Center for Naval Analysis to Run HTS Independent Investigation: McFate Says, “We All Have Red Blood”

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.

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10 thoughts on “Center for Naval Analysis to Run HTS Independent Investigation: McFate Says, “We All Have Red Blood”

  1. McFate says:

    “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.”

    First of all, WHY should those differences be “overcome”? What’s with the uncontrolled urge towards accommodating ourselves to the military? That she derives a fat paycheque from this arrangement is her obvious stimulus, but for those who wish to retain some critical independence I can see no value in “overcoming differences.” Difference is not pathology, it’s not a “problem” requiring a “solution” — at every turn Military McFate betrays her lack of anthropological understanding, speaking as a zealous convert to the military mission, toeing the line like the good apparatchik she is. That some anthropologists work very well with the military, there is no doubt, and no one has ever debated that point. So who is McFate appealing to here, the already converted? Or does she need total unanimity to feel more secure that prostituting to power is the way to go?

    As for targeting…

    “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….[Has targeting used HTS information?] We don’t know that, we can’t know that. 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?”

    How reassuring. That’s no good, morons! Wake the fuck up.

  2. In one of the more bizarre McFate articles I read, she ties the current debate about ethics to the development of postmodernism in anthropology. She does not define what postmodernism is nor note that most of the anthropologists who are critical of HTS are not postmodernists at all. I can’t figure out how she managed to graduate from Yale with her limited knowledge of anthropological theory. Buy then didn’t George W. Bush go to Yale and then Harvard? So much for our top of the Ivy League graduates.

    Well now my thought that the House investigation would lead no where has come to bear. I tend to trust a defense contractor with ties to the Navy and other government agencies to do the job even less with one possibly caveat that may change the tide…. There are smart people in the military and smart people downrange who are well aware of the limitations of HTS so maybe there’s still hope.

  3. Maybe McFate should read items such as this one today:

    Is a Culture War Between American Soldiers and Civilians Inevitable?

    “Across party lines, America’s civilian leaders spend a lot of time and energy showing their respect for the country’s all-volunteer military. But in light of the disparaging remarks a Rolling Stone journalist heard Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his aides make recently about the civilians overseeing the military’s conduct of the war in Afghanistan, it seems fair to ask how much respect American soldiers feel for citizens who choose not to fight its wars.”

    I think of all the comments like: Have you served? Have you worn the uniform? Maybe you should join the boots on the ground and go outside the wire!–as a means of dismissing and discounting any and all criticisms of war from non-military and anti-militarization critics. Only military people should be allowed to speak on foreign policy, it seems. That’s fascism, and it’s a serious threat to any kind of democracy.

    How can I make myself useful to the military??? Are you f–king kidding?

    McFate’s glib, superficial, and frankly idiotic remarks are a good reminder of why she is so widely repudiated in anthropology.

  4. Max–

    You are burning up inside and posting over this. Don’t do it.

    Dr. McFate has a very secure position going forward. She has the goods on so many males in the US military command structure and, well, quite frankly, she is a Harvard/Yale woman. The charge of sexism likely is to be brought forward on this comment but the fact is McFate has done very well digging into the Pentagon and, whether male or female, the formula she has followed is perfect and common here in DC. If you do not live around DC Metro, you just can’t understand the movement it takes to get in a position like McFate has. You have to respect that and if you do not, well, you have no clue about how the Empire works. When your emotions get in the way, you can’t comment.

    I guess on that note I should mention Dr. Susan Block from Yale here http://drsusanblockinstitute.com/about-dr-susan-block…The similarities between McFate and her are fascinating and I think the good Dr. Block might have much to say about the thorn in your side Max.

  5. I see an interesting move here. We’ve been told, at length, that HTS was about “saving lives”.
    Now that this propaganda might get the chance to be countered with facts (at least, one could so believe), we suddenly hear a whole new song: HTS is not about “saving lives”, no, HTS is about “making lives better”, and has always been.

    Yes, and Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

    HTS makes lives better. Ok. Does HTS also make your teeth whiter ?

  6. What kind of goods does she have on the males in the military? Pardon me, but this sounds quite salacious.

  7. Arthur. The self proclaimed Diva of HTS loves a man in a uniform and Mr. Stanton is politely suggesting without beings salacious that Dr. McFate had effectively negotiated the informal system of exchange that governs the military organization in terms of the following rules l. who you know 2. what you owe and 3. what you have on someone. If she’s somehow managed to charm enough of those weak kneed, horny guys, married guys into sharing her bed, she’s got something on them she can use to her advantage. What I can’t figure out is why any guy would find her sexy but sometimes in mostly male worlds, all it takes is a pair of female legs, and a charming bit of flirtation over a couple of drinks.

  8. I need to draw out my comment above. I have no intention or desire to get into the salacious zone here.

    I am not suggesting anything salacious at all.

    My intention here was to point to the political gamesmanship/brinkmanship that goes on in DC, like in any other national center of government. There are sponsors, supporters, naysayers, backstabbers, onlookers and want-to-be types.

    My point is that to get to where she is, she had to fight and claw her way through that gauntlet. It’s similar for a male but is far more difficult for a woman to achieve real success in a military environment for obvious reasons.

    That she has made it to such a high level position is testimony to having run that gauntlet and made it through with only her sidekick Fondacaro being axed. I expect McFate has a powerful supporter in Petraeus as this program is/was favored by him. Perhaps it will grow now that he is back in the field (though as CENTCOM CG he never left).

    I think the remarkable point here is that stories will be forthcoming about how women within HTS (from an EEO perspective) have had their lives made so difficult by males and, by extension, McFate herself.

  9. Apologies if I misread one technique of clawing up to the top. I’m female and have worked in male dominated organizations and seen how the informal power structure works to undermine or sometimes strengthen the formal one. I’ve seen women who flirt their way up the ranks and those who do not – they help negate accusations that the glass ceiling has not been broken male dominated organizations can point to females in high ranking positions. Such women do not exist in high numbers but nevertheless they frequently dominate in key circles and wield more power than they should. Other women in the relevant organizations are ashamed of them because they frequently represent a stereotype of everything such women oppose.

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