Annotated bibliography on HTS, Minerva, and PRISP
I’ve been working on an article on the relationship between anthropology and the military, and Nikki Kuper, an honours student in our department, has been thinking about doing her honours thesis project on the Human Terrain System. So together, Nikki and I decided to put together an annotated bibliography of sources on the Human Terrain System, Minerva, and PRISP and post them here to Culture Matters so that others can benefit from them.
If you know of any resources or links that aren’t listed below (or if you spot any mistakes), please send me an e-mail (lisa.wynn[at]mq.edu.au) and we’ll add them to our list and credit you with the contribution.
–L.L. Wynn and Nikki Kuper
- The official Human Terrain System website
- CIA website on PRISP
- American Anthropological Association statements on HTS, Minerva, and PRISP:
Coverage of HTS, Minerva, and PRISP in the media and in academic publications
- 2008 Correspondence, Anthropology News. 49: 2. 3-4.
- 2007 Embedded Anthropologists, Chronicle of Higher Education. 54: 8. B4-B4.
Supplied Abstract: The article presents multiple quotes and opinions discussing the subject of embedded anthropologists in the United States military, particularly concerning the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The validity of the practice is questioned and responses are given both for and against the research method. The moral and ethical aspects of such research is discussed, citing concerns over the possible corrupt use of personal information by the supporting military, the physical danger to anthropologists in combat zones, and the presence or absence of political agendas in the researchers.
- Inside Higher Ed, 2008. “A Pentagon Olive Branch to Academe,” April 16.
- K. Amend, Counterinsurgency Principles for the Diplomat, Small Wars Journal.
- R. Barcott, 2008. Anthropology In Conflict: An Exchange, Survival. 50: 3.
- G. S. Barry, 2007 Human terrain data: what should we do with it?, Proceedings of the 39th conference on Winter simulation: 40 years! The best is yet to come. Washington D.C.
- William O. Beeman, 2008. Lethal Field Work: Anthropologists Cry Foul Over Colleagues’ Aid to Iraq Occupation. Le Monde diplomatique.
- Franz Boas 1919. “Scientists as Spies.” The Nation, October 16. Reprinted in Roberto J. González, ed. (2004) Anthropologists in the Public Sphere, pp. 23-25 . Austin: University of Texas Press.
- Scott Canon 2007. “Anthropologists Debate Ethics of Working on War Effort.” Kansas City Star, September 30.
- D. A. Echevarria, J II, 2008 Wars of Ideas and The War of Ideas, Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College.
* Note: available as a download on the SSI website. It’s pretty amazing how military publications are all open access, available for free. The rest of us academics have a lot to learn about open access. All the Chronicle of Higher Education articles listed here, for example, require a subscription.
- U. S. A. R. Lieutenant Colonel Michael Eisenstadt, 2007 Tribal Engagement Lessons Learned, Military Review. September-October
- D. Ephron and S. Spring, 2008 A Gun in One Hand, A Pen in the Other, Newsweek. 151: 16. 34-35.
Supplied Abstract: This article reports on U.S. military presence in Iraq and its efforts to understand Iraqi society and insurgency. The Human Terrain System is supposed to consist of specialists who could provide insight for counterinsurgency efforts, but recruitment and funding are too low to develop a strong, Arabic-speaking team. The article discusses the training for the Human Terrain experts, their balance between academic and military skills, and the members’ attitudes towards the program.
- * See also Mongtomery McFate’s rebuttal of the above Newsweek article on the HTS website.
- Steve Featherstone, (2008) Human Quicksand. Harper’s Magazine, September 2008, pp.60-68.
- John Gledhill, n.d. On the Moos Controversy. ASA blog.
- D. Glenn, 2007 Former Trainee in Human Terrain System Describes a Program in Disarray, Chronicle of Higher Education. 54: 16. A8-A11.
Supplied Abstract: The article discusses the alleged internal challenges facing the U.S. Army’s Human Terrain System, which places social scientists in Afghanistan and Iraq to serve with military units. Former trainee Zenia Helbig of the University of Virginia was let go from the program in August 2007 because of a comment she made about Iran that brought her U.S. loyalty into question and she has since lost her security clearance. Helbig criticizes the effort for being poorly organized and overlooking the culture of the areas. Academics critical of the program claim that military anthropologists cannot collect reliable data from informants.
- D. Glenn, 2007 Anthropologists in a War Zone: Scholars Debate Their Role. (Cover story), Chronicle of Higher Education. 54: 14. A1-A12.
