View Full Version : Roundtable on Proposed Civilian Reserve Corps

11-15-2007, 07:44 AM
Thought this report would be of interest to forum readers. Note that the CRC would "consist of experts from state and local government, as well as the NGO community and the private sector, who have skills lacking in sufficient numbers in the USG - from police trainers to city managers." CRC members would receive several weeks of orientation and training....which one roundtable member disagreed with, saying CRCers would require extensive training...

In Roundtable on Proposed Civilian Reserve Corps, CSIS Senior Associate Dane Smith highlights the challenges for the U.S. government in building a civilian reserve corps to manage future stabilization and reconstruction operations. The paper summarizes the discussion from an experts’ roundtable held at CSIS on July 18, 2007.


Abu Suleyman
11-26-2007, 06:13 PM
The problem I see with this is the same as the one the military reserve and the current "active" civil service has. No one wants to be 'ordered' to a long term deployment. I personally know of many people who would gladly take a 'Busmans holiday' as it were, of several months.

The problem is that the government has totally destroyed its credibility in this arena by sending people on 3 month, (or in the case of some pitiable Naval Reservists I have met 2 week) deployments that turn into 15 month deployments! The situation now is that people believe that if they sign any contract that is deployable for the government they have to be willing to deploy the entire length of their contract or go to jail. Who is going to sign up for such a thing, on the civil side, since they have already passed on the military option. State department flunkies are already telling Sec'y Rice to pound sand as far as a deployment to Iraq. Even if we had such an organization, who would join it?

This may be why companies like Blackwater are having no problem with recruiting, even though it is for the same job. It is a job that people know that they can leave at any time.

11-28-2007, 09:02 AM
The problem I see with this is the same as the one the military reserve and the current "active" civil service has. No one wants to be 'ordered' to a long term deployment. I personally know of many people who would gladly take a 'Busmans holiday' as it were, of several months.

The problem is that the government has totally destroyed its credibility in this arena by sending people on 3 month, (or in the case of some pitiable Naval Reservists I have met 2 week) deployments that turn into 15 month deployments!

My Reserve unit deployed to Iraq in 2003 on Annual Training Orders. And served 13 months.

That screws over the family in ways one can barely imagine.

11-28-2007, 01:16 PM
I think it would be a whole lot simpler and easier to up the Defense budget - I'm not partial to civilians mixing and mingling and meddling too much in military/fighting business in this manner. The Guard and Reserves are military attachments and different than this concept. Many city managers and the like are political hacks who would sell their mothers for a vote and have no business rubbing shoulders with professional fighting men on an equal basis with and for input and direction, essentially Command functions. That's my civilian .02 worth anyway.

11-28-2007, 03:19 PM
... but what about in other parts of the government that are deployable? I'm thinking specifically about intel agencies. Perhaps this is beyond the realm of discussion here, but we haven't seen anything in the press about forced deployments or extensions of our analytical intelligence staffs overseas.

Have they found a rotation model that could be applied to a civilian response corps?

For civilian involvement on overseas missions what is the necessary model?

Is longer term (1 year plus) engagement necessary to build the relationships, know the culture, have an impact, or are shorter rotations in country possible?

Can the development/coin/stability issues be worked from Washington (or wherever else) as well as on the ground a la intel analysis?

11-30-2007, 12:24 AM
Interesting idea but I don’t see it as viable as described. First, it will be biased. I had a commander in Afghanistan whose mantra was “Don’t try to solve Afghan problems with American solutions.” That is what you will have here. Second, it relies on one-year deployments. This means that each individual will learn the lay of the land, who to trust, how to work, etc. for the first six months of the time they are there. Just as they are getting good they are out the door replaced by someone else who has to learn it all over again. Finally, to be truely effective they need to be on the ground right behind the combat forces. The article claimed that was "a bridge too far" but I don't think so if you choose the right people and you tie them in correctly.

