View Full Version : Iraq Provincial Reconstruction Teams

10-31-2006, 06:21 PM
Here is a report on the status of PRTs in Iraq for those interested.


11-03-2006, 01:48 PM
New York Times - Congress Tells Auditor in Iraq to Close Office (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/03/world/middleeast/03reconstruct.html?hp&ex=1162530000&en=797e826ed9357ea0&ei=5094&partner=homepage)

Investigations led by a Republican lawyer named Stuart W. Bowen Jr. in Iraq have sent American occupation officials to jail on bribery and conspiracy charges, exposed disastrously poor construction work by well-connected companies like Halliburton and Parsons, and discovered that the military did not properly track hundreds of thousands of weapons it shipped to Iraqi security forces.

And tucked away in a huge military authorization bill that President Bush signed two weeks ago is what some of Mr. Bowen’s supporters believe is his reward for repeatedly embarrassing the administration: a pink slip.

01-21-2007, 04:52 PM
CSIS, 19 Jan 07: Reconstruction in Iraq: The Uncertain Way Ahead (http://www.csis.org/media/csis/pubs/070119_iraq_reconstruction.pdf)

...To be successful, however, past aid plans will probably have to be totally restructured during the course of 2007 and 2008. The following issues and actions must be addressed:

• Far more realistic and fact-based plans must be developed for the overall development of Iraq based on aid, government spending, which are far more sensitive to Iraqi views of need versus those of the US and outside advisors.

• Kurdish separatism and Shi’ite regionalism in the south already are creating separate development efforts, even without action on the provisions of the new constitution that permit federalism in every province by Baghdad. These will remain major issues, even if the Bush-Maliki plans succeed.

• Local elections, votes on federalism, and divisions of oil revenues under the proposed act will all tend to strengthen regional and local power versus the central government even in the event of victory.

• The failure to fully complete many aid projects, make them properly transferable to the Iraqis, and provide bridging or sustaining funds until they can become self-sustaining will be a steadily growing problem in 2007, and begin to require serious action during 2008 as given projects need repair, further investment, or lack operating funds. Much of the aid effort that has been successful will being to fail relatively quickly, particularly projects depending on Western parts and maintenance practices.

• Iraqi capabilities to plan and administer effective aid efforts still need to be created at the Ministerial, governorate, and local levels. Corruption, incompetence, bureaucratic inertia, sheer lack of personnel, the risk of operating in the field, ethnic and sectarian favoritism, nepotism, and severe contractor problems are the rule and not the exception. The priority to “build” Iraqi honesty and competence to handle aid and economic development is as critical as any other aspect of “win,” “hold, “build.”

• US core capabilities are also critically weak. It is far from clear that the US can make a fourfold increase in some 100 civilians in the PRTs now in Iraq, many of which already lack expertise and qualifications and took two years to recruit. USAID, the Corps of Engineers, and US contractors have shown little ability to plan, administer, audit, and develop suitable effectiveness measures. The overall level of US effectiveness has been roughly equal to the Iraqi level of effectiveness with far less excuse.

• Both the Iraqi government and aid donors must develop a new approach to aid that deals with the renovation or privatization of Iraq’s state industries, finds practical limits to the size of the government sector, and frees agriculture and irrigation from levels of state control and interference that sharply interfere with productivity and competitiveness.

• The de facto deterioration of Iraq’s petroleum sector has reached the point where action is becoming increasingly urgent simply to maintain current production, along with efforts to limit the growth of domestic demand and reduce product imports. A coherent plan for energy sector rehabilitation and development is critical to any Iraqi ability to become self-financing, as well as to provide government funds as incentives for conciliation and coexistence. The same is true to both creating suitable refinery capacity and removing subsidies from petroleum products that create massive demand growth and act as incentive for theft and black market activities.

• The deterioration of the critical health and education sectors because of fighting, poor aid programs and sustained underinvestment, needs to be readdressed from the ground up.

• The new Bush strategy finally makes revitalizing Iraq’s state industries a critical priority, but this requires new aid plans and either new sources of funds or substantial reprogramming of existing funds.

• A similar effort will be needed to readdress the deterioration of irrigation, and lack of funding and modernization in the agricultural sector.