Supplied Abstract: The author reports on the debate regarding the involvement of anthropologists in a war zone. The Human Terrain System which places anthropologists in war zones to help military leaders understand the local customs is discussed. The involvement of anthropologist Britt Damon in the program is mentioned. Criticisms which have been raised against the program are discussed. According to the article, associate professor David H. Price feels that the program may assist the governments of Iraq and Afghanistan in conducting counterinsurgency campaigns.
- David Glenn, 2007. “Petitioners Urge Anthropologists to Stop Working with Pentagon in Iraq War.” Chronicle of Higher Education News Blog, September 19.
- E. R. Goldstein, 2007. Professors on the Battlefield, Wall Street Journal – Eastern Edition. 250: 40. W11.
Supplied Abstract: The article discusses the relationship between the academe and the armed forces exemplified by the entry of Marcus Griffin, professor of anthropology at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia into military service through the U.S. Department of Defense’s Human Terrain System. The system embeds social scientists with brigade in Afghanistan and Iraq, where they serve as cultural advisers to brigade commanders. The initiative was led by General David H. Petraeus, commander of the multinational forces in Iraq.
- Goodman, Moos, and Price, 2005. The Intelligence-University Complex: CIA Secretly Supports Scholarships. Democracy Now interview transcript.
- R. J. Gonzalez, 2007. Phoenix Reborn?, Anthropology Today. 23: 6. 21-22.
Supplied Abstract: The article focuses on the Human Terrain teams (HTTs) as part of the new Human Terrain System (HTS) in Great Britain. It stated that the U.S. Department of Defense has distributed six HTTs to Iraq and Afghanistan for counterinsurgency work including anthropologists and other social scientists with graduate degrees. The goal of HTTs is to provide commanders with knowledge bout the local societies so that the commanders can make better decisions and better plans to get the effects on the population they want. According to CACI, a company that recruits social scientists for HTTs, the HTS project is designed to improve the gathering, understanding, operational application, and sharing of local population knowledge at different levels of the military.
- R. J. Gonzalez, 2007. Towards mercenary anthropology? The new US Army counterinsurgency manual and the military-anthropology complex, Anthropology Today. 23: 3. 14-19.
Supplied Abstract: The article reports on the new US Army counterinsurgency manual FM3-24 and the military-anthropology complex. This manual was released on December 15, 2006, and it was the first US Army manual solely formulated to counterinsurgency in more than 20 years. Anthropologists Montgomery McFate and David Kilcullen contributed their contentions on the use of cultural knowledge to battle insurgency.
- R. J. Gonzalez, 2008 Human terrain, Anthropology Today. 24: 1. 21-26.
Supplied Abstract: Between July 2005 and August 2006, the US Army put together an experimental counterinsurgency programme called “Human Terrain System” (HTS). The programme’s building blocks are five-person teams (“Human Terrain Teams” or HTTs) assigned to brigade combat team headquarters in Iraq and Afghanistan, comprising regional studies experts and social scientists, some of whom are armed. This article looks at the roots of the human terrain concept, which appears to have originated in domestic counterinsurgency efforts connected with US government efforts to suppress political dissent in the 1960s. Of special concern were militant groups such as the Black Panthers. The article then explores the genesis and development of HTS, as it moved from concept to reality. As the programme was being implemented, some of those involved with its creation referred to it as a “CORDS for the 21st Century”, in reference to a Vietnam War-era initiative that gave birth to the infamous Phoenix Program. The latter was “neutralization” campaign that led to the assassination of some 26,000 Vietnamese. The article also reviews the potential future uses of the data collected by HTTs, which has been of great interest to several research groups involved in creating “modelling and simulation” computer programmes designed to provide insight into the motivations of terrorists and their networks. The article concludes with a discussion of the ethical dilemmas surrounding human terrain for anthropologists and other social scientists.
- Roberto J. González 2007. “We Must Fight the Militarization of Anthropology.” Chronicle of Higher Education, February 2.
- Roberto J. González and David H. Price 2007. “When Anthropologists Become Counter-Insurgents.” CounterPunch, September 28.
A. Goodman, 2008 Expanding and Engaging Anthropologies, Anthropology News. 49: 1. 21-22.
- M. B. Griffin, 2007 Research to Reduce Bloodshed, Chronicle of Higher Education. 54: 14. B10-B10.
Supplied Abstract: The article focuses on the practices of human terrain system anthropology and its application by the United States Armed Forces in the Iraq War. The author describes his experiences as an imbedded social scientist in Baghdad, Iraq, outlining several duties within his unit, including cultural advisory work, social reconstruction throughout Iraq, and miscommunication arbitration. The author asserts that his academic knowledge is being used to help defend lives and bring about a more efficient reconstruction process to the Iraq War.
