Canadians Win US Army Combat Support Contract: Human Terrain System in CGI, Oberon

by John Stanton

Oberon Associates, a subsidiary of Quebec based CGI, has been awarded just over $227 million (US) to run the US Army’s Human Terrain System (HTS), which “directly supports combat units in OIF/OEF” according to the Office of the Assistant to the Secretary of the Army.

It is interesting to note that Oberon was the King of the Fairies most notably in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream.

It may be good to have literary minded contractors running the show; if they can understand Shakespeare, maybe they can figure out HTS.

The Brits (BAE Systems) seemed to have mucked things up with the help of DCS, TRADOC-G2 and OSD/Intelligence, so it was time for a change.

Now it is up to the Canadians (CGI) to set things right. The size of the award makes it clear that HTS is going to be marketed at every turn through CGI Federal’s operations with the approval of DCS, TRADOC G2 and OSD/Intelligence. It also says that US Army Civil Affairs is out of $227 million bucks that it could have used to perform the same functions.

According to one source, “CGI should fire or demote every manager and supervisor currently in those positions. But the decay and morale is so systemic that I do not see how CGI can succeed.”

The contracting authority for HTS is at the Mission Installation Contracting Center (MICC) located at Joint Base Langley-Fort Eustis. TRADOC has a unit located there. An official at MICC said “the place of performance” would likely be scattered around the country as it is now but that some elements of HTS would be located at Langley-Fort Eustis. There are some changes being made in HTS that may shift the location of personnel from the Mid-West to the Eastern seaboard. The MICC official said “there are spacing issues at Langley-Fort Eustis and not everyone will be located on post.”

Langley-Fort Eustis is home to the USAF 633rd Air Base Wing and is composed of the 1st Fighter Wing; the 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing; and the 192D Fighter Wing.

So Long, Fair Well

“From: Solomon, Mark (US SSA); Date: Friday, September 23, 2011; Subject: Re-bid Update; To: All

The award of HTS was announced this morning. BAE Systems was NOT awarded the re-bid. This is very sad news, but our focus still needs to be on keeping our men and women in uniform safe and that means ensuring our customer (HTS) is successful. Work will continue as usual, until I inform you otherwise. Please continue to show up for work (even after the 27th). I will provide more information as soon as I know more on a transition, timelines, etc. Thank you all for your hard work and dedication.

Regards, Mark Solomon, Deputy Program Manager– HTS/BAE Systems

According to one source, “HTS has 180 Defense Army Civilians (DACs) on Compensatory Time and Leave. Many of these are awaiting their next tour in theater. Additionally, the program has approximately 140 DAC’s supporting operations in Afghanistan. This means the HTS program has more DAC’s on Compensatory Time and Leave than it has deployed. There are dozens and dozens of formerly deployed HTS personnel that would also come back and work. So why is there an expensive HTS training program?”

A few months ago HTS advertised a DAC position for the Chief of the Training and Education Division (CTED). Sources say that the candidates were narrowed down to two for the final competition. They both were subsequently interviewed by Colonel Sharon Hamilton, Program Manager of HTS.

“It is important to note that this competition took place during this same time period the program was going through a number of investigations with one of them being accusations of racism,” said a source.

“The guy hired for the position has a Master’s Degree, is a minority, and has no experience that lends itself to the position. The bizarre thing about this situation is that he has several PhDs working for him that are clearly more qualified for the position. In fact, one of the PhDs performed the duties of this position for over a year and during that time the program was completely redesigned under his leadership. So everyone decided to give the new guy a break and see what he could do. To date he has done nothing that you would assume the CTED to do. He is clearly uncomfortable in this unfamiliar setting surrounded by DAC’s and contractors who have more education, experience and skills than he does. Plus, like the rest of the HTS leadership, he suffers from the inability to communicate effectively, lead, and appreciate the talents and experiences of those around him. Several of the DACs under him have already filed complaints accusing him of creating/fostering a hostile work environment.”

The Case of Colonel D

According to observers, “Colonel D’s” military extension has been denied because he is being medically retired by the Kansas National Guard. So the HTS is finally rid of him.

Not so fast!

“Colonel D, soon to be “Mr. D” is a finalist for the for the newly created DAC position of Director of Training. “The person doing the interviewing and making the final hiring decision is Colonel Sharon Hamilton. Ah NEPOTISM! The DAC’s that work in HTS training have started a pool and most are betting that Colonel Hamilton will pick Mr. D as he is the perfect scapegoat for everything broken within HTS Training, now and into the near future. She does not want to retire from TRADOC with a blemish on her military record. Good idea COL H,” said a source.

Turns out Colonel Hamilton has been working on her PhD while managing HTS. How she found the time to do both is interesting. Some sources have found this appalling.

Some Good News! Wow!

“Glevum’s analysts are hard-working, creative, and properly credentialed in language and subject matter. SSRA has taken a lot of hits about its reliability and validity, but these analysts are at the mercy of whoever created the research design and collected the information. In addition, all data collected in a battle-space is subject to those kinds of problems and the SSRA analysts acknowledge that.

Glevum had some analysts who very thoughtfully conceived of a qualitative study for understanding stereotypes in Iraq.

What they did was collect jokes told in Iraq. The creative approach to the study was to be commended. Few of the HTS internal SSRA critics in the Research Reachback Center or on the HTS teams in theater have done any better and most have done much worse in collecting data and getting good results either through qualitative or quantitative research. Very few will state in their research proposals or plans that there might be limitations to a study in terms of getting good data and results.”

John Stanton is a Virginia based writer specializing in national security matters. Reach him at