Pentagon’s Decision to Cut Human Terrain System Short-Sighted

Dr. Richard R. Boone interviews local residents to find out about their attitudes and daily lives, Baraki Barak District, Logar province, Afghanistan, April 25, 2010 (U.S. Army photo).
Dr. Richard R. Boone interviews local residents to find out about their attitudes and daily lives, Baraki Barak District, Logar province, Afghanistan, April 25, 2010 (U.S. Army photo).

Several weeks ago, the U.S. Army quietly killed a program called the Human Terrain System. Created at the height of American counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the program deployed teams of social scientists to conduct highly focused cultural research and advise U.S. military commanders on how to use this knowledge to work more effectively with local populations. While saddled with many problems, particularly early on, the Human Terrain System ultimately complemented traditional intelligence and helped beleaguered U.S. military forces understand the human environment where they fought and worked. Still, the program’s cancellation created only a brief ripple among Washington […]

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