- Hugh Gusterson 2008. When Professors Go to War. Foreign Policy.
- H Gusterson 2008. The U.S. military’s quest to weaponize culture. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
- Hugh Gusterson 2007. “Anthropologists and War: A Response to David Kilcullen.” Anthropology Today vol. 23, no. 4.
- Hugh Gusterson and David Price, 2005. “Spies in our Midst” Anthropology News 46(6):39-40.
- Gustaaf Houtman 2006. “Double or Quits.” Anthropology Today vol. 22, no. 6, pp. 1-3.
- Kurt Jacobsen, 2008. ‘Are we there just to help the Army aim better?’ Arguments rage in the US about whether anthropologists should be helping the military. The Guardian, Tuesday May 13 2008
- David Kilcullen 2007. “Ethics, Politics, and Non-State Warfare: A Response to González.” Anthropology Today vol. 23, no. 3.
- J. Kipp, L. Grau, K. Prinslow and D. Smith, 2006 The Human Terrain System: A CORDS for the 21st Century, Military Review. 86: 5. 8-15.
Supplied Abstract: The article provides information on the Human Terrain System (HTS) being managed by the Foreign Military Studies Office, a U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command organization. The HTS aims to address cultural awareness shortcomings at the operational and tactical levels. It discusses the specific roles and functions of Human Terrain Team members. The elements of human terrain include social, ethnographic, cultural, economic and political elements of the people.
- R. Loewe and H. Kelly, 2008 The Great Debate: Anthropology Goes to War, Anthropology News. 49: 5. 33-33.
- McFate, Montgomery 2007. “Building Bridges or Burning Heretics.” Anthropology Today vol. 23, no. 3.
- Montgomery McFate 2005. “The Military Utility of Understanding Adversary Culture,” Joint Force Quarterly July: 42-48.
- Montgomery McFate, 2005. Anthropology and counterinsurgency: the strange story of their curious relationship. Military Review
- Montgomery McFate and Andrea Jackson 2005 “An Organizational Solution for DOD’s Cultural Knowledge Needs,” Military Review July-August: 18-21.
- M. McFate and S. Fondacaro, 2008 Cultural Knowledge and Common Sense, Anthropology Today. 24: 1. 27-27.
Supplied Abstract: The author reflects on Roberto J. Gonzalez’s views on the Human Terrain System (HTS). He argues that HTS is not an espionage programme, on the contrary of what Gonzalez’s believe. Information about HTS and the Human Terrain Team (HTT) are presented. The author concludes that Gonzalez failed to recognize the reasons why the HTS was created.
- S. E. McIntosh, 2007 Building a Second-Half Team: Securing Cultural Expertise for the Battlespace, Air & Space Power Journal. 21: 1. 61-70.
Supplied Abstract: The article focuses on building a second-half team aimed to secure cultural expertise for the battle space in the U.S. According to the author, the U.S. and its allies have necessarily adapted to a new form of urban and asymmetric warfare preferred by the enemy. He stresses that to remain effective, U.S. needs nonkinetic solutions informed by cultural expertise to meet its national security objectives in present and future conflicts.
- Brian McKenna, 2008. What Would Smedley Butler Do? Counterpunch
- Laura A. McNamara and Gustaaf Houtman. 2007. “Culture, Critique and Credibility: Speaking Truth to Power during the Long War.” Anthropology Today vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 20-21.
- S. M. Miska, 2007 The Contribution of Scholars, Chronicle of Higher Education. 54: 14. B10-B11.
Supplied Abstract: The article focuses on the role of anthropologists within the continuing efforts and reconstruction of the Iraq War. The author describes his experiences as an embedded social scientist within Iraq, highlighting the complexity of the social systems within the region and their impact on both military and civil actions of the region. The coalition’s mission to establish stable social structures is asserted, pointing out the positive contribution of anthropologists to the prevention of miscommunications and the sensitivity education of soldiers to the nuances of Iraqi culture.
- A. Mulrine, (2007) The Culture Warriors, U.S. News & World Report. 143: 20. 34-37.
Supplied Abstract: The article provides a look at anthropologists’ research in Baghdad, Iraq. These anthropologists act as advisers and assist the military in understanding the social connections in Iraq to help create alliances, assess intelligence and avoid potentially harmful situations. It is reported that some critics believe that the research in Iraq is actually a covert intelligence operation.
- Felix Moos, ND. Some Thoughts on Anthropological Ethics and Today’s Conflicts. AAA website.
- Paul Nuti,
- Scott Peterson 2007. “US Army’s Strategy in Afghanistan: Better Anthropology.” Christian Science Monitor, September 7.
