While the White House considers whether to send more American troops into Afghanistan, it's also being asked to send in more anthropologists and social scientists.
They're part of an experiment to help U.S. forces understand the place and the people they're dealing with.
Civillian academics are embedded with front-line soldiers to advise on local customs and politics.
It's called "The Human Terrain System" and it began in Iraq two years ago. Not everyone approves. And it's not without dangers. Three of them have been killed in action.
But it's apparently been effective enough that the Army's asking to expand the six teams in Afghanstan to thirteen.
One journalist who's seen it up close in the field is Vanessa Gezari, who's writing a book on the system underwritten by the Pulitzer Centre on Crisis Reporting. Listen to Rick's conversation with Vanessa Gezari....
Listen to the full interview here.