“A new phalanx of anthropologist-warriors are being recruited, carrying ‘cultural scripts’ to battle”
Mark LeVine, a professor of history at UC Irvine writes for Al Jazeera:
…Originally conceived in the mid-2000s as the Iraqi insurgency gained strength and the US was making little headway in Afghanistan, the “Human Terrain Systems” program brought anthropologists and other scholars or so-called experts into the military “kill chain” to advise field commanders on how better to interact with the local populations in the territories under occupation.
Sociologists and particularly anthropologists are considered crucial to the HTS program because, the argument goes, they have the skills to collect data – what the CIA would likely call “intel” – on “key regional personalities, social structures, links between clans and families, economic issues, public communications, agricultural production, and the like.”
The US military believes such information will help it manage its occupations more successfully.
One of the few PhDs who has worked with HTS declared that “I’m frequently accused of militarising anthropology… But we’re really anthropologising the military.”
Read more here.