- David Price, 2007 Anthropology as Lamppost?, Anthropology Today. 23: 6.
- David Price, 2000 “The AAA and the CIA” Anthropology News 41(8): 13-14. November, 2000.
- David Price, 2000 “Anthropologists as Spies” The Nation Vol. 271, Number 16, 24-27, November 20, 2000.
- David Price, 2001 “Price Replies to Peace, Carrier & Frank” The Nation 2/12/01:23
- David Price, 2005 “The CIA’s University Spies” CounterPunch Volume 12, No. 1. January 1-15, pp 1-6.
- David Price, 2005 “From PRISP to ICSP: Skullduggery Among the Acronyms” CounterPunch Vol. 12, No. 5. March 1-15. pp 3-4.
- David Price and Eric B Ross, 2005. “Introduction to Special Issue on ‘Friends and Foes: Anthropologists and the Making of the Enemy.”” Anthropology in Action 12(3):vii-ix.
- David Price, 2006 “American Anthropologists Stand Up Against Torture and Occupation of Iraq.” CounterPunch November 20, 2006.
- David Price, 2007 “Anthropology and the Wages of Secrecy.” Anthropology News 48(3):6-7.
- David Price, 2007. “Buying a Piece of Anthropology, Part II: The CIA and Our Tortured Past.” Anthropology Today, vol. 23, no. 5.
- David H. Price 2004. “‘Like Slaves’: Anthropological Notes on Occupation.” CounterPunch, January 6.
- David H. Price 2002. “Lessons from Second World War Anthropology: Peripheral, Persuasive, and Ignored Contributions.” Anthropology Today 18(3).
- David H. Price 2002. “Present Dangers, Past Wars, Future Anthropologies.” Anthropology Today 18(1).
- Fred Renzi 2006. “Networks: Terra Incognita and the Case for Ethnographic Intelligence.” Military Review Sept.-Oct.: 16-22.
- James Ridgeway, Daniel Schulman, and David Corn, 2008. There’s Something About Mary: Unmasking a Gun Lobby Mole. MotherJones.
- David Rohde 2007. “Army Enlists Anthropologists in War Zones.” New York Times October 5, p. A1.
- New York Times (2007). “Anthropologists in War Zones: Questions of Ethics.” Letters to the editor, October 9-10.
- J. Sharon, Anthropologists’ war role is hardly academic, USA Today.
- Phil Sooben 2006. “Double or Quits: A Response from the ESRC.” Anthropology Today vol. 22, no. 6, p. 3.
- John Stanton, 2008. Millions of Dollars Wasted, Two Lives Sacrificed and US Army’s Human Terrain System: From Super Concept to Absolute Farce. 2-part scathing critique of HTS in Pravda.
- Matthew B. Stanard, 2007/04/29. Montgomery McFate’s mission: Can one anthropologist possibly steer the course in Iraq? San Francisco Chronicle.
- D. Vine, 2007. Enabling the Kill Chain, Chronicle of Higher Education. 54: 14. B9-B10.
Supplied Abstract: The article discusses the military application of anthropology by United States forces within the terrorism wars of Iraq and Afghanistan. The author cites the increases in applications of anthropological research methods such as human terrain mapping for ethnographic intelligence and condemns them. The code of ethics held by the anthropology field is discussed and its incompatibility with military actions is stressed. Possible dangers to the entire field of study are also suggested, pointing out that military association could lead to less access to cultural resources in future research.
- Sharon Weinberger 2007. “When Anthropologists Go To War (Against the Military).” Danger Room-Wired Blog, September 19.
- D. Winnick, 2008 Anthropology and the Military, Anthropology News. 49: 2. 18-19.
- Blog postings by Maximilian Forte on Open Anthropology blog (the below are just a couple of representative postings; examine the Open Anthropology blog site for a lot more that Forte has written on HTS and Montgomery McFate:
– on Laurie Adler, PR person for HTS
– long article with some useful links
- Coverage on Savage Minds:
– debate over McFate /Sapone in the wake of the Counterpunch article
– on the AAA statement on Minerva
– on PRISP
– on Minerva as Camelot
– big list of links on anthropology and war
- Great set of links on Antropologi
From the Pentagon
- Pictures of Human Terrain Teams, made available by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD):
– Sgt Britt Damon in Afghanistan
– Major Robert Holbert in Afghanistan
- A speech by Robert Gates that mentions that Dartmouth and U Kansas are at the lead in cooperating with the Pentagon
- Another speech by Gates that mentions HTTs
- DoD budget justification which includes line items for HTS and HTT-MAP software (pdf)