• Army Social Science Program Aiding Counterinsurgency Operations Shut Down Following Fraud

    An Army program meant to place social scientists on the Afghanistan battlefield in an advisory role to reduce violence and improve civilian relations has been ended following major abuse.

    Starting in 2007, the Human Terrain System was designed to bring anthropologists and linguists together to aid U.S. soldiers in the understanding of Afghanistan, but the Army sidelined it in fall of 2014 following fraud and sexual harassment, USA Today reports.

    “The HTS program ended on September 30, 2014, as there was no longer a requirement for HTS teams in theater,” Gregory Mueller, an Army spokesman, told USA Today.

    A group of anthropologists in 2007 disputed the program from the beginning, saying that the discipline shouldn’t be used to aid counterinsurgency. First, future anthropologists around the world may be treated like spies. Second, anthropology won’t improve military operations, and third, anthropology’s past history of supporting imperialism means that it should not support American operations in the Middle East.

    From 2007 to 2014, the program brought in $726 million dollars.

    Oberon Associates, a subsidiary of CGI Federal, took over the program in 2011, receiving $227 million for the job. CGI Federal was the company that earned the no-bid contract for the expensive Obamacare website which has been plagued with bugs and problems with uptime. (RELATED: Obamacare website-maker runs failed Army Human Terrain System program)

    Documents obtained by USA Today indicate that fraud was an endemic feature of the program. As just one example, investigators cast considerable suspicion on several team members who received $280,000 dollars for work likely not done. Other team members, who were part of the federal government, took advantage of a program which allowed them six months paid leave when returning to the United States. Still others created fake timesheets.

    “My supervisor is the laziest, most incompetent human being I have ever met,” said one of the comments provided by a team member to Army investigators.

    In response, the Army mandated training on how to fill out timesheets properly and fired a contractor for sexual harassment.

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