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Social Science Goes to War – The Human Terrain System in Iraq and Afghanistan - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Social Science Goes to War: The Human Terrain System in Iraq and Afghanistan

Montgomery McFate and Janice H. Laurence


The Human Terrain System (HTS) was catapulted into existence in 2006 by the US military's urgent need for knowledge of the human dimension of the battlespace in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its centrepiece was embedded groups of mixed military and civilian personnel, known as Human Terrain Teams (HTTs), whose mission was to conduct social science research and analysis and to advise military commanders about the local population. Bringing social science — and actual social scientists — to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was bold and challenging. Despite the controversy over HTS among scholars, there ... More

Keywords: social science, military, socio-cultural knowledge, Human Terrain, counterinsurgency, Iraq, Afghanistan

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2015 Print ISBN-13: 9780190216726
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2016 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190216726.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Montgomery McFate, editor
US Naval War College

Janice H. Laurence, editor
Temple University

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Front Matter

1 Introduction

Montgomery McFate and Janice H. Laurence

2 Mind the Gap

Montgomery McFate

4 What Do You Bring to the Fight?

Katherine Blue Carroll

5 Playing Spades in Al Anbar

Jennifer A. Clark

7 Investing in Uncertainty

James Dorough-Lewis Jr.

9 Assessing the Human Terrain Teams

Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban and George R. Lucas Jr.

10 Tangi Valley

Brian G. Brereton

11 The Human Terrain System

Janice H. Laurence

End Matter