Updates to U.S. Army Human Terrain System News

I have some urgent updates to my last article, “U.S. Army Human Terrain System News: Hamilton Deserves Credit, CG TRADOC in Trouble, Training Woes“:

“Please warn your sources in HTS that TRADOC G2 senior management is on to them. I was told this in a conversation I had with the TRADOC G2 today. It’s sad that finding out your sources seems to be a priority. I hate to see anyone lose their job over this.”

As for Christopher A. King, who now replaces McFate as the social science director of HTS:

“He was chosen to lead the social science directorate not for his qualifications but because he is the least controversial last man standing.”

Also, this news:

On the artistic side, HTS will be featured as the topic of a theater performance in Los Angeles, California. Playwright Rick Mitchell has penned and produced a performance titled SHADOW ANTHROPOLOGY: A Post-9/11 Comedy. The play will be opening and running in Los Angeles in January and February, as part of a theatre festival.

Shadow Anthropology will also be the lead play in a forthcoming collection of Mitchell’s work. The fine American actor Edward James Olmos says of Mitchell’s book, “”Funny! Provocative! Stunningly poignant! Rick Mitchell is a great American Playwright.”

Mitchell is also working on a “comic song” about the Human Terrain System.


As a poor Afghan family struggles to hold onto its farm in spite of a drought, a warlord offers possible solutions, including a more profitable crop, as well as an odd marriage proposal for the farmer’s young daughter. Soon thereafter, an idealistic anthropologist from Puerto Rico teams up with an opium-loving American mercenary as part of a U.S. Army Human Terrain Team. While the visitors attempt to create a more “culturally sensitive” military occupation of Afghanistan, various characters and bawdy shadow puppets battle it out for who controls not only the story, but also the land. A satirical examination of the U.S. military’s “new” post-9/11 strategy to win Afghan hearts and minds, this dark comedy features original songs, Turkish-style shadow puppetry, and Spam.

Some might recall Rick Mitchell’s previous work on anthropology and HTS: ANTHROPOLOGY: Or How To Win Friends and Influence Afghans.

7 thoughts on “Updates to U.S. Army Human Terrain System News

  1. John Stanton

    Max–Thank you for posting.

    There was also this concerning Christopher King according to a couple of sources:

    “He was chosen to lead the social science directorate not for his qualifications but because he is the least controversial last man standing.”

    Nearing the time when I should turn this over to someone else…Any takers?

    1. Maximilian Forte

      Hi John,

      Let me add that above, sorry I forgot that…but the newest version of the complete article has in fact replaced the older version. I just wanted to make sure that people were aware of the updates.

  2. John Stanton

    I have received some correspondence on the last HTS piece concerning the “warning to sources” that led off the updated HTS piece (thanks Max for upgrading).

    “Is it this person who talked to G-2?

    “Is it that person?”

    My response is this:

    There are a number of elements in the national security establishment who do not particularly care for US Army HTS, its location in G2, or its mission, or the millions of dollars it has received. The latter makes some furious. In this view, HTS is sucking up scarce resources that could be better used to support skill-sets already in place.

    The harshest critics of HTS have never been academia, as I have always maintained, but rather those within the HTS program and others–not in HTS—who happen to be located elsewhere in the country’s national security machinery. HTS has managed to alienate a lot of people outside the program too.

    1. Maximilian Forte

      About your “any takers” question when it comes to your not continuing to report on HTS after December–I would say, no, and that you should continue it, especially as long as you have sources that continue to need an outlet and continue to need you. It’s only about 7 or 8 current and former HTS who have corresponded with me, and I believe in your case that number is ten times bigger (for many reasons, and some obvious ones). The key is to make sure that there is a secure communication interface that the sender and receiver use, something that I know little about but that our friends in Wikileaks know much more about.

  3. Bedouin

    Keep up the good work John. Sooner or later the powers that be have to come to grips with the stupidity and waste of this program!

  4. sofia

    I am a recently “released” social scientist returned from Afg. Yes, the horrors of having an incompetant, self-serving, law breaking Team Lead damn near destroyed our group and we battled to keep our spirits up. Our reprieve was escape to comabt areas wtih troops while the “team lead” sat in HQ. He got kicked out of one battlespace for his behavior, was stupid enough to get photos of himself taken procuring beer for key HTS staff from Kabul during a visit, etc. He was a pathological liar and an embaressment to the US military. He was a reservist LTC, Patrick Flanagan. Toward the end, the team was provided another social scientist that regularly, and with full facilitation of LTC Flanagan, put real American and coalition, and Afghan lives at risk with his “research agenda”, violated security protocols, and simply become known on the team as “the moron”.
    Way to go HTS. Now you know why all the qualified people leave. Hell, the new “3”, another reservist COL, was witnessed by several class mates driving drunk during training at Leavenworth. But hey, when you report stuff like this, the program just covers its ass and throws everyone under the bus.

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