How about this: Create a professional corps who are educated "officers" (foriegn service, military, or otherwise) who receive additional training via the UN and/or other countries who have done nation building operations. Tie them into the military from day one of planning. Have them “virtually deploy” by communications links so they are apprised of the situation on the ground from the start and as the security situation gets better they can come out for visits to meet with the locals. Keep them on the same project for the long run, no retraining a new team every ten months. This way there is no learning curve, relationships get built, and the locals get the feeling that they matter and that they know someone who can help. Augment them with part time specialists if you need to but don't depend on part time help to get the job done.

Either way I see the concept as critical to our managing the future world political environment. Might as well invest in doing it right rather than trying to do it “on the cheap”.

Besides, the Army already has something like this. It is called Civil Affairs, which is staffed primarily with Reservists.

12-08-2007, 11:16 PM
GAO, 6 Nov 07: Actions Are Needed to Develop a Planning and Coordination Framework and Establish the Civilian Reserve Corps (http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d0839.pdf)

The office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS (http://www.state.gov/s/crs/)) is developing a framework for planning and coordinating U.S. reconstruction and stabilization operations. The National Security Council (NSC) has adopted two of three primary elements of the framework—the Interagency Management System and procedures for initiating the framework’s use. However, the third element—a guide for planning stabilization and reconstruction operations—is still in progress. We cannot determine how effective the framework will be because it has not been fully applied to any stabilization and reconstruction operation. In addition, guidance on agencies’ roles and responsibilities is unclear and inconsistent, and the lack of an agreed-upon definition for stabilization and reconstruction operations poses an obstacle to interagency collaboration. Moreover, some interagency partners stated that senior officials have shown limited support for the framework and S/CRS. Some partners described the new planning process, as presented in early versions of the planning guide, as cumbersome and too time consuming for the results it has produced. S/CRS has taken steps to strengthen the framework by addressing some interagency concerns and providing training to interagency partners. However, differences in the planning capacities and procedures of civilian agencies and the military pose obstacles to effective coordination.....
Complete 60 page report at the link.

12-09-2007, 10:21 PM
I had an interesting one on one (well, plus PAO) w/ Amb. John Herbst, the head of S/CRS, last Monday. Details to come now that I've recovered from a hard drive crash... Yes, this was a tease. On the GAO report, note the letters from CRS and DOD etc describing the report as out of date and describing a Dec '06 CRS.

12-10-2007, 11:10 AM
I for one think this a great idea. Just because the details are difficult to work does not mean the concept should be scrapped. It should be worked until a viable model can be proposed.

12-12-2007, 03:19 AM
I have had civilians on my TDA before but not in an MTOE unit. Lets suppose we actually wanted to imbed a team like this into a DIV or BDE level CMOC. Make them an actual part of the MTOE so that we (the Army) could pay and equip them. They could either be "loaners" from thier parent department or they could be civilians we hire specifically for the task. My question is, is there a way to do that within the current regulations?

12-12-2007, 04:23 AM
If I sign up do I get a gun!!!!! <- Marines everywhere will get the reference

Ron Humphrey
12-12-2007, 04:25 AM
If I sign up do I get a gun!!!!! <- Marines everywhere will get the reference

But I think I get it too

Ken White
12-12-2007, 04:31 AM
If I sign up do I get a gun!!!!! <- Marines everywhere will get the reference

For fun...:D

12-12-2007, 05:29 AM
CRC isn't mil, it's civ. In all, there are three levels to this concept, CRC actually being the lowest tier. Some details:

First is the ARC: Active Response Corps. Small, QRF (<48hrs), 100% of force (today: 10 people, target: 250)deployable up to 1yr, of USG civil servants that includes engineers, rule of law-types (lawyers, police, judges, etc), economists, public admin, health, ports, city planners, agronomists, etc. Heavily integrated with military, but civilian. Constant training when not deployed.

Second is the SRC: Standby Reserve Corps. Larger, ~2000, only 10-25% deployable, train a few weeks out of the year. Civil servants, FSOs, etc.

