Open letter on Human Terrain Systems recruitment at JHU

10 Dec

Several students and faculty in humanities and social sciences at Johns Hopkins are responding to a recent solicitation to work for the U.S. Army’s Human Terrain Systems program.

We invite JHU affiliates in relevant programs and departments to add their names below.

This letter is in response to a recent email solicitation (from Adecco RPO, a recruitment agency) sent to JHU affiliates in anthropology and other departments.

Subject: Job Opportunity
Date: Sat, 24 Nov 2012
From: [name and address redacted]

I am an independent consultant recruiting social scientists for long-term contract opportunities with our client who is running the Human Terrain Systems Program for the U.S. Army. I am contacting you in the hope that you may know of graduate students or colleagues who might be interested in these opportunities.

We are seeking individuals with PhDs and Master’s degrees in the Social Sciences, with at least one year of paid quantitative and qualitative field research experience. Our client is interested in Social Scientists in the fields of Anthropology, History, International Relations, Politics, Ethnic & Cultural Studies etc. to serve in a consultative capacity to battalion commanders in forward operating units in Afghanistan. As “academic embeds”, these scientists will help troops understand relevant cultural history, engage locals in a way they can appreciate, and incorporate knowledge about tribal traditions in conflict resolution. US military officers in Afghanistan have state that the aim of the Human Terrain System program is to improve the performance of local government officials, persuade tribesmen to join the police, ease poverty and protect villagers from the Taliban and criminals.

We are searching for both Social Scientists (Cultural & Regional Specialists) and Human Terrain Specialists with GIS experience for these 100% travel roles in Afghanistan. While paid field research experience in the Middle East would be desirable, our client will consider candidates with paid field research experience from other locations. Compensation and bonuses are generous given the strenuous nature of these assignments. After four months of training stateside, the scientists are deployed to Afghanistan for approximately ten months. Training class pay is in the $70-95k range and overseas pay once deployed is in the $140-165k range. US Citizenship is required for all positions.

I would be happy to provide further information on these opportunities and would be most grateful for any assistance that you might lend me in connecting with social scientist candidates. Please feel free to respond to this email address or to call me at [phone number redacted].

Thank you for your time and consideration,
[name redacted]

Read the American Anthropological Association’s 2007 statement on HTS.

A recent story in Al Jazeera by Mark LeVine at UC Irvine gives a critical perspective on the use of academic expertise in military and intelligence operations: Scholars and spies: A disastrous combination.

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