Human Terrain System: Senior Managers to Paris, Security Clearance Troubles

NOTE: this is an update on a previous report–“HTS’ MAP HT Failure: People Not Being Paid, MAP HT Cost Overrruns“–and should be read in conjunction with that.

“These people will scrimp to save dimes when it comes to actually paying employees – but Steve Fondacaro and Montgomery McFate can blow a fortune in Paris attending some software meeting.  Amazing!”

“Some more lunacy from the Human Terrain System Files”

At the end of January 2010 there was another panicked document signing moment that is all too common within HTS. Usually it is because someone is trying “to cover their ass once again,” say sources.  For example, many in the program were apparently given a document titled DD 2356 “DOD CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OVERSEAS EMERGENCY  ESSENTIAL (EE) POSITION AGREEMENT” forms that had to be signed immediately, scanned, and sent to the program manager forward.

Observers say this came about because of injuries sustained by Scott Wilson. It turns out that his medical treatment was delayed because his status couldn’t be verified.

“Great move!” said sources,“ but Fort Leavenworth [HTS HQ] didn’t catch on to the fact that these forms need to be filled out BEFORE an offer of Federal Employment is made – not afterwards.  This is by statute because being EE also requires Smallpox and Anthrax shots, which some people don’t want to get and would likely seek other employment opportunities instead. This needs to be made clear to prospective personnel before they are made an Offer of Employment – not once they’ve been in the field for six months!”

Sources say that there are now over 100 U.S. Army Civilians “running around in Iraq and Afghanistan who are designated as EE but not compliant with the regulations.” Program managers forward are apparently not aware of the requirements. “There has been no effort on Fort Leavenworth’s part to address this problem other than to make sure that advertisements running on USAjobs.gov now state the EE requirements for Smallpox and Anthrax shots.”

Time Warps and Sheets

“It would seem that the US Army TRADOC Command has entered a time warp. They have dusted off the files on CORDS and the old FAO program. The new COIN manual and doctrine is the Holy Grail!  The message being sent  is this: Use COIN or else!”

HTS timesheets don’t allow for the inclusion of Sunday Premium and After 6:00pm differential pay because the “proper codes aren’t even on them,” said observers.  “We’ve had four different timesheets in this last year alone and none of them contain all the codes we need to actually use.”

Security Clearances

One of the biggest problems with the Human Terrain Analysts (HTAs) is that they’re of Afghan or Iraqi descent and it is hard to get them cleared, said observers.  Some say much of the difficulty is that candidates lie on their security applications or have so many family ties overseas that “the investigation becomes almost impossible.” Nonetheless,  many receive an Interim SECRET from Fort Leavenworth so they can tool down to Fort Benning  for training and maybe even deployment. When these problems are discovered, sources say, they can’t get a final adjudication and have to be flown back to Fort Leavenworth in order to get them resolved, or in some instances they get dropped from the program entirely.

“So you have a bunch of guys that train for six months in the States. They then arrive in-country [Afghanistan or Iraq] and then  have to be flown home roughly 90 days later because of security issues.  The program is so desperate to fill the classrooms that the system of accepting unqualified candidates appears to be encouraged.  The ‘Money Maker’ for HTS–other than the MAP HT hardware /software and SSRA fiasco)–is the training portion at Fort Leavenworth. Everyone involved in the training portion is making money hand over fist. BAE gets rich, the retired O-5’s and O-6’s get rich during that idiotic Weston Resolve session for  two weeks, K-3 (computer training) gets rich, and the trainers get their cut as long as bodies keep circulating through The Landing.  And all of this at Taxpayer expense!”

MAP HT: Fondacaro’s Boondoggle

It’s official. MAP HT, “The boondoggle of all boondoggles raised its ugly head in a big way.” Sources say “Steve Fondacaro got a weed up his ass about a month ago and mandated that all teams attend MAP HT training.” “That was a great plan,” they say, “except the crap doesn’t work. It consists of a bunch of outdated servers sitting in Pelican Cases that are gathering dust in various corners of Afghanistan and Iraq.”  Not deterred, an MTT (Mobile Training Team) began its MAP HT Road Show starting with HT’Ts  in Kandahar.  Subsequently, when three groups of U.S. Army Civilians failed the week long course, an individual employed as a U.S. Army contractor threatened them all with being fired.” That action is in clear violation of Human Relations procedures covering U.S. Federal Employees.

HTT’s are apparently on the move now in Afghanistan again–at considerable expense–to attend another MAP HT training gig  conducted by Wolf and the two US Army contractors cited above. Sources say one BCT Commander had to delay a major campaign for a week since a “gung-ho HTT Team Leader (who imploded his own team in Bagram previously) mandated that his ENTIRE team attend MAP HT – leaving the BCT Commander without HTT support until they returned.”

We’ll Pay You When We Feel Like it

“The general public does not have any clue how serious an issue it is for us in HTS.”

There is an internal tracking system known as Request For Support (RFS) where compensation matters are tracked. There are “well over 1,000 open requests being tracked.” Sources say, the overwhelming bulk of these are related to pay issues. “An  important point to consider is that each RFS may contain several problems for one HTT member from one pay period, or the RFS may include an entire HTT’s worth of problems. Multiply each pay issue in RFS by four or six times and the extent of this becomes apparent.”

Evidently, some HTT members are owed $15,000 or more for services rendered.

It is all a “big yawn” say observers back at Fort Leavenworth. “The individual person who processes the civilian payroll shows outright animosity towards the U.S. Army Civilians and routinely decides on her own what hours someone actually worked instead of following what was on the timesheet/timecard”.

It is reported that one team was “shorted”  holiday pay and when they informed the person who processes the payroll, she shot back a reply that the payroll would be adjusted to reflect the hours worked (even though it was a holiday period). It took nearly four months to fix.

HTT’s have reportedly been denied overtime premium pay for working past 6:00pm. This is a requirement mandated by U.S. Federal law. “Attempts by the USFOR Human Resources representative   to get this resolved have been met with stone-walling from HTS HQ. They refuse to return emails sent to them by the  HR representative.”

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6 thoughts on “Human Terrain System: Senior Managers to Paris, Security Clearance Troubles

  1. This section appears to be missing a begin-quote:

    >>Not deterred, an MTT (Mobile Training Team) began its MAP HT Road Show starting with HT’Ts in Kandahar. Subsequently, when three groups of U.S. Army Civilians failed the week long course, an individual employed as a U.S. Army contractor threatened them all with being fired.”<<

  2. I have to check that…I had deleted the passages that were in the previous version, so that the new material only would be presented, but I may have gone too far.

  3. Hi.

    Reading this and the previous post on HTS, I suddenly had a PR idea.
    I suggest the leaders and promoters of HTS rename their program as :
    Functional Intelligence Aggregation System for Counterinsurgency Operations, or :
    FIASCO.

    Seems quite fitting.

  4. Someone ought to shout out now before HTT people give in that the anthrax shots are dangerous. Their is an hilarious discussion of what happened with one group of military personnel who refused the shots while deployed, along with the army physicians on the team. This is a wonderful memoir called Mass Casualties by Spc Michael Anthony about a medical unit. There is also a sobering discussion in the The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq. by Helen Benedict.

  5. I’m not sure if HTS as mission essential would require anthrax shots any more. Today, they might only receive the varicella vaccine for smallpox. I have heard from people who pass through Ft. Benning as “mission essential” that they only receive the smallpox vaccine. If that is the case, most people will run a low-grade fever and swollen brachial lymph nodes for their first few weeks in theater. If they are susceptible to shingles infections, the vaccine might prevent future outbreaks.

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