• As the conflict recedes, new aid plans will be needed to deal with wartime damage to critical infrastructure like roads, urban facilities, etc .

• Similar changes must be made in current plans to deal with water, electricity, and sewers. A nation-wide development plan will be needed which reexamines both what kind of major facilities are needed and how to address the critical problems in power lines, water pipes, sewer connections and the delivery of actual services.

• Aid will be needed to sustain employment in the civil sector, deal with problems like disbanding militias, and downsize and restructure Iraqi security forces as the mission shifts from internal security to defense of the nation from external threats.

• The largely hollow efforts to date to create effective ministries and government offices, and end corruption and favoritism, will need to be put into meaningful practice.

• New incentives will be needed not only to attract foreign investment, but help Iraq’s professional and business class recover from the war, help deal with the result of sectarian and ethnic separation and cleansing, and attract back the many Iraqi professionals that have left the country....

Rob Thornton
01-21-2007, 05:50 PM
Within the last month we linked up with our PRT up here in Ninewa. That is part of the problem with all TTs in that the structure for sharing information and reinforcing while not duplicating was not provided - however we are all starting to find each other:rolleyes:

With that said, I think we can start understanding how to couple the two efforts. We provide the PRT a godd assessment on how the security situation is progressing and they let us know about what they have going on.

I was ignorant until recently of what they are tasked with. They help build "capacity" in ways similiar to the was the MiTTs do. Nobody wings a hammer in the PRT - rather they advise. The PRTs do not "own" the money per se either - that comes from on high. Right now the Ninewa PRT is focusing n the sub districts (you might ddraw a comparrison to the tactical level of what the PRT does) which is great for us becasuse the BNs and BDE can support PRT/Iraqi Local government actions at that level.

There is roughly $500 million tagged for "building capacity" and projects in the Ninewa province for FY 07. This money can go a long way, especially if we can find a way to get the sheiks interested in supporting buisness ventures vs. other activities - nothing happens without a sheik somewhere knowing about it.

One thing we are doing for our replacements is getting them introduced to the PRT as part of the RIP/TOA. This will give them a good head start and synchronzie efforts early on.

03-21-2007, 05:08 PM
USIP, Mar 07: Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Iraq (http://www.usip.org/pubs/specialreports/sr185.pdf)


• Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) are small civilian-military units that assist provincial and local governments in Iraq to govern effectively and deliver essential services.

• In January 2007 President Bush announced that the United States would double the number of PRTs as part of his plan for a “New Way Forward.” Ten new PRTs will be embedded with Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs) in Baghdad, Anbar, and Babil.

• The new PRTs will differ significantly from the ten original PRTs set up in Iraq in November 2005. Led by the State Department, most of the original PRTs are located on U.S. military bases and rely on the military for security and logistical support. Both types of PRTs in Iraq differ in staffing and organization from PRTs in Afghanistan.

• Start-up of the PRT program in Iraq has been troubled by interagency differences over funding, staffing, and administrative support and by the overriding challenge of providing security. Embedding the new PRTs with BCTs should help overcome many of these problems.

• Despite the problems, PRTs provide a U.S. civilian presence in areas that would not be served otherwise. Participants in PRTs believe they are having a positive effect.

03-24-2007, 06:45 AM
24 March NY Times - Iraq Reconstruction Teams to Receive Needed Support (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/24/washington/24reconstruct.html) by Thom Shanker and James Glanz.

Ten veteran diplomats and four representatives of the Agency for International Development (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/a/agency_for_international_development/index.html?inline=nyt-org) will depart for Iraq in coming days as the civilian core of 10 new provincial reconstruction teams, the first step in what the Bush administration has promised will be a significant increase in efforts to accelerate local economic and political development.

State Department and Pentagon officials said that these additional team members were leaving on schedule.

Still, the pace of the political and economic buildup is expected to be behind that of the military’s, and some military commanders have been asking why they have not seen much in the way of assistance for the president’s new Iraq strategy from the rest of the civilian agencies of the United States government...

There are currently about 10 reconstruction teams working in Iraq but they have been burdened by a myriad problems.

