 thoughts on “U.S. Congress and the Human Terrain System

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  5. David Marshall

    No witnesses and not in the record.

    In 2011 the needed for treatment experimentation evidence is still not in a subject’s medical record with the names of all in-service witnesses lost. The U.S. Government’s then 50 year known, “experiments that were designed to harm” [6] were a dereliction of duty in direct disobedience of the Department of Defense (DOD) Secretary’s 26 February 1953 order.[2] During the U. S. General Accounting Office (GAO) [5] and U.S. Senate’s [6] 1994 reported past fifty years, hundreds of thousands of the “to harm” service records were destroyed in a 1973 National Personnel Records Center fire. Congress’s 1974 Privacy Act censored experiment verifying witnesses from any surviving records! The Senate’s 1994 Report notes past and present, “III. Findings and conclusions”, “K. DOD and DVA have repeatedly failed to provide information and medical followup to those who participate in military research…” and “N. Participation in military research is rarely included in military medical records, making it impossible to support a veteran’s claim for service-connected disabilities from military research.”
    To-date the U.S. Congress has rejected the U.S. Senate 1994 Report’s, “The Feres Doctrine should not be applied for military personnel who are harmed by inappropriate human experimentation when informed consent has not been given.”[6] The U.S. Supreme Court’s 1987 STANLEY is a “to harm” DOD 1958 drug experiment “injuries that `arise out of or are in the course of activity incident to service.'”.[3] FIFTY (50) TIMES cited is the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1950 FERES “incident to service” death decision due to a 1947 Army barracks fire.[1] The STANLEY case is one of the U.S. Senate’s Dec. 1994 “During the last 50 years, hundreds of thousands of military personnel” were subjected to “experiments that were designed to harm”, e.g., their reported biological and chemical agents, radiation exposure, hallucinogenic and investigational drugs, experimental vaccines and behavior modification projects.[6] Underlying the U.S. Senate’s Report is the GAO Sept. 1994 U.S. House Report, “Human Experimentation Overview on Co1d War Era Programs”![5]

    Convicted rapists and murderers are given protection from human experiments by the U.S. Constitution’s 1791 Bill of Rights, Amendment Eight. In 1992 the U.S. Senate signed and ratified the United Nation, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).[4] Its 1994 Index, “… Article 7 – Freedom from Torture, or Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.”notes that, “Written policy and practice prohibit the use of” [prison] “inmates for medical…..experiments.”![4] Nineteen (19) times cited are the U.S. Constitution plus its Eighth Amendment’s no cruel and unusual punishment.[4]

    The “Veterans Right to Know Act” to establish the Veterans’ Right to Know Commission was proposed in the 2005 and H.R. 4259 [109th] 2006 Congress.[7] A veteran’s right to get the “designed to harm” [6] needed for treatment, and experiment identifying, evidence never became law. This is consistent with the 1957, “….The intelligence community believed that it was necessary “to conceal these activities from the American public in general,” because public knowledge of the “unethical and illicit activities would have serious repercussions in political and diplomatic circles and would be detrimental to the accomplishment of its mission.” Id., at 394 (quoting CIA Inspector General’s Survey of the Technical Services Division, p. 217 (1957)).”; See [Footnote 4] of Section IV, 1987 STANLEY.[3]

    It is now a from 1944, 67 years of U.S. Congressional talk and no correction. Do not the U.S. Senate’s stated DOD “EXPERIMENTS THAT WERE DESIGNED TO HARM” [6] continue? Overlooked by many in Congress is their Oath of Office to defend the U.S. Constitution, our national “Pledge of Allegiance” “with liberty and justice for all” and the U.S. Supreme Court’s ignored own, carved in stone over its entrance, “EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW”! As in the GAO and U.S. Senate’s reported past, these “incident to service” activities are conducted under the ongoing secrecy cover of our ‘national interests’, e.g., WWII, Cold War, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan. Shouldn’t U.S. Service Personnel and Veterans get back those Constitutional Rights that they die for and convicted rapists and murderers keep? Please hold your members in the U.S. Congress accountable!


    [1] 1950 – Feres v. United States, 340 U.S. 135, 146 (1950). http://supreme.justia.com/us/340/135/case.html

    [2] 1953 – DOD Secretary’s 26 February 1953 NO non-consensual, human experiment’s Memo pages 343-345. George J. Annas and Michael A. Grodin, “The Nazi Doctors and the Nuremberg Code; Human Rights in Human Experimentation” (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992).

    [3] 1987 – U.S. SUPREME COURT, JUNE 25, 1987, U.S. V. STANLEY , 107 S. CT.. 3054 (VOLUME 483 U.S., SECTION 669, PAGES 699 TO 710). http://supreme.justia.com/us/483/669/case.html

    [4] 1994 – U.S. State Dept., “U.S. Report under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights July 1994, Article 7 – Freedom from Torture, or Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.” See “Index of “1994 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights”

    [5] 1994 – [PDF] T-NSIAD-94-266 GAO September 28, 1994 “Human Experimentation Overview on Co1d War Era Programs” archive.gao.gov/t2pbat2/152601.pdf

    [6] 1994 – December 8, 1994 REPORT 103-97 “Is Military Research Hazardous to Veterans’ Health? Lessons Spanning Half a Century.” Hearings Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, 103rd Congress 2nd Session.

    [7] 2005 & 2006 – “Veterans Right to Know Act” to establish the Veterans’ Right to Know Commission was proposed in the 2005 and H.R. 4259 [109th] 2006 Congress. H. R. 4259.

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