by John Stanton
Breaking News: Oberon has been awarded the US Army HTS contract. The TSI and BAE Systems contracts are in jeopardy. Oberon is a subsidiary of “Conseillers en gestion et informatique” or CGI.
“Where is the oversight on this program? Anytime employees speak up even during protected sensing sessions they are summarily released/fired from the program. The fact that the current Director of Training is still employed is proof since the HTS Director and Deputy Director have said in meetings held at Oyster Point that he is an idiot. He recently told BAE to lay off two of the three Afghan Language and Culture instructors because he thought they only spoke Dari. He had no idea that they spoke Pashtu and other languages and had been teaching them for over a year. He found this out after they were laid off.”
“A subprime contractor worked with the prime BAE to correct known deficiencies with the contract based off of inside info that the other bidding contractors would not have known.”
A spokesperson for a US congressional office familiar with HTS could not comment on whether the US Office of Special Counsel is currently pursuing an investigation of HTS.
The “no comment” statement still applies to the question of whether an investigation is under way by the Pentagon’s Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service.
But sources have confirmed that US government investigators have visited the US Army Human Terrain System program (HTS). Agents traveled to Fort Leavenworth where they interviewed several US Government employees. But they did not interview any contractors or Department of the Army Civilians (DAC’s).
“They should have,” observers said. “They were asking questions about timecard fraud. The government representatives denied any knowledge of timecard fraud. That was interesting. The HTS Training Director, Executive Officer has first-hand knowledge of time card fraud. One person that was redeployed was a Team Leader that the Training Director knew had managed timecards in a fraudulent way during his previous HTS deployment. Instead of releasing him from the program he was redeployed likely because he is a bully-type and scared the training leadership.”
Observers say that the HTS program has retained and redeployed Team Leaders that have repeatedly shown that they have failed to live by the Army and DAC values and simply do not know what they are required to do. Some recently were redeployed without any training.
One Team Leader–who apparently has numerous allegations of sexual harassment dogging him–was redeployed from Iraq to Afghanistan. “He has had some teammates resign their posts prior to his arrival to the team,” said one. “His personal claim to fame is that he is the highest paid Human Terrain Analyst (the lowest paid individual on a Human Terrain Team) in theater. He stated this based on his complete lack of interest in leading the team but instead going out on tours of the battlefield and taking pictures.”
A second, and recently deployed Team Leader, “has a proven record of failing to lead yet is now heading out on his third tour with HTS.”
And a third Team Leader deployed again by HTS to Afghanistan was “consistently accused of bullying, sexual harassment, stalking and timecard fraud. The person that observed this first hand was the HTS Training Directorate, Executive Officer.”
The Tale of the Valueless Leaders
“If someone visits the HTS training facility in Fort Leavenworth these days they cannot help but notice that every wall in the building has a poster with one of the Seven Army Values on it. It is interesting that these posters have replaced the poster boards which once depicted pictures of HTS personnel deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.
So what is the message here? It is to think less of HTS as a program [with a troubled history] and, instead, work on knowing and living the Seven Army Values. That might actually be okay if the program’s leadership lived up to them.”
In July of 2011 a new training cycle began the 10 week training program. This cycle consisted of 26 contractors from BAE, CLI, and ALION; and one DAC from TRADOC G2 hoping to become a Human Terrain Analyst. Except for the DAC this is likely the typical makeup of a training cycle, said sources.
“During the first week of training the HTS Director of Training, Executive Officer, came in and talked to the July Cycle. In his introduction he stated that if ‘you get through CPAC and the E-QIP you are guaranteed a position on a team because HTS asks BAE to hire enough of each position to fill existing holes in theater.’ Since that time the class lost 5 to the CPAC resume screening and 4 because they could not pass the initial E-Qip security screening. One additional person was a medical fail. So with these hurdles behind them the July Cycle assumed their jobs/positions were secure as promised by the HTS Director of Training, a Colonel.
At the end of the first two week block of instruction all of the instructors and faculty got together with the Training Directorate leadership to discuss the status of each student. During this gathering the DAC from TRADOC G2 was highlighted as someone that might be too immature for the program. The HTS Training Director stated that this person needed to be dropped immediately. A seminar leader came to the DAC’s defense and stated that with some mentoring this might change.”
Three weeks later, according to sources, the training cycle, staff and faculty were shocked to hear that this nearly fired DAC from TRADOC G2 was promoted to the position of Social Scientist 2 (GS12) a full 5 weeks after the CPAC review process was closed. “When her fellow students, faculty and staff looked at what occurred they were interested to find that this one analyst of the 8 in the group was not even in the top 4 most qualified. Her ‘promotion’ was very suspect.”
