Tony Bartuca, writing for Inside the Army (pay for read), reports that the Center for Naval Analysis, (CNA Analysis & Solutions) has been contracted by the Pentagon’s Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence to conduct the Independent Assessment requested by the US House Armed Services Committee (HASC). The remainder of the article features sweetness and light statements from Gary Phillips, (Director of US Army Training and Doctrine Intelligence Support Activity that works with HTS) and Dr. Montgomery McFate, Senior Social Scientist of HTS.
At this writing the USD/I is retired USAF general James Clapper who has been nominated for the position of Director of National Intelligence. Marc Ambinder writing for the Atlantic said “Clapper’s likely replacement as USDI will be Michael Vickers, a former CIA officer who is now the assistant secretary of defense for low intensity conflict, special operations and interdependent capabilities.” Vickers bio indicates he had combat experience in Central America from 1973-1986. He was also portrayed in the movie Charlie Wilson’s War.
Speaking through Bartuca of ITA, Phillips and McFate offer the standard TRADOC party line. For example, here is Phillips on the HASC investigation:
“I think it’s only fair that, at this point, they [HASC] ask for an assessment of how well the program’s doing and whether or not it has met the needs that were laid out before the so they can assure that they’ve been good stewards of the American taxpayer’s dollars.”
And here is McFate:
“I think the differences [between academia and the military] can be overcome if we learn to treat each other like human beings and recognize that we all have red blood and that our skin is warm and there are things we have in common…In my experience, academics and the military can actually work very well and very cooperatively together if those people are willing to put their…prejudices aside. I think this difference has been overemphasized and lot of fuss has been made about it.”
And here is Phillips on Kill Chain matters:
“We have a code of ethics that says we do not participate in targeting, I say that because that’s what we believe. Now, information that you provide to a brigade can be used any way the brigade sees fit. You can’t stop a brigade from using it. But the standard is HTS is not part of the targeting cycle.”
According to Bartuca, when Phillips was asked if any HTS research or study has ever contributed to a commander’s decision to take lethal action, his response was this:
“We don’t know that, we can’t know that, he said. It’s impossible to know. Can you give me a way we would know, short of a brigade commander standing up and saying, Yeah! I took your information, I went downtown with it?”
Bartuca reports that when asked about how HTS measures success, both McFate and Phillips said:
“The most important metric going forward is whether the lives of the indigenous people of Iraq and Afghanistan have been improved by HTS team members assisting the military. It may sound a little pie in the sky, but are the indigenous people’s lives better? Have we made it better by increasing security? That’s really what we’re after.”
Really? What about these lives? Paula Loyd-killed/died of wounds; Nicole Suveges—killed; Michael V. Bhatia—killed; Lt Brian Brennan–(both legs amputated); Wesley Cureton–wounded, status unknown; Scott Wilson–wounded, status unknown; D. Ayala–guilty of manslaughter; A. Salam, Afghani National killed by Ayala; Issa Salomi–Hostage, released March 2010; Name Unknown-shot in chest; Name Unknown-wounded in vehicle rollover; Name Unknown-wounded in vehicle rollover; Name Unknown—currently receiving medical care in USA.