General David Petraeus' Favorite Mushroom--Inside the US Army's Human Terrain System

General Petraeus--CENTCOM Commander and Washington, DC power player--believes that success in 21st century warfare depends on dominating the Human Terrain. Yet the US Army's HTS program has been beset by internal troubles that remain unresolved.

From June 2008 to August 2009 John Stanton, an independent journalist, authored 19 articles based on 45 sources detailing the trials and tribulations of the US Army's Human Terrain System (HTS). Originally published electronically, these pieces are now available in book form from Wiseman Publishing in the Netherlands.

HTS is supported by General David Petraeus, Commanding General of CENTCOM and a powerful force in Washington, DC.President Barak Obama has embraced Petraeus' notion of understanding, exploiting and dominating the Human Terrain as an element of "soft power" and counterinsurgency. As such, it has become central to US National Security Strategy.

This is a risky proposal based on the performance of the HTS to date. Allegations of fraud, sexual abuse, inept recruiting, training and management still plague the HTS program. Three civilian deaths, a number of active duty injuries, murder (voluntary manslaughter), and a hostile work environment for women are the tip of this melting iceberg.

Yet, the HTS is set to expand its operations in Afghanistan and support other US combatant commands to include Strategic Command. A new request for proposal from US Army Training and Doctrine Command and the US General Services Administration July 2009 indicates that was once billed as an open-source program will now require HTS personnel in the US to possess and Top Secret/SCI clearance while field personnel will require a Secret clearance.

HTS is set to become, as it was since its inception, more active in the Kill-Pacify chain.

The term Human Terrain was coined in the 1960's by the US House Committee on Un-American Activities referring to the milieu in which civil rights marchers, anti-Vietnam protesters, and the Black Panthers operated. It's the same Human Terrain where US law enforcement, military and intelligence communities operated against anti-US government efforts.

This is not a publication that just documents HTS problems. The author--with input from current and ex-military personnel--offers suggestions to improve HTS along with ideas on how to view the Human Terrain through the lense of Evolutionary Psychology.

Also included in the book is commentary on US, Iran and Russia.

The book is available at the following link. Soon to be at Amazon.

General David Petraeus' Favorite Mushroom: Inside the US Army Human Terrain System

Press copies are not available. Allow 5-7 days for delivery.

John Stanton is a Virginia based writer specializing in national security and political matters. Contact him by email atcioran123 [at]