Pride & Prejudice in Army's Human Terrain System

by John Stanton

“Col Sharon Hamilton [acting HTS program manager], does not know what is going on here in Iraq because if she was aware of the behavior here, she would not tolerate the dysfunction that continues within the organization.”

“The rules and regulations within the HTS program only apply to minorities or other people whom the team leaders and management dislike.”

Update: While out in the field traveling to visit Human Terrain Teams, Colonel Hamilton's convoy cam under attack. There were injuries, said sources, but Colonel Hamilton is "ok".

The US Army's Human Terrain System continues to experience personnel troubles. “Nothing has really changed”, said sources. The reasons for that appear to be due, in part, from the fallout left behind by tag team Fondacaro & McFate, and ongoing reports of hostile working environments for both women and minorities within HTS.

But before getting to that, some updates are in order.

The Center for Naval Analyses has submitted its report to the Undersecretary of Defense/Intelligence. House Armed Services Committee members will be briefed soon on the findings. The US Army's Administrative Review findings are unknown at this time. The National Defense University is conducting a study on HTS looking into internal performance/interagency matters.

Dr. Max Forte at  Zero Anthropology has scoured through the WikiLeaks Afghan War files. He found a number of entries on HTS/HTT and is currently writing a pro-con series on the subject. Among other things, the findings raise, yet again, the issue of intelligence gathering and “interviewing” wounded and suspected insurgents. And there is also credit given where due for HTT's providing legitimate support to military personnel.

Mark Solomon, apparently in HTS program  management at BAE Systems is also a real estate agent apparently picking up some extra cash in off-hours. Observers wonder how he finds the time. Solomon did not respond to questions—sent by email--on the matter.

Former HTS graduate Dr. Nancy Kobrin writes for Family Security Matters, a well funded neoconservative non-profit. This HTS graduate recently wrote that “Arab Muslim culture is so rife with deprivation and victimhood, nothing is ever enough...Saudis and other Muslims do not know how to mourn their losses. They stay glued together like a big enmeshed dysfunctional family defending their wounds and licking them. They bully to get what they want, but even then it is never enough. They avenge by the sword.”

Rotten Management/Leadership in Field

Prior to Steve Fondacaro departing from the HTS program he apparently setup one of his friends, Leslie Kayanan, with a program management position in Iraq.  Kayanan (Asian American) is described by sourcesas a “weak leader”.

“This was not a good decision because Kayanan was part of the original dysfunction in the program. He was removed from the Human Resources section of HTS and sent down range where he continues to be disruptive,” said observers. “If you don't kiss up to him and others in management, you are not part of the clique and may not get comp time.”

Job security—and staying alive--is tough enough for the best of the HTS'ers without having to worry about joining an ass-kissing fraternity.

But being part of the clique/fraternity has its rewards. “There are some Team Leaders in-country that don’t do anything and get paid six figures. There are Team Leaders in the program who have never been outside the wire. But they will send their teams outside the wire and expect the team to respect him or her as a Team Leader. There was a father and son team who would just show up for work and drink coffee and and still bill for comp time.”

According to some observers, pushing program diversity is not high on management's to do list. “The HTS program only has three African Americans in leadership positions.” Observers say that for African Americans to “get in” they have to have a PhD or be on close terms with Montgomery McFate or personnel that remain from former tag- team Fondacaro-McFate. Evidently, another African American was recently moved into a leadership position.

“Minorities and others in the program have been publicly humiliated by management. Leadership will plot with other HTS personnel to get rid of them just because of the color of their skin or they just don't like them”, said sources. “The rules and regulations within the HTS program only apply to minorities or other people whom the Team Leaders and management dislike. As a result this organization has a lot of disgruntled employees,” they said.

“If you check recent statistics you will notice in Iraq that HTS management puts the white females with no military experience in Team Leader positions just because they are friends with McFate.”

There are reports of personnel vacationing to visit friends and family but disguising it as program “research”. Management appears to encourage this behavior either through ignorance or acceptance of the practice.

Sources said that some team leaders in the program do not “have a clue as to what is going on” and will not consult experienced personnel for advice because they believe they above such practices. Team leaders have the uncanny ability to remain employed by HTS even when the client tells them to “get out.”

“A team leader at HTAT–C lied to the commanding general and was asked to leave the area of operations. HTS management put him at an HTAT elsewhere in-country. What a disgrace.”

John Stanton us a Virginia based writer specializing in national security matters. Reach him at [email protected].

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov