View Full Version : Should you merge Advisors with PRT's?

05-29-2007, 07:53 PM
I just read the Bing's Blog article (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2007/05/the-adviser-model/) and made a quick comment there. That inturn prompted me to creat this thread based off the following clipped quotes:

“The Advisory Model represents America's best chance to influence the fight for Iraq while pulling our troops out….Finally, the military needs a new management model for its advisory corps. Advisers are like entrepreneurs, each tinkering with their own startup projects. …It must strike a better balance between nationwide unity of effort, local relationships, and individual risk-reward profiles….A full-fledged Plan B would leave about 80,000 U.S. troops in Iraq in 2009, about. A comparative handful of American diplomats, called Provincial Reconstruction Teams, currently live with U.S. brigades.” Bing and Owen West

The Blog made me think that it is time to find a new way of doing business and a way to exploit our capabilities this is just one idea: Combine PRT's with Advisors.

Unity of Command and Effort through organization: the Notional Enhanced PRT:

The Notional Enhanced Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT). The mission of this PRT would be to establish an interdisciplinary team capable of being staffed by multiple government agencies for Stability, Security, Transition and Reconstruction operations (SSTR). The ratio of civilian to military members would be determined by the security situation.

PRT’s extend the authority of the central government by providing assistance in governance and law enforcement; training support to indigenous police and military forces; monitoring, assessment and reporting on physical development of regions; facilitating information sharing across the target province and state; contribute to the reconstruction process; and closely coordinate the civil-military stabilization and reconstruction plans including the activities and support of NGO’s.

Command Section. The command section in the initial operations, when security is the primary concern, should be predominantly military. When the security situation stabilizes the command should transfer to a Civilian Authority.

Commander Provincial Reconstruction Team (Cmdr PRT, ) The Commander of a PRT should have specialized training in how to run a multi-discipline organization and in particular how to work with civilian organizations. The civilian equivalent to the Commander should be a senior Field Program Officer from the DoS Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization or USAID. This individual should have specialized training in the organization, function and equipping of military organizations in addition to his primary knowledge of reconstruction operations and how to run mutli-discipline organizations.

The PRT Committee. The PRT Committee is comprised of the PRT Commander and the OIC of each sub-team. The committee is responsible for coordinating and de-conflicting all SSTR operations in the PRT zone of action. The PRT Commander is the senior executive agent with the authority to overrule any deadlock.

The Sub-Units of a Notional Enhanced PRT:

(1) Security Team. The responsibility of the security team is to provide security to the PRT operation. The basic organization of the security team is based on a motorized or mechanized infantry company with attachments as deemed necessary.

(2) Justice Team. The responsibilities of the justice team are to provide support to and to train an indigenous judiciary and local police. An auxiliary capability is to provide an interim judicial system, with the capabilities to establish if needed a military tribunal, or exceptional military court. Further they are to conduct a survey of the judicial infrastructure regarding available personnel and physical courts, prisons and police facilities. The basic organization of the interim justice team requires a functioning legal unit capable of establishing a military tribunal or exceptional court; a training and survey team; as well as a criminal and insurgent detention team.

(3) Reconstruction Team. The responsibilities of the reconstruction team are to provide immediate humanitarian assistance support via construction or repair of critical infrastructure. The team must also be able to conduct a survey of future reconstruction needs. The basic organization of the team can be a limited as an engineering advisory team to the larger spectrum of an engineer company or platoon with air transportable construction equipment and other attachments as deemed necessary.

(4) Medical Team. The responsibilities of the medical team are to provide immediate emergency medical support to the indigenous population and the PRT itself. The team must be capable of conducting a survey of the regional medical needs in both infrastructure and personnel. The basic organization of the team is formed around a medical platoon with veterinary and other support as needed.

(5) Governance and Civil Affairs Team. The responsibilities of the governance and civil affairs team are to provide governmental advice to the PRT Commander as he administers the assigned zone. Further they are to operate a Civil Military Operation Center (CMOC) for the coordination of civic action within the PRT area of operation. The team will also provide contracting and disbursing support for stabilization and reconstruction projects in the area of operation. They need familiarity with the finacial requirements of the Quick Impact Program (USAID) and The Commander’s Emergency Response Program (DoD). Additionally this team will be the repository of linguists who will provide translation and interpretation support to the PRT. The basic organization will be a civil affairs team reinforced as deemed necessary to conduct the mission.

(6) Communications Section. The responsibilities of the communications section is to provide communications for the PRT and to provide a communication network for the indigenous leadership. The basic organization will be a communication section similar to that, which supports detached special operations units in the field.

(7) Logistics Section. The responsibilities of the logistics section are to provide transportation and logistics support to the PRT and to support the stabilization and reconstruction projects. The basic organization will be a logistics and motor transport section with attachments as deemed necessary to support the mission.