American officials who have firsthand experience with the reconstruction team program say that it has been hampered by a surfeit of active duty or retired military participants who have lacked some of the expertise — such as in agriculture, energy and economics — that civilian government employees have, and by having too few people over all.

“There just aren’t any bodies on these teams anywhere,” said a State Department official who directly observed the formation of one current reconstruction team outside Baghdad. The official was not authorized to speak to the press.

Another problem has been the teams’ ability to move within Iraq...

08-04-2007, 01:55 PM
Blogger's Roundtable: PRTs in Iraq (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2007/08/bloggers-roundtable-prts-in-ir/)

The Small Wars Journal / Small Wars Council participated in a Blogger's Roundtable on Friday with Philip Reeker, US Embassy, Baghdad. The subject was Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in Iraq.

Participants included Andrew Lubin of On Point, Grim of Blackfive, Dave Dilegge of Small Wars Journal / Small Wars Council, Austin Bay, Richard Fernandez of The Belmont Club, David Axe of Aviation Week and Charlie Quidnunc of Whizbang.

As soon as DoD posts the transcript of this roundtable we will place a link here.


The PRTs are a critical component of the population-centric “new strategy” for Iraq to include one of its tactical elements – “the surge”. Criticisms of those executing the grassroots (local level) nature of the PRT program are not only unwarranted, they are detrimental to the success of ongoing operations.

A reality check boils down to reconciliation on a national level is not moving forward – those “in-country” are painfully aware of the “Washington Clock” and are exploiting the only viable option available - working at the local level to provide at least a solid base in terms of rule of law, infrastructure, economic development, governance, and public diplomacy. National-level reconciliation might very well be enabled by these grassroots efforts.

Hindsight 20 / 20 as it is, maybe a bottom-up approach should have been a lynchpin of OIF from the very beginning....

More at the link...

09-07-2007, 02:54 AM
5 Sep 07 testimony before the HASC Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on DoD's role in PRTs:

Ginger Cruz, Deputy IG, SIGIR (http://armedservices.house.gov/pdfs/OI090507/Cruz%20_Testimony090507.pdf)

...To truly understand the challenge of blending civilian and military structures, it is important to view the wider context. The federal government, as it is currently structured, is not well suited to perform complex interagency missions in foreign lands. While civilian and military resources today are more harmoniously integrated than they were a year ago, the system is still not ideally structured to provide a coordinated, synchronized platform in which military personnel and their civilian agency counterparts find it easy to achieve mutually agreed upon results.

Rather than establishing a permanent, predictable method of integrated decision-making and resource sharing, a patchwork quilt of memoranda of agreement, cables, and military orders has evolved to codify policy for PRTs. Interagency disagreements require extended periods of discussion before satisfactory resolutions are achieved. It took nearly a year before lawyers at the Departments of State and Defense signed off on a security cooperation agreement for the PRTs – a year in which hundreds of PRT staff were struggling to do their jobs....
Michelle Parker, RAND (http://armedservices.house.gov/pdfs/OI090507/Parker_Testimony090507.pdf)

The PRT is not a physical structure; it is a platform for components of U.S. National Security to coordinate larger political missions, while jointly developing and implementing a targeted stability operation. The military works on improving the host nation’s security, USAID works on developing government institutions, health, education, infrastructure and private sector. The U.S. Department of State analyzes and reports on the complex Afghan political environment to the Embassy and its PRT partners. Each component is critical to achieve the U.S. mission....

...The PRT’s unique value lies in how it integrates the mission of each National Security component: Department of Defense, U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development. No one agency or department can manage all of the tasks that need to be accomplished to win the war, but by creating a unity of effort that maximizes each component’s core competency the United States stands a greater chance for success....
Frederick Barton, CSIS (http://armedservices.house.gov/pdfs/OI090507/Barton_Testimony090507.pdf)

....Often, PRTs have been left on their own with little strategic guidance, minimal funding, a lack of staff, and overly restrictive security requirements. The arrival of PRTs in Iraq may be too late to be of real value, and their presence in Afghanistan may lack critical mass to make a difference. PRTs will need to change in order to fulfill their promise – and too much should not be expected of them.

The following are six steps that I feel would make PRTs more effective.

