Security Clearance report forces Army to approve key program
Soldiers from the 4th BCT of the 1st Infantry Division in Afghanistan
October 11th, 2012
11:37 AM ET

Security Clearance report forces Army to approve key program

By Mike Mount, Senior CNN National Security Producer

A report last week by Security Clearance has spurred senior U.S. Army officials to quickly buy and field an anti-roadside bomb system for thousands of soldiers deployed to the violent eastern part of Afghanistan, according to Army documents obtained by CNN.

The documents show that senior Army leaders were scrambling last week to purchase the equipment, known as Palantir, for the 4th Brigade Combat Team (4th BCT) of the 1st Infantry Division "as quickly as possible" in response to reporting that highlighted delays and denials of requests for the Palantir system by Army leadership.

The 4th BCT, based out of Fort Riley, Kansas, initially requested the software before its spring 2012 deployment and was rejected by the Army.

Late last month, the Army approved an emergency request made by the 4th BCT after it arrived in Afghanistan, but e-mails obtained by Security Clearance seem to show that senior Army officials were not aware of any plan to purchase or field the equipment for the 4th BCT, possibly delaying the arrival of the equipment.

Security Clearance agreed not to reveal the names of the Army staff because of privacy concerns.

"The capability must be procured for 4/1 as quickly as possible," according to the Army e-mails.

"Please see his note below and the CNN article regarding Palantir to the 4/1 ID ... [name withheld] needs to know the way ahead for procuring Palantir for 4/1," according to an e-mail between senior Army officials sent late last week in preparation for a meeting with Capitol Hill staffers from the major defense committees.

"We'll need to know ... the timeline to put this on contract and the estimated date the capability will get to 4/1," the e-mail continued.

"With the Army, every request for Palantir has been met with some type of resistance, and this is just one more example in a growing list. And in situations where there's been approval, the Army has dragged its feet and delayed delivery while units continued their combat mission in Afghanistan without resources they urgently and repeatedly requested," said Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-California, a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Hunter, an Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran, has been at the forefront of this flap, calling on the Army to explain delays in getting the Palantir system into the field as soon as possible.

The Palantir software was developed outside the military procurement system and is favored by many soldiers in the field. But the Army has been using its own technology in Afghanistan: the Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS), which many soldiers believe to be inferior to Palantir when it comes to hunting improvised explosive devices.

In last week's reporting, Security Clearance showed that one request for Palantir by a unit from the 2nd Infantry Division was eventually approved, but because of the bureaucracy involved in buying and fielding the system, it did not reach the soldiers until the end of their tour, so it had little effect in the field before they deployed back to the U.S.

The latest e-mails do seem to show that Army leaders are trying to get Palantir to the 4th BCT as soon as they can, but the more than 3,000 troops in the unit may start deploying home as early as February, just four months away.

Army officials did not respond to questions by Security Clearance for this report.

Security Clearance also reported a list of major Army divisions or elements of divisions that have been blocked or stymied from using the software system in Afghanistan. Those units include the 101st Airborne, 82nd Airborne, and the 3rd and 2nd Infantry divisions, according to sources with knowledge of the request denials and delays.

But Army officials say that some Army units are using the system in the field and that some of the requests were denied for commonsense reasons.

"Some units requested Palantir and were rejected because they were replacing a unit that was handing its Palantir system over to them, so if there was seven more months on the contract, it would not be cost effective to buy a new one," Army spokesman Lt. Col. Freddie Mack said last week.

While the Army has said it is using Palantir in the field in limited quantities, it is also testing the system and how it integrates into DCGS. Results from those tests were due last month but have yet to be released.

soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. lance

    pull out and stay out of these 3rd world toilets spend tax dollars at home.

    October 13, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Reply
  2. Agnes Root-Canal

    "We are absolutely committed to supporting our troops" unless it affects the budget.