Third is the CRC: Civil Response Corps. ~500 'prototype' in near future, to be much larger. Civil service and private individiuals. Modeled after military reserve system but without the legal protections (i.e. no guarantee of a job to return to). 25% deployable at any one time, up to 1yr deployment, 4yr "enlistment", Presidential decision req'd for deployment. Trained as civilian teams to work alongside the military.

12-12-2007, 05:46 AM
So MountainRunner the ARC and SRC are current government employees I get that and it makes since. Hoever, the CRC are deployable for upt to a year on demand (at any time), have no legal protections (or soldier sailor act), are being deployed likely to hostile combat zones, and they would sign up for this why?

12-12-2007, 06:06 AM
:cool: Yes, there's the rub. I wish I posted on this last week, perhaps tonight if I get the chance. Why indeed. That's the question I asked after getting my answer if the CRC members would be covered by the same laws as NG etc. CRC will be the "peace corps with clout". The idea is to tap the "adventurous spirits" that want "to change the world for the better."

BTW- DoD is prepping for their version if the CRC falls through.

Aside: AFRICOM is looked as the big opp for S/CRS, and by extension CRC. The money has finally been allocated, now they need auth to spend it. SOUTHCOM is interested in a greater CRS presence. BTW, the entire (overt) American presence in Darfur is CRS.

12-12-2007, 01:54 PM
: ...
BTW- DoD is prepping for their version if the CRC falls through.

Aside: AFRICOM is looked as the big opp for S/CRS, and by extension CRC. The money has finally been allocated, now they need auth to spend it. SOUTHCOM is interested in a greater CRS presence. BTW, the entire (overt) American presence in Darfur is CRS.

I guess I am a cynic. The only way I see this working is if DoD runs it. Even better if these teams are available to the military during planning and while units train. Best scenario in my mind is that that at least some of them are organic to certain units.

12-12-2007, 05:52 PM
There is, IMHO, no way in hell such a setup as is posited here (especially the setup posited by MountainRunner) could work -without- a USERRA equivalent.

Nobody in their right -mind- would consider joining up for such a thing -unless- they had a guarantee (with teeth) that they would be able to return to what they were doing before being called up.

This is particularly acute for any position requring specialized training - why the hell would you bother?

If you don't focus on experience, just warm bodies with training, in my mind you edge in the Peace Corps's niche. So why have the Peace Corps? (And, real-world: Why the hell would a peace corps type sign up for something that sends them into hellholes? Or did none of the staffers who wrote that part up notice that PCVs are among the first people we pull out of a country?)

And this only extends the problems of C2...Who controls these folks? What legal system are they under? Local (which may not exist)? UCMJ (Somehow, I do not see that flying if they don't get at least similar conditions as active military personnel, just a hunch)? Something entirely different?

Edit: Oh, yeah. How do they fall under the Geneva Conventions?

12-12-2007, 06:53 PM
Edit: Oh, yeah. How do they fall under the Geneva Conventions?

Now that could be very interesting, and a real problem in the event of their capture. This is not an entirely workable proposition, at least not as it is presently composed. And the political and diplomatic fallout that would follow from CRC types being captured, and that in turn being used against the US Government (and American public) might range from damaging to devastating.

Ron Humphrey
12-12-2007, 07:12 PM
Now that could be very interesting, and a real problem in the event of their capture. This is not an entirely workable proposition, at least not as it is presently composed. And the political and diplomatic fallout that would follow from CRC types being captured, and that in turn being used against the US Government (and American public) might range from damaging to devastating.

I asked several attendees at the recent COIN conf what they thought about the possibility of Reserve and NG being given the opportunity to be government employees civilian side as their fulltime jobs, thus allowing them to be deployed for mil service but also to go as civilians in the off time.

On the benefit side you would be able to maintain longer term consistency in ops awareness, and they would still be accruing time towards fed retirement.

There would be the problem of pay differential though and I guess along those lines is where we would find most the issues with something like that.

Most of those I talked to didn't think it would fly.

12-13-2007, 12:54 AM
Full-time deployable specialists wise in the ways of managing faroff states in need (whether they requested it or not) of our administration. Hmmmm. Sounds alot like we're talking about creating our own version of the British Foreign Colonial Office.