(8) The Military Advisory Team. The mission of the military Advisory team is to work with the other PRT sub-units to provide training in combat, policing and leadership skills for indigenous forces located within the PRT’s Area of Operation. The basic organization would call for a 15 to 25 man MTT.

Old Eagle
05-29-2007, 09:09 PM
Sounds kinda like CORDS, but I'll let Mike in Hilo comment on that.

I think that your model has some attractiveness, especially in the area of unity of effort. There are probably environments where the model would work.

The problem I see in both Afghanistan and Iraq is that the intense combat operations truly limit the interface between advisory teams and PRTs. It will be interesting to see how the PRTs embedded in Brigade Combat Teams work out.

05-29-2007, 09:18 PM
The problem I see in both Afghanistan and Iraq is that the intense combat operations truly limit the interface between advisory teams and PRTs. It will be interesting to see how the PRTs embedded in Brigade Combat Teams work out.

Is that actually where we're headed? I'm a little behind on the literature when it comes to the status of PRTs. Last I read, there was still a ton of gnashing of teeth over where the staff were going to come from.

John T. Fishel
05-29-2007, 09:37 PM
Hi Troufion--

This proposal - which I like very much - looks a lot like the old SAF and FIDAF from the 1960s - early 90s. It adds a civilian component a la CORDS (myth or reality doesn't matter). The mechanism for designating command needs work but the concept is there and right IMO.

What is missing, I think, is the political will. Would President Bush support? Probably, if it ever reached him. What about Secretaries Rice and Gates? Dunno. And General Pace and Admiral Fallon? Ambassador Crocker and General Petraeus? And if they all supported it, how much political capital would they be willing to invest?

At the operational and tactical levels, to what extent would O-3 through O-6 commanders and willingly subordinate themselves to FSO-1 and 2s? Similarly, the FSOs?

Nevertheless, IMHO, this one is well worth trying.

Hooah! and Oorah!:D


PS We still should remember that organization only can make things harder or easier; it never really is the solution.

05-29-2007, 10:20 PM

The roles and missions are different. The military units do operate outside of PRT AO's which tend to be fixed (for good reasons of comsistency). The Advisors are dealing strictly with security forces, answering to the national government.

John T. Fishel
05-29-2007, 11:11 PM

Are you referring to the way PRTs currently operate or to T's proposal?


05-29-2007, 11:26 PM

As somebody who has one more day in Foggy Bottom, I have seen what works and what doesn't. First, I would advise uniformed service member to drop any idea that the Office of the Coordiantor for Stability and Reconstruction is going to provide is going to provide any expertise in this area is flawed. They have marketed themselves as this, but they do not have the capacity or knowledge base to do this. furthermore, that office only exists by a National Security Council document, so they have a running clock, and are not a viable solution.

As fara as structur and roles. keep PRST focused on what they are. I would place local law enforcement under the justice guys with an undertsanding of their paramilitary role. regional forces and militias all have viability issues over governance strength. You don't want to create competing government structures. The military and interior forces are owned by the national government, and they do move around. You do not want them tied to a PRT that is trying to deliver very difficult development and governance issues.

As much as the proposal would create a unity of command structure, the USG ain't structured that way, and it isn't going to happen with the way Congress runs things. There is no capacity in any organization to support these kinds of manpower requirements.

I would counter that PRT's at the provincial level as coordination assistants/advisors with the HN government at that level in order to help synchronize they various projects throughout the province (think state in US model). I woul look at resourcing USAID to execute development and governance at the district and municpal level tied more with the US forces (if involved) than HN military.

Rob Thornton
05-30-2007, 12:15 AM
T's proposal kind of looks like a component (possibly one of many sub commands) of a Joint Inter-Agency TF for Reconstruction and Transition. Jimbo points to some reality issues with "constructing":D anything like this anytime soon. In this case putting everyone with a "T" in their acronym together would probably only breed confusion and infighting. Also as Jimbo points out centralized organizations tend to put down roots and run fiber optic and get all darn comfortable. The benefits you might gain by putting them under one roof would have to be weighed against their inability to function as seperate sub-elements on their own for an extended periods - if you negate the need for flexible sustainment somebody will probably turn off the tap & forget where the switch to turn it back on is when somebody needs it. I'd also say that living with (as close as the infrastructure will support - hopefully in the same compound if not the same building) is critical to advisor mission. There are so many things that can get identified and resolved before they become a show stopper by just being available. Put everybody under one roof - and probably only one element actually lives with their element - offices and compounds are pretty spread out there - some is due to where they need to be (a COP or IP Station) some is what the infrastructur will support.