The fact that the DAC came from the TRADOC G2—which houses HTS program manager Colonel Sharon Hamilton–“caused eyebrows to be raised.”
“So flash forward,” said observers. “The July Cycle begins their second day of the final exercise just like any other day. It is just nine days until graduation. At 8AM a seminar leader announces to the group that the BAE local project lead wants to see all of the Human Terrain Analysts currently in training at the BAE office in Fort Leavenworth at 9AM.”
So what happened next?
“Every Human Terrain Analyst in the July and August training cycles were released at one time. 11 persons joined the HTS program, made it through the early gates, and stayed in the program with the good faith that their jobs were secure. They left jobs and home to take this mission. No one from the program talked to these individuals or thanked them.”
Yet Colonel Sharon Hamilton’s friend was saved by being promoted to a position she was not qualified for, said observers. “No one else was given this opportunity. Ah nepotism. How many of the Seven Army Values did the leadership fail to live up to? All of them!”
Sources Say Defense Giant Moves In
According to sources, Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems (LMC-BAE) have recently won the HTS contract and will share it. But hat has not been confirmed by either LMC or BAE who were contacted for this piece but could not respond in time for publication. At one point, Northrop Grumman was said to have won a portion of the HTS contract. Further, sources say that the announcement is being closely held.
No matter whom the defense contracting primes are sources say that a majority of the sub-prime companies will be jettisoned. “Most if not all of the sub-prime companies will experience a complete cut or will have to renegotiate or be re-hired by other companies that retain or become a part of the reshuffled HTS deck of prime and sub-prime contractors.”
But there are conflicting views on this.
One of the companies apparently in limbo as a result of the new contract award is TSI Executive Services. TSI is a sub-prime contractor that administers and staffs the HTS Reachback Research Center (RCC). As of this writing, one source said that TSI “has been given no direct news about where they fall in the contract reshuffling of sub-primes….BAE has reportedly told TSI executives through indirect channels that its employees can remain on until 12 October 2011 which is about two weeks after the late September 2011 drop-dead date that they were expecting.”
But another source indicates that TSI is not part of the reshuffled contractor deck. “Good thing, too, said another source. “TSI’s theater research managers for Iraq and Afghanistan were notorious for their insistence that RRC cultural knowledge analysts not provide analysis. They were obliged instead to merely report ‘facts’ with little to no synthesis or provision of individual professional expertise. Because the mission of the RRC on the HTS website suggests something other than mere parroting of information without much application of well-conceived professional thought or synthesis of ideas in a formal analytic paper, the practices with the RRC left many analysts frustrated and confused because they were hired under a pretense advertised on the HTS website that they would be making full use of their critical faculties.”
They were also led to believe that they would engage in “occasional but fresh, original research as described about the RRC on the HTS website.”
Geographic Combatant Commands Need HT-CA Skillsets
HTS has a team stationed in Vicenza, Italy supporting AFRICOM, said observers. “But it is staffed with the dregs that came out of Iraq and not the people most qualified to support those operations. HTS program managers picked a social scientist (SS) they could control, someone who demonstrated weakness in her duties while in Afghanistan. The program failed to pick one of the many SS’s from the HTS program that had extensive knowledge and first-hand experience in the region.”
Sources say that is a good idea for COCOM’s to hire their own HTS-type personnel (add Civil Affairs too). But, “they should not consider anything that HTS offers them because the HTS leadership would ensure that the right people for the job, supporting a specific COCOM, would NOT on that team. There are many within HTS that have the knowledge and skills to support AFRICOM or any other COCOM. Unfortunately the program’s leadership does not ensure those people are sourced as needed.”
Observers confirmed that the HTS program was recently reduced from five months to two months. “Once students graduate they go to Fort Polk for two additional months of training to make them soldiers. The program has failed to make them prepared to do their job but they are prepared to be soldiers.”
“MapHT Toolkit is taught in the HTS training program by people that cannot and will not answer the question ‘Is it being used in theater?’ This toolkit has been empty from the beginning and that is why no one uses it.”
Edifice of Shit?
“The only ones that are focused on the next HTS fight are a few at Oyster Point with the direction of the HTS program leadership and they are doing this at the expense of the training directorate.”
One former analyst referred to a document on the HTS website describing the HTS RRC as an “edifice of shit.” That person “was discouraged because he was hired to do some of the very sophisticated things described in this document yet ended up doing low-quality work at his immediate supervisor’s insistence. The tradition of cut-and-paste in the RRC was not something he expected. He feared that in the long-run being required to do low-quality work would hurt his future chances of employment, either inside or outside the defense establishment.”
John Stanton is a Virginia based writer specializing in national security matters. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org