1. Targeted deployment to critical provincial areas of continued insecurity....

2. Clear strategic direction, operational flexibility and improved connectivity....

3. Expanded involvement of a wide range of local people in participatory practices....

4. Improved liquidity....

5. A broader pool of available civilians....

6. Clarity of leadership and well integrated teams....

10-19-2007, 05:31 PM
18 Oct 07 testimony before the HASC Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on measuring and increasing the effectiveness of PRTs:

Stuart Bowen (http://armedservices.house.gov/pdfs/OI101807/Bowen_Testimony101807.pdf), Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction

Building on our prior recommendations, we have recommended that the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq and the Commanding General, MNF-I, take these actions:

1. In an expeditious manner, jointly establish a comprehensive plan for the PRTs (including ePRTs), with elements tailored for each PRT. At a minimum, the plan should: (a) clearly define objectives and performance measures; (b) milestones for achieving stated objectives; (c) be linked to funding requirements; and (d) identify the organization(s) within each agency that are accountable for the plan’s implementation. To provide senior level attention to this issue, the plan should be approved by the Chief of Mission and the MNF-I Commander to demonstrate each agency’s commitment to this effort.

2. Develop guidance on the use and synchronization of CERP funds to support the U.S. Government’s capacity-development mission.
...so, up to this point they've been operating without a plan :confused:

Robert Perito (http://armedservices.house.gov/pdfs/OI101807/Perito_Testimony101807.pdf), Center for Post-Conflict Peace and Stability Operations, USIP

While US PRTs vary greatly in size, organization and functions, they share several common problems, which require immediate attention. These can be summarized as follows:

• Improvisation is not a concept of operations

• Stability Operations is not a game for ‘pick up’ teams

• Silence is not a public information program

• Without agreed objectives it is difficult to judge effectiveness

Review of the Effectiveness of the PRT Program in Iraq (http://armedservices.house.gov/pdfs/OI101807/SIGIR_Testimony101807.pdf), 63 page SIGIR report, dated 18 Oct 07.

12-13-2008, 12:16 AM
USIP, 12 Dec 08: Evaluating Iraq’s Provincial Reconstruction Teams While Drawdown Looms (http://www.usip.org/files/resources/USIP_1208_6_0.PDF)

Two USIP specialists recently traveled to Iraq to examine the effectiveness of Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs). Their primary findings were that PRTs play a critical role in facilitating the expenditure of Iraqi funds on Iraqi reconstruction and development. Moreover, the PRTs perform a range of secondary tasks that contribute greatly to the broader US civilian-military effort in Iraq. However, PRTs face a number of administrative and security-related challenges (despite improvement in certain areas) and are also engaged in a number of long-term development activities to which they are poorly suited. This USIPeaceBriefing describes the effort.....

01-10-2009, 02:43 AM
JFQ, 1st Qtr 09: Reconstructing Iraq's Provinces One by One (http://intelros.ru/pdf/jfq_52/27.pdf)

.....Provincial reconstruction is no longer about physical construction, although PRTs have supported a lot of construction. It is about reconstructing Iraqi life in the provinces from Saddam’s centralized dictatorship to decentralized governments that people accept as legitimate, from the rule of violence to the rule of law, from ethnic/religious antagonism to accommodation, from government-run business to private sector growth, from rampant corruption to accountability, and so on. It is about fundamental, qualitative change.

Moreover, the diversity among Iraq’s provinces is so great, and the opportunities for effective foreign engagement vary so much among the provinces, that PRTs cannot deliver a single set of policies and programs as instructed from Baghdad. Each PRT must draw up province-specific plans, priorities, and levels of resources to achieve its goals. While the general principles of counterinsurgency, economic development, and institutional reform do apply throughout Iraq, they involve policy choices, and each PRT must adapt them to address the unique circumstances prevailing in each province. Efforts to create a single “provincial doctrine” for Iraqi PRTs tend either to be inapplicable to some parts of Iraq or hopelessly vague. Likewise, efforts to contrive a single set of measurements to compare the performance of all the teams can only occasionally be useful because the provinces in which they serve will progress or regress at different rates, and the PRTs’ performance will usually not be as decisive as the Iraqi efforts. Moreover, many of the changes we want are not readily measurable......