Somethings fishy Beneath the surface of human terrain team’s new face
In recent comments regarding the new face of human terrain team, I noted that the program no longer denies that it conducts intelligence and that the data collected is to be used for non kinetic purposes to minimize civilian and soldier casualties. Instead, according to the new HTS description, team personnel gather any sort of data to meet the needs of brigade and possibly other commanders… that could include just about any kind of cultural intelligence and more.
I made a mistake in ignoring the photographs that accompany the description. Click on Iraq and what do you see? Faces of HTS members. If they are still in theater, couldn’t this put them at risk? HTS members have been targeted in the past and at least one of those is dead.
There’s also photos suggesting the female social scientist who is featured in numerous pictures, accompanied soldiers on an “ODA” mission in Sinjar. One soldier is sporting a beard. The only members of the military who sport beards that I know about are Rangers and Special Forces. I have since been corrected on the previous sentence. I’m told that Rangers don’t generally sport beards and not every soldier who does wear a beard is Special Forces (I know that defense contractors assigned to various missions sometimes wear beards etc but I was taking about “active duty” soldiers.)
Regardless, it’s still seems possible that this female social scientist knowingly accompanied a group of elite warriors (“targeting units” in lay terms) into an area of Iraq inhabited by insurgents. You’d be a fool to think she’d be allowed to keep her data (intelligence) to herself. She’s probably using a translator. Is he hers alone or one with the Special Forces? I’d bet he’s theirs and beholden to them.
(note… targeting units is my phrase and not one used by the military. I use it to denote the general goal of a elite unit such as SEALS and Army Special Forces who are often assigned special missions requiring their expertise. These include gathering intelligence for subsequent purpose of targeting/snatch and grab missions, and other such efforts that HTS normally would not be part in because HTS is not appropriately trained and its missions are supposed to be geared towards non kinetic aspects of the counterinsurgency. HTS is not also supposed to accompany battalions when their members are going out on missions directed at killing or capturing insurgents).
You’d also be foolish to think that the soldiers who are observing her actions aren’t noting with whom she’s talking in the village. Talk about research ethics and protection of human subjects!
Why would Special Forces units allow a human terrain team social scientist to accompany them on a mission into such a village unless they thought they could use her for purposes of gathering intelligence that would later be used in the planning of tactical-kinetic (lethal) operations? An alternative possibility, according to individuals who have communicated to me, is that they might have taken her on a bogus mission for their amusement – she is female and they are men in a war zone.
Some thoughts on the term ODA as it is frequently used in the military: A Special Forces company consists of more or less six Operational Detachments Alpha teams (ODA teams). Each ODA specializes in particular skill sets required for the relevant mission including combat diving, mountain warfare, etc.
An ODA consists of a number of men, each of whom have an occupational specialty key to the team, including intelligence, ordnance, weapons/ballistics etc.
My question is this – What in the hell is the social scientist who is currently working in the HTS social science directorate, (an appointee of Montgomery McFate and Steve Fondacaro) doing on a special forces mission? If she doesn’t want to get involved with targeting – remember that at the the time of her hire social scientists were not supposed to be used for missions involving targeting – then don’t go up into the mountains with a team whose aim is killing the enemy.
This photo selection makes me wonder how many other social scientists were involved in operations that were directly involved in targeting even before the mission stated in the website for HTS was changed.