Defense Contractors from Dante’s Circles of Hell: Sequel to Human Terrain System I?

As of 11 October 2010, 23 contractors had expressed an interest in running the US Army’s Human Terrain System and getting a share, or all, of the $7 million that comes with a contract award.

Within that group of 23 contractors are some that have already had extensive experience with the US Army’s Human Terrain System and its former principals Steve Fondacaro and Montgomery McFate.

Others have worked on some type of human terrain analysis contract and/or have marketed their human terrain analysis skills to various U.S. Combatant Commands.

Observers are concerned that positive changes apparently afoot with the U.S. Army HTS will be rolled back if the U.S. Army ultimately lets its business to organizations with personnel who have been in the midst of the troubles that plagued the earlier version of HTS.

A Brief Rant Due to Exposure to HTS for 2.5 Years

There is no questioning of the validity of the need for a military biased geospatial cultural analysis program that assists U.S. warfighters in their efforts to pacify local populations or improve the speed and accuracy of the kill chain. That effort does not require the use of PhD’s from colleges and universities. Further, it seems outlandish to pay $250,000 for an inexperienced (5 months training usually truncated) social scientist to operate in a combat zone.

Why push all that cash to contractors when the talent to divine the cultural landscape exists within the military itself? If after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan (and more on the way in Pakistan, Iran, Mexico—well, Hell, everywhere), the political and military leadership hasn’t figured out the human terrain they wish to control, then the questions become: Are the President and SECDEF and their subordinates that incompetent? Are the hundreds of military-university human terrain/behavioral analysis efforts simply jobs programs and a way for the military and intelligence functions to tunnel into academia (just as they have done with the new breed of war journalists in the MSM or places like Wired)?

Why the constant hue and cry that the human terrain is so complex that no one can figure out?

Hell, the good Christian folks over at the Joshua Project have one Hell of a cultural/geo-name, quasi-geospatial database. They have figured out where in the world the heathen non-Christians are and they’ve done one Hell of a job at it: ethnic tags, language, maps, etc. From that database, Christian Soldiers are sent off on their missions of conversion already understanding the human terrain. Wait! Hell! Isn’t this the mission of the USA? Is it not to convert indigenous populations to concede and to accept the American way of life or at least not get in the way of it?

Creepy People

At any rate, many observers are losing sleep over the prospects of a sequel to HTS I at the hands of some of the organizations listed in the “sources sought” list.

“McNeil and Glevum….Not going to sleep tonight! The companies listed look like various circles of Dante’s Hell,” said one source.

Syzygy’s Lett-Smith [currently not listed] was kicked out of AFRICOM for her unprofessional services. Steve Rotkoff [former DPM at HTS] while at HTS had a number of IG [Inspector General] issues.”

And then there is Glevum which apparently some find “creepy”.

According to sources, “Glevum is beyond creepy—it’s crooked. Some of its people were part of that Lincoln Group fiasco in Iraq a couple of years ago. Glevum is just another front company. They have bilked the government and especially HTS out of tens of millions of dollars. Their whole Social Science Research and Analysis/SSRA scheme [allegedly] used fraudulent data and then sold it on the street.  The sad thing is that the Gallup organization has picked up some of Glevum’s employees in Afghanistan so the same masquerade of data is now affecting U.S. policy there. Gelvum hires so-called local experts to do surveys, focus groups etc. It looks all rather polished on PowerPoint but ask any former HTT member who has seen Glevum products what they think.”

Glevum was apparently mentioned in the U.S. Army’s AR 15-6 investigation. But as one source pointed out, “Glevum has connections in high places, unfortunately.”

Other competitors on the “sources sought” list know the score.

“We are keeping an arm’s length relationship,” said one source.

7 thoughts on “Defense Contractors from Dante’s Circles of Hell: Sequel to Human Terrain System I?

  1. My what a big trough! No wonder the place is starting to get crowded with so many big snouts, so much grunting and squealing, and such a high stink. Forget the tearless sobbing about 9/11, and the jokey patriotic sentimentalism, these guys know what war is good for, as it puts lots of rich food on the table for their fat families to suck on. Second rate pseudo academics can now cobble together any infantile theory of cannibalism and chaos, with the hope of getting some reward–enthusiastic to publish pure shit because they are certain there will be the war corporatist safety net to protect them (there will always be a war, they hope). In the meantime, it’s lights off in cities across America. At some point North Korea will be able to point to satellite images of urban USA and mock: “look at the darkness in which they live…now compare it with Bermuda next door, aflame with electric lights.” These pigs want everyone to think that the Taleban and Al Qaeda are “the threat,” hoping you won’t notice them (the war corporatists), who are by very far the greatest threat to American democracy, not to mention sanity and rationality.

    Good work John.

  2. Peddling fraudulent data, interpreters who can’t speak or interpret the languages they have *qualifications* for, hunter-killer squads who hunt and kill everybody in the region, and the good Christians who tag and label the heathens for conversion.

    Ah yes! They hate our freedoms? I don’t think so.

    While children go hungry, the ignorant and the greedy thrive.

  3. Is it such a big trough, Max? And, is TRADOC attempting to correct troubles with the Army’s Human Terrain System (per John Stanton’s question over https://zeroanthropology.net/2010/10/09/sources-sought-to-run-human-terrain-system-insiders-glevum-and-mcneil-technologies-in-the-hunt/) or is it only trying to run it on the cheap? In briefly perusing the request for bid over my lousy Internet connection here in the Global South, I get no sense of how long the winner of the bid would be required to provide services to HTS. Is it seven million dollars a month, a cycle of four months, a year? Are trainee salaries while in training expected to come out of the seven million dollars? What is more, there are a lot of services needing provision and I have a clue what it would take to provide the quantity and quality needed to operate the HTS warfighting system properly. Eyeballing the companies which have put their oar in the water, I know for a fact that a number of them would not know how to get to first base providing those services up to spec.

    I have other questions. Is this simply a bid run in accordance with American laws about parceling out some federal opportunities to small businesses? Are all of the bidders small businesses? I recall NEK’s principal bragging not so very long ago about how his company was not a small company, but a BIG company. Apparently not big enough to bid on a paltry-seven-million-dollar opportunity. Is Glevum really woman-owned? What percent? What percentage of female ownership is required to get points in favor of success in this opportunity?

    Perhaps what is being addressed in John’s two stories about the bidding has to do with some portion of HTS training being taken over by a small business, which would be a “weak sister” partner to a larger company that would be doing the heavier lifting.

    Finally, on another interrogative note, how many 35-50 students out of Academe per month are going to come pre-minted with a SECRET clearance?

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