As for American civilians' reluctance to sign up for this kind of duty, I am reminded of Captain Blackadder's lament:

“I did like it [soldiering] in the old days, back when the prerequisite of a British campaign was that the enemy should under no circumstances carry guns. Even spears made us think twice.... The kind of people we liked to fight were two feet tall and armed with dried grass.... No, when I joined up, I never imagined anything as awful as this war. I had 15 years of military experience, perfecting the art of ordering a pink gin and mastering the intricacies of propositioning local women in their native tongue, and then, suddenly, a half million Germans hove into view....”

-- Captain Edmund Blackadder MC, mired in a dugout on the Belgian Front during WWI, describing his days with the 19th/45th East African Rifles, while preparing to die pointlessly in a futile “Big Push” against the entrenched Germans.

Administering the natives just isn't much fun when they are shooting back. People don't want to sign up for this kind of thing, even when promised it'll only be for a few months, at most. They just don't believe that.

Americans, at heart, just aren't interested in shipping out to some remote dangerous hellhole to teach the natives democracy, or whatever. They want to live in America. They don't want to ship out to India, Afghanistan, Malaysia, or wherever for 20 years as a civil servant. Or at least not many do in Iraq- style conditions. We are a provincial people, for better or worse.

A telling fact is how few Americans actually have a passport. We aren't much interested in even visiting other countries, let alone living out the rest of our lives there in service of the U.S. government. Those that do are attracted to work like the State Dept.

Ken White
12-13-2007, 01:13 AM
big enough and rich enough to offer a comfortable life -- and a really poor K-12 education system...

Not to mention a lack of leadership for over 100 years (and most certainly for the last 60) by our national government who could have easily fixed the latter problem.

12-13-2007, 05:50 AM
There is, IMHO, no way in hell such a setup as is posited here (especially the setup posited by MountainRunner) could work -without- a USERRA equivalent.
To clarify, it is not my suggestion [posit: to propose as an explanation] but a statement from the source.

For more from the current legislation most likely to shape the organization, S.613:

S. 613 would authorize the President to provide assistance to stabilize and rebuild a countryor region that is in, or emerging from, conflict or civil strife. The bill would establish anOffice of Reconstruction and Stabilization within the Department of State to provide civilian management of stabilization and reconstruction efforts and would authorize the appropriationof $80 million a year for personnel, education and training, equipment, and travel costs. Thebill also would authorize the creation of a new emergency fund to be used to respond to international crises and would authorize an initial appropriation of $75 million in 2008 and such sums as may be necessary each year to replenish the fund.
Section 7 would authorize the establishment of a Response Readiness Corps with an activecomponent of up to 250 members for deployment on short notice, plus a standby componentof up to 2,000 personnel. In addition, the bill would authorize a civilian reserve of at least500 nonfederal personnel to support operations if needed. The corps and reserve personnelwould receive training on stabilization and reconstruction from the Foreign Service Institute,the National Defense University, and the United States Army War College...

This is insourcing the tools of national power. They corps is made up of USG employees or NG-like (but outside Soldier-Sailor Act as mentioned before) sent under the authorization of the President "to provide assistance to stabilize and rebuild a countryor region that is in, or emerging from, conflict or civil strife." The same laws that cover USAID and DoS would presumably apply. Why wouldn't they?

12-13-2007, 11:48 AM
Mountainrunner, any update on your conversation with Herbst. I'm curious...

12-15-2007, 12:28 AM
Mountainrunner, any update on your conversation with Herbst. I'm curious...

Target is next week. Also, it will likely coincide with an event TBA. I can't say more now, it's not my event and it's not confirmed.

