In his recent confirmation hearing, incoming Commander 0f of U.S. and ISAF Forces in Afghanistan David Petraeus told the Senate House Armed Services Committee “in counterinsurgency operations the human terrain is the decisive terrain.” The hearings show a continuing commitment to a large-scale counterinsurgency warfare in Afghanistan that began earlier this year under former Commander Stanley McChrystal. Behind the new counterinsurgency strategy, the military has been enlisting anthropologists and other social scientists with troops in order to map the “human terrain” in Afghanistan, win over local cultures to U.S/NATO Military objectives, and build an Afghan National Army with a central government.  A recent time magazine article describes the controversial strategy.

You can read coverage of the confirmation hearings and future plans at Radio Liberty, Marine Corps Times, and CSPAN.

And you can read’s recent coverage of the controversy surrounding social scientists in counterinsurgency here.