30 September 2011

Alert: Canada Is Now Home to Recruitment for the U.S. Army’s Human Terrain System

On September 26, 2011, independent journalist John Stanton broke the news that a Canadian company, CGI, headquartered in Montreal (1130 Sherbrooke Street West, 7th Floor, Montreal, Quebec H3A 2M8, Tel: 514-841-3200, Fax: 514-841-3299, see photo above), now has the contract to recruit for the U.S. Army’s Human Terrain System (HTS), which embeds social scientists (with a preference for anthropologists) in counterinsurgency units primarily in Afghanistan and Iraq. for now, and which was condemned by the American Anthropological Association, the Network of Concerned Anthropologists, and Anthropologists for Justice and Peace. (see: “Canadians Win US Army Combat Support Contract: Human Terrain System in CGI, Oberon”). As Stanton tells us, CGI “has been awarded just over $227 million (US) to run the US Army’s Human Terrain System (HTS), which ‘directly supports combat units in OIF/OEF [Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan]’ according to the Office of the Assistant to the Secretary of the Army”. CGI has already begun advertising and recruiting for HTS on its website. CGI has thus taken over what was previously a HTS contract with BAE Systems.

CGI, though ostensibly Canadian (with 125 offices spread through 15 countries, and 29 offices across Canada), is part of a wide constellation of interlocking and overlapping U.S. military and intelligence contractors, involving academics, military veterans, and former G.W. Bush administration officials. In 2010, CGI acquired Virginia-based Oberon Associates (via its purchase of Stanley Inc.) which according to Oberon’s self-description on its archived website, was run by retired military personnel, and whose president, David L. Young, formerly worked for Northrop Grumman (also a HTS contractor). In 2008, Stanley Inc. had first purchased Oberon Associates, before being absorbed in turn into CGI. Stanley Inc. held contracts with the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, Department of State, and the Department of Homeland Security. In 2004, CGI acquired the governmental information services portion of American Management Systems (AMS), which was founded by former U.S. Defense Department officials who served under Robert McNamara, while CACI bought its military and intelligence portion. CACI, also a HTS contractor, became infamous for its involvement in the torture scandals in Abu Ghraib, Iraq (see John Stanton’s “U.S.A.: Pentagon’s Mystery Contingency Operations Gets CACI Bigger”). Also note that the President of CGI-AMS, Dr. John Francis Hillen, retired from the U.S. Army (deployed to Iraq during the Gulf War), was also a Senior Scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Heritage Foundation—in addition, he was nominated on June 28, 2005, by President George W. Bush, to be Assistant Secretary of State (Political-Military Affairs) in the U.S. Department of State. CGI, containing within it multiple layers of acquired firms, each with a network of contacts and contracts across a range of defense contractors and government officials, thus fits in very well with the map of war corporatists that have worked to support the Human Terrain System.

Among its many activities in support of the U.S. military and intelligence apparatus, CGI is responsible for collecting biometric data in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Horn of Africa, for U.S. military and intelligence purposes—“We are a key contributor and active participant in the evolution of biometrics in support of the Global War on Terrorism,” CGI says on its website. CGI is also involved in “large-scale military deployment planning” for the U.S. Government. In addition, CGI provides instructional support and doctrine writing for the U.S. Army. CGI provides “advanced C4ISR engineering,” which as noted by Stanton elsewhere, is something that also involves HTS: “HTS personnel and systems provide a new Command, Control,  Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) capability in support of U.S. Army BCTs [brigade combat teams] and USMC RCTs [regimental combat teams]”. C4ISR was also one of the services offered by John Hillen, as President and CEO of Global Defense Technology & Systems, Inc.

In terms of Canadian defence, intelligence, and “public safety,” CGI is again involved in building C4ISR capability, “anti-terrorism” analytics, Air Force “Web Strategy,” and something it refers to rather interestingly as “Social Network Analysis in Counterinsurgency context (SNAC)”. CGI has a wide and diverse range of federal and provincial government contracts in Canada, that in some cases gave it access to the servers and databases for e-government, drivers licenses and Department of Employment information in Quebec.
CGI thus blurs the lines between civilian and military, between Canada and the U.S., between intelligence and academia, between war abroad and domestic governance, and between private enterprise and government. CGI is yet another way in which Canadian agencies have developed working ties with HTS, and this is what especially concerns us. AJP will do what it can to continue to monitor and update you about the wide-range of activities held together by this formidable beast.
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