    October 12, 2012 at 12:53 am | Reply
    • allen wojczynski

      DAMN C H E A P B A S T U R D S !!!!!! Just like Benghazi !!!! oblah–blah LIED !!! And REAL American heroes DIED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Does obassturd even care about the military?????? This azzwipe INCREASED his personal protection unit by %%%%%% 100 per cent !!! And don't forget the fifteen bodyguards for each of his kids !!!! Time that oblah–blah gets BOOTED OUT !!! ROMNEY and RYAN in 2012!!!!!!!!!

      October 12, 2012 at 3:54 am | Reply
      • tinhorn

        i'll be happy when news comment sections like cnn's are devoid of paid trollers. I can't discern what comments are for real or not sometimes. The crazy is prevalent.

        October 12, 2012 at 4:26 am |
  3. reply

    Would have been informative if CNN had said what the system is. Who, what, when, where, why, and how.

    October 12, 2012 at 12:27 am | Reply
  4. Walt

    It'll probably just make them sterile anyway, just like the Duke, Warlock, and Red/Green! So take your chances boys!

    October 12, 2012 at 12:22 am | Reply
  5. TONY

    straight forward problem with anything the military needs to do quickly is even more quickly sucked up by our Acquisition rules. By the time we need to push it out, multiple levels of greedy contractors, congress people and government personnel wanting to keep their jobs eats the movement up. Army Spec Ops were given the H&K 416 weAPON AND LOVED IT ONLY TO HAVE SOME CONGRESSMAN (IN BED WITH ANOTHER WEQPON BUILDER0 demand more testing. I believe the rifles were removed waiting on the TESTS. A few years later every Marine who carried 22 pound FNH now has the H&K.

    October 11, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Reply
    • tinhorn

      what was that great movie about the bradley fighting vehicle? i swear nobody should have pockets who works for the gov.

      October 12, 2012 at 4:16 am | Reply
  6. Darkguardian1314

    I thought the Army learned this lesson at the beginning of the war in regards to armor for troops and vehicles.
    No soldier should loss there life or be maimed for life because some desk jockey won; process purchases because of costs. Possible because they are waiting until the fiscal year that starts October 1.
    This isn't just the Army but the other services as well.

    October 11, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Reply
  7. Phil

    Jonathan, What is wrong with being a Mormon? What gives you the right to persecute and religion that is in a country that believes in the freedom of relgion? You have no Idea about my religion or what we stand for or what we believe in.

    You are talking about an organization that is the first to help those who are in trouble. You are talking about an organization who's people bleed just like you do who have bled for this country and the other countries of this world. You are welcom to talk about those running for office, but don't cut my religion.

    October 11, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Reply
    • jonathan

      The FACT that mormons preach the Cain Doctrine as an afterlife belief.

      I am black. And my skin is NOT a curse.

      That's what gives me the right.

      They are a cult, originally formed to allow their highest ranking members the ability to engage in multiple marriages, with underaged girls.

      You do not want to have this debate with me, I assure you.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Reply
      • TONY

        Sad, Who cares what color you, or anyone, is. Ignorance and intolerance are bad so youust made it into the boat

        October 11, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
      • jonathan

        Hush tony, until you educate yourself on the issues.

        October 11, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
      • tinhorn

        Anyone arguing a point with facts, as it seems you attempted to Jonathon, fails when they resort to stating they are smarter than the person they are responding to with said facts. Even if you are right. The problem with all religions is that they have just as many skeleton filled closets as their followers.

        Truth be told I never really met a mormon i was offended by til Romney. He is forced to donate some of his wealth by the church he's bound to, but he doesn't want the IRS telling him to give more so social programs can continue and our nations infrastructure functions properly.

        October 12, 2012 at 4:04 am |
  8. batman

    CNN: You guys have to fix your word filter. I can't even write a simple artile without it getting rejected for no obvious reason. I just rewrote the same article maybe 6 times, and it still won't post.

    October 11, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Reply
  9. NNN

    My understanding is that the Palantir system is an add-on to the DCGS at the user interface level, and that it relies on data provided by the DCGS to generate its reports. So the DCGS is not a complete washout like the original story leads people to believe, Palantir needs the DCGS to work. And how Palantir obviates the DCGS server overload crashes is anyone's guess, Palantir must be less of a processing load for the DCGS, but then people are saying Palantir produces less reports.