That being said - I think T's idea deserves to be considered in terms of the capabilities we might want to deploy to other places, or say a more mature Iraq down the road (3-5 years?) when its systems are further along. My personal take is that we just have not reached the fundamental levels to consolidate the advisory mission in Iraq in such a manner - we'd wind up spending our efforts on the wrong things because we just would not really know what is going on (there are already in house disconnects amongst people who all speak single service language). Keep it up though T - I think you are on to where we'd like to be in terms of being able to deploy something to failing states in a major CMD's geographic AOR to work hand in hand with the country team in place that is in danger of being destabilized.
Regards, Rob

05-30-2007, 01:02 AM

I really appreciate the discussion. In particular the organizational theory vs. reality.

Now I'll alter the question just a bit. Again referring to the Bing's article. Relook this idea as a means to get the most from the least. If by FY2009 we have to be drawn down to 50% of the forces say around 80k as the Bing's discuss would a level of 'desperation' allow for stranger bedfellows?

In my proposal I was not placing the forces all in one fortress compound. It would be an administrative idea bent on keeping forces flexible, and perhaps it would be better to have liaison officers for advisor groups with the PRT's.

That said what structure would allow us to achieve maximum flexibility (suspend what you know of PRT and MTT/Advisor right now) with a reduced footprint of 80k on the ground. This could be a reality and the idea of brigades, regt combat teams and full battalions operating alone and unafraid will become a rarity. Advisors and PRT will have the preponderance of force on the ground for all SSTR components. In other words there may not be much choice other than to make it fit. Either by design or by accident.

Rob Thornton
05-30-2007, 02:05 AM
I think there is a bit of a chicken and egg thing in my mind. The conditions should dictate the organization. This also gets into one of the things we discussed awhile back - what is needed in one location is not the same as another - you might need 2 of one and 0 of another. This is useful in that it conserves resources, but difficult in that is not the way we like to do business - we like cookie cutters. Building botom up refinement requires asking good questions and having people who can understand the answers and articulate them into the right requiests.
I think one of the things we could be doing right now (and probably are) is getting a feel for how far along things are by region/province, ISF component in cities/provinces, and Iraqi government systems so that some forecasting can be done about where we anticipate them needing assistance.
Every area has its own challenges in regards to sustaining forces, but I think what you'll see is the areas with greater security conerns will be the ones with CF units still in a reinforcing role - we won't reduce all at once. Gauging where Iraq is along the road to recovery is tricky - metrics for security and stability are subjective, so applying resources is a bit of an art.
I know its not what you were asking, but that is what came to mind.
Regards, Rob

05-30-2007, 02:16 AM
The conditions should dictate the organization. This also gets into one of the things we discussed awhile back - what is needed in one location is not the same as another - you might need 2 of one and 0 of another. This is useful in that it conserves resources, but difficult in that is not the way we like to do business - we like cookie cutters. Building botom up refinement requires asking good questions and having people who can understand the answers and articulate them into the right requiests.

Spot on RT. Why send in a gazzillion-watt gas turbine generator when the area is doing just fine off of hydro?

I think there has to be a healthy hesitation instilled in everyone supporting a bigger organization like this, lest we get a reincarnation of the CPA in subscale.

05-30-2007, 10:53 AM
no argument there, when talking about creating a larger organization. As has been clearly articulate by Jimbo, RT and others increasing the structure is not a player. Many reasons -manpower, red tape etc.

But I again address the situation of what do we do to fight the good fight if we are limited to half as many troops as we have at the end of the surge?

Would a PRT on this model function (also look at the origional PRT model that was 80% military with a military commander) if it where embedded within an Iraqi Bde?

I understand that no cookie cutters work. So take the basic framework and adjust it to what your local need is. But this thread was based on an assumption that by 09 we will still be in Iraq and be working on withdrawing down to 80k.

05-30-2007, 11:17 AM

I'd have to argue that any PRT model will rely pretty much on the acquiesence of the host, sovereign state. From that, I'm afraid that the Iraqi ministries responsible for the various activities would not be able to be weaned from the development support. That remains a common theme in the friction sustained by the advisory effort - actually getting the ministries to routinely support the troops and police.

I know I'm not offering coherent answers...it's just a crushing problem.

05-30-2007, 01:37 PM
I think both Rob and Jimbo hit on the head. In Iraq where you have such a large transition team mission focusing on so many different aspects of security (army, navy, air force, police, national police, border troops, customs, logistics, transport regiments, base support, etc), merging PRTs and TTs is not only a bridge to far, but I believe would be counter productive. The PRTs need to have the freedom of movement to continually get around to see all the various elements of their provience to build up infrastructure, and more importantly, trust. The MiTTs need to focus on not only their Iraqi counterparts, but also serving their higher master, the US BCT/Division they are attached (and therefore rated by) to. Trying to develop such a large amount of security forces really puts the two missions in two different camps. Hence Jimbo's point.