12-17-2007, 07:53 PM
The S/CRS and the Civilian Reserve Corps (in each of its components) makes sense from the "right person/right skills" standpoint and the "inter-agency lead" standpoint. With the State Dept slimming their positions on paper down to accurately reflect the composition of the Foreign Service, I am at a loss to the rationale behind the position described below (Sen Lugar and Sec Rice OpEd)- that the US Govt essentially "has it covered."
Understanding the difficulty of incorporating "commercial-off-the-shelf" human resources into joint and inter-agency operations abroad, 200 deployable experts seems better than zero. The challenges of recruiting, contracting (in the legal sense, not the fiscal sense), and training the Civilian Reserve seems worth it even if the worst expected outcome is some inter-agency processes for DoD and DoS at the tactical level.
We often concern ourselves with building indigenous capacity for governance throughout the spectrum of conflict (what the UN likes to call "peacebuilding" now) in foreign lands, but from here it looks much more like trying to figure out which horse to back in a race. Compromising on funding a Civilian Reserve is one thing, but disavowing a need for one altogether seems odd.

Washington Post
December 17, 2007
Pg. 21

A Civilian Partner For Our Troops
Why the U.S. Needs A Reconstruction Reserve
By Richard G. Lugar and Condoleezza Rice
"Congress has already appropriated $50 million for initial funding, and an authorization to expend these funds is required. The bill is widely supported on both sides of the aisle and could be adopted quickly.

Yet this legislation is being blocked on the faulty premise that the task can be accomplished with existing personnel and organization. In our view, that does not square with either recent experience or the judgment of our generals and commander in chief."

12-17-2007, 10:02 PM
It is my understanding that the hold on CRC funding is more incidental than specific. Senator Coburn is holding up 30-40 bills, the CRC legislation, S 613, is just one of many.

01-08-2008, 09:30 AM
1. ARC - my question is what are they going to do specifically....the specific scope of work. As we know, civilian rapid response officers within OFDA (USAID office of Foreign Disaster Assistance) DART teams conduct rapid assessments and based on these draw up program designs that are later quickly competitively awarded via grants to NGOs. The enormity of the requirements require that implementing players are the "real" boots on the ground. 250 officers globally for ARC leads one to believe that the only way they can have impact is to similarly be mandated to jump start programming via assessment/program design/contract or grant awards/manage those awardees or contractors.

What is not stated is a) do they bring money b) if they do bring money, do they (ARC rapid responders) know how to develop scopes of work / grant agreements / contracts c) if they do not bring money, are they merely coordinators of existing embassy/usaid staff - another layer? what would they "do" - I would love to hear what the ARC staff members "did" actually in Darfur that was any different from USAID staff. If it is staff augmentation, why not just beef up USAID as USAID has YEARS of experience with the Federal Aquisition Regulations and also has been granted exclusions for OTI programming (allowing for nimble and quick in kind grants to local communities, ala QIP style, etc).....State Department is woefully unaware (as they are not trained to manage programs) of these time consuming and rather arcane regulations (not brain surgery for sure but experience allows for more expeditious programming)

It floors me that USG seems to be ignoring the experienced agency it has in hand and is missing the opportunity to refine/beef it up as the mandate resides with them (since 95) currently to address stabilization and reconstruction programs (in a unit called the Office of Transitional Initiatives - OTI). Sadly, instead of building upon a reservoir of knowledge and experienced professionals, cuts and hiring freezes have led to folks leaving USAID (and OTI) in droves. There are many (tens of thousands) civilians who are willing and have gone out to manage post conflict and what is now called stabilization programs (either former USAID OTI staffers, former USAID contractors, NGOs) but the funding for USAID to beef up this rapid response capability has never been there. As we know, USAID staffing levels - approx 2000 staffers globally - is a pittance. Frankly, I see this as boiling down to State's presumption that it "knows" how to "do" development better than USAID.. but as its first crack at it - OHRA and CPA in Iraq - demonstrates - State had no idea what it took to manage these programs. Development is a bit more than just handing out school books....

2. ARC - FACTS - Field Advance Civilian Teams - these are to be deployed if there is no Embassy to "implement R&S programs" at the provincial and local level - ala PRTs. Same questions for me - a) do they bring money b) do they know how to contract funds out

3. SRC and CRC - , my biggest concern is with the glaring ignorance about what it takes to implement successful development programs. The presumption that 2-3 weeks of training a year on "conflict mitigation or other conflict related courