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Joint Hearing of the Subcommittee on Terrorism and Unconventional Threats and Capabilities and the Subcommittee on Research and Science Education - The Role of Social and Behavioral Sciences in National Security


Location: Washington, DC


REP. JOHN KLINE (R-MN): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, gentlemen, for being here.

Col. Schweitzer, it's good to see you back on this side of the world. I appreciate your hospitality when we were out there a few months ago. It's good to see you here.

I apologize because I wasn't here early, and like Mr. Conaway I don't want to re-plow old terrain for you, as I'm sort of catching up. So I would just like, if I could, Colonel, to address a question or a thought with you. I know that part of the issue that you and others are dealing with over there is the -- are the Afghani government leaders themselves.

And I know that there are a couple of examples. Governor Jamal, for example, top flight, first rate, some others not so. Does this tool -- does the system, the HTS, and the people that are involved in that, does that help you identify the capabilities, the qualities, if I can use that word, of the Afghani leaders that you were dealing with or that others would deal with?

COL. SCHWEITZER: Sir, we did not use it in that manner. We used it truly to define the human terrain and the human dimension that we're operating within. And we are focusing it on the communities, the tribal challenges, the tribal norms, and how those sub-tribes did and didn't work together, how they worked or did not work together with adjacent tribes.

And so we focused it truly on being able to obtain the appropriate human landscape so we could operate within. Now having said that, most of the governors are not from the provinces that they operate within. So these output products were incredibly beneficial for them as well, so they could create proper access.

I mean we found it really unique that one -- matter of fact, the Paktia governor was from a different tribe and he had great difficulty engaging his tribal leaders at the lower district and the village level.

And he was using his own procedures and techniques that he had used in the tribe that he was -- that he came from.

Well, as we were coaching him collectively on, hey, look, that ain't working what you're doing. And the human terrain -- the products that came out from the human terrain team were those products that we used to help him understand that community that he was trying to engage and discuss and deal with. So that's how we used -- that's how we applied it.

REP. KLINE: So that tool is not only helpful to you and your soldiers for understanding the human terrain that they are navigating through, you are actually able to turn around and help the -- an Afghani leaders use it as well. But it didn't address the problem and couldn't, of just corruption, you know, of low character or something like that that might be in place.

COL. SCHWEITZER: Well, you can't help but get back information from the village leaders, the tribal leaders, the mullahs when corruption is out there. When -- you know, they think governance is not working on behalf of them.

I mean, that does come. It's an output product. It's not the primary product, but it certainly is additional information that comes back. And so you do get this wider scope of responses and data points to be able to put into the kitbag to figure out, okay, how do we reduce this friction, how do we create this access, how do we then coach the governors, the police chiefs, the army chiefs to have a better behavior or proper as expected by that community, and give them alternate options versus just one option, the same it does for us.

And so what I alluded to earlier was, that these teams, the products that they are creating, they benefited the Afghan national security forces as much if not more than the coalition forces. To our moms and dads that are out there, that are providing their sons and daughters to go into uniform, they can rest assured that it's saving our lives.

But in terms of the mission, it has a significant impact with developing the governance within the Afghan structure, enhancing the economic development as well as developing the Afghan national security forces.

REP. KLINE: Thank you very much.

I yield back, Mr. Chairman.


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