Rob, however, does bring out another good point. It should be considered and possibly resourced for a different conflict, one where we are not trying to rebuild a government, economy, and military from scratch. In a more permissive and structured environment, I suspect a joing PRT/TT would have more value and success, especially when the TT is doing more FID training with an already standing and established military. In this scenario, the TT has less of a building job and more of a coaching job. The PRT/TT would not only assist the military but integrate the civil aspects as well.

In Kosovo, our CA team had their own security and moved around all over our AO working different issues.

05-30-2007, 08:08 PM
The origional concept I used was designed for a smaller scale contingency, say a Haiti or Sierra Leone. From the postings here it would seem that is where it should stay. In a more micro-intervention vice the macro sized operation that Iraq has become. Perhaps if it had been utilized at the begining it could have worked but not now, not as a late game fix.

That said the other portion of my question is still open. What can or should be done if we have to reduce our forces by 50% by 09. And nuke em, fuggetaboutit, throw in the towel, are not good answers, nor would I expect that from this crowd. (though you may get votes for the first option from some:D)

06-19-2009, 12:16 PM
I suppose it's been a while since this thread was established, so perhaps no one cares anymore...

Just wanted to let you know the effort has begun (at least on some PRT's) to merge ANP Advisor Teams and PRT's, and though on my PRT it's still in its infancy, it definitely looks promising.

Old Eagle
06-19-2009, 12:37 PM
Please keep us informed as to how this develops.

Please also introduce yourself over at the hail & farewell section or on the intro thread.

John T. Fishel
06-19-2009, 01:20 PM
Would really like to hear more about how it's going and what effect, if any, the changes of command in CENTCOM and Afghanistan have on this matter.



Old Eagle
06-22-2009, 05:38 PM
I am specifically interested in how the PTTs (or whatever they're called in Afgh) are going to function w/PRTs. Do they live on your bases? Do they venture out only as part of the PRT? How do they integrate w/ANP? Over how large an area?

06-22-2009, 06:01 PM
I am specifically interested in how the PTTs (or whatever they're called in Afgh) are going to function w/PRTs. Do they live on your bases? Do they venture out only as part of the PRT? How do they integrate w/ANP? Over how large an area?
Are you referring to PMTs (Police Mentor Teams)?
In my AO, PMTs were a relatively new entity, and I believe they were living at a separate base than the PRT but their AO encompassed the entire province (which is totally unacceptable, IMO) and covered two separate agencies (ANP and ABP). They ran their own missions although occasionally cooperated with the PRT. And that is one of the huge problems with the PRT system.

The PRT, as it is set up, doesn't have to listen to anyone's advice and there is no system for mentoring teams (either PMT or ETT) to submit requests for projects. The PRT does its own thing, and everyone else does their own thing (which sort of flies in the face of that whole unity of command thing). Obviously through cultivating a good relationship with the PRT folks one could improve their prospects of getting some cooperation but there is no codified system for how these entities are supposed to work. (On second thought, there might be, but where I was nothing worked how it was supposed to.)

I have to admit that we were kind of in the third station of the Heart of Darkness cycle so there may be other provinces where the relationship between mentors and PRTs was more ideal.

Old Eagle
06-22-2009, 06:28 PM
Yeah. I was specifically trying to vector in on Merciless9's comments about potential merger.

As I recall, the police teams are referred to as PMTs in Afgh, now that I think about it. Thanks for the memory jog.

Two parts of your response concern me. 1. That the PMTs are over extended and 2. that the PRTs not coordinating activities.

Makes you want to go Hmmm.

04-01-2010, 01:04 AM
I just returned from my role as Provincial Lead Mentor for a Southern Afghanistan Province. I had 4 PMTs spread through the key districts, plus several other unmentored districts.
The PRT needs to be completely separate (though coordinate with) the mentor teams. The PRT focuses on being the carrot for the governor. The ETTs are there to watch the ANA in their FOBs. The PMTs are there to be patrolling with the Police and ensuring they aren't robbing the people. The PRTs are usually commanded by a non-Army/Marine guy who thinks he knows ground manuever but doesn't. Nice guys, but the minute they start making tactical decisions its over. They don't need to talk to the mentors to know where to focus. they need to talk with the provincial governor. The PRTs are a decent concept, but their biggest hampering is that the leadership is military and not civilian. We had an intel guy and a pilot commanding the PRT while I was there. Hell of a way to fight a war. that civilian surge briefed well. Lets see some guys step up. Hell, send some USACE with Uniformed Health Services over.

07-26-2013, 07:31 AM
Sylvan I agree. PRTs are to aid the civilian reconstruction to better improving their performance a civilian head assissted by the local intel person would greatly enhance their effectiveness. the problem of the locals will be better addresed which in turn would help improve local relations