    October 11, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Reply
  10. Pat

    Bring all the soldiers back and send them all out to learn how to fly UAVs, then put them on the borders.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Reply
    • TONY

      sure.. and all conflict is finished by boots on the ground. Dumb down our forces some more and we can let the girl scouts fly your little drones

      October 11, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Reply
  11. Nick

    Palantir and DCGS has totally different uses and mission sets. This is an erroneous comparison...

    October 11, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Reply
    • Pat

      Not only that but each service develops their own requirements for DCGS, hence DCGS-A for Army.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Reply
  12. dave cooke

    the sooner we leave the afgAns to themselves the sooner we will see another 911

    October 11, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Reply
    • gabrielG

      Absolutely incorrect, and incoherent.

      Stop fear mongering. People hate you because of it.

      October 11, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Reply
      • OffTheWorldPolitics

        The US will eventually pull out of Afghanistan. I just hope those people know how to behave afterwards. If Another terror attack like 9/11 happens the public will be absolutely furious. They will only want retribution...

        October 11, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
      • jonathan

        Not before we know who actually did it.

        Remember, 19 of the 21 hijackers were SAUDIS!!

        But we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq......

        Smells stupid don't it?

        October 11, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
      • Capster

        Saudi's that were trained and supported by factions in Afghanistan. Call it fear mongering if you like. I'm fairly certain those on the 911 aircraft, the Pentagon and both Trade Towers were fairly fearful while the suffered thru the burning carnage of that day. What else would cause people to jump 100+ stories from buildings.

        October 11, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
      • jonathan

        Saudis, with Saudi money.

        Try again.

        October 11, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
      • Capster

        I don't deny that there are Saudi's that were behind it and funded by Saudi's, however, they were trained and partially funded by the factions that included the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Hijackers were not funded by the Saudi government, but they were supported and funded partially by the Taliban which was the government of Afghanistan at the time. We are not going to attack a country because some of their citizens happen to be terrorists. Only if the government openly supports them. It would be like attacking Mexico because of drug violence.

        October 11, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
      • jonathan

        No, it is like attacking Canada for drug violence in Detroit.

        Get real ya??

        October 11, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
      • tinhorn

        that would never happen jonathon, canada grows mad weed, not crack.

        October 12, 2012 at 4:09 am |
      • tinhorn

        oooooooooh.... (sarcasm)

        October 12, 2012 at 4:10 am |
  13. chris

    Democrats support affirmative action programs in employment and college programs. Think before you vote.

    October 11, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Reply
    • gabrielG

      That's right. If your smart, vote Obama.

      If you're dumb, vote for the guy who's cult believes dark skin a curse.

      October 11, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Reply
      • Brad

        troll

        October 11, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
      • jonathan

        At least he isn't Mormon.

        Mad, that what he says is true??

        October 11, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
      • TONY

        and a racist

        October 11, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
      • tinhorn

        wow. mormon haters from the internet. No real obama supporter would criticize someone over their religious beliefs.

        October 12, 2012 at 4:11 am |
  14. Leon

    Nonsense. CNN put them on blast, Thank you CNN for keeping the govt in check and helping get the us troops what we need when we need it most.

    October 11, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Reply
  15. Patrick

    Instead of all this needless military spending, why don't we just pull these troops out of harm's way? After all, we have no more right to be in that country than the Russians did some 30 years ago! Besides, we need to cut our enormous spending deficit at home and this would be a step in the right direction.

    October 11, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Reply
    • gabrielG

      Because Israel would threaten to engage in genocide against Muslims, if America isn't close by, ready to bleed for them.

      October 11, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Reply
      • Brad

        again Troll

        October 11, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
      • jonathan

        Seems to me, that YOU are the troll brad.

        And pathetic to boot.

        October 11, 2012 at 5:32 pm |

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