Mapping the Human Terrain in Afghanistan
Monograph rept. Jul 2009-May 2010
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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From the initial invasion in 2001 through the ongoing counterinsurgency COIN operations in Afghanistan, the U.S. Army has been challenged with truly understanding the socio-cultural dynamics of the local populace which has become known as the human terrain. The foundational theory, historical examples, and evolving military doctrine related to COIN has continually emphasized the importance of a population-centric approach but has often lacked the necessary detail on how this can be accomplished. In an attempt to help fill this void, the U.S. Army established the Human Terrain System HTS in 2006 which met initial resistance and developmental challenges as a new proof of concept program. While concurrent efforts by the Civil Affairs community with their Civil Information Management CIM initiatives have made steady progress, the full civil common operating picture at varying levels has yet to be realized. Lastly, the entire Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental, and Multinational JIIM community also has much to offer in providing a whole of government approach to understanding the human terrain in Afghanistan. Therefore, the U.S. Army must first integrate both programs, HTS and CIM, internally and then direct increased collaboration within the external JIIM community in order to develop a more comprehensive approach. The ultimate success of combined COIN operations in Afghanistan and the long-term stability of the country depend on the ability to understand this complex human terrain.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics