"J" sent me this citation for the official Army Training and Doctrine Command website for the HTS. As I have written before, this program fills a massive lacuna in Army capability.
Today’s US Army produces specialist officers who are generally part of the active force and who fill high level military-diplomatic and general staff positions. They are called "Foreign Area Officers" (FAOs) Such officers require lengthy academic and on the ground preparation in qualification for a career filled with such duties. They are not usually available to advise battlefield commanders at the brigade (3,000 soldiers) level. There are not enough of them for that and there will not be enough. It is a question of Army personnel priorities.
Something usually emerges to fill a vacuum, and the HTS program emerged after the beginning of the 9/11 wars to fill the need experienced by combat brigade commanders for advisers who could explain local populations to them and in turn explain coalition forces to the locals.
I have participated in the educational end of preparing some of these teams for deployment to both Iraq and Afghanistan. I found them to be very good students. The teams are typically made up of retired or reserve military personnel who manage the effort, indigenous interpreters and the civilian social scientists (political science, anthropology, economics) who are the core of the capability provided. So far, commanders in the field express great satisfaction with the service provided.
The social science associations have expressed some reservations about this program. They should think that over a bit. The Army has been careful not to make these teams part of the unit’s intelligence function that produces intelligence that drives combat operations (kinetic).
This program is developing and evolving in a dynamic way that is responsive to the needs of the present and probable future engagements. The social science associations should seek to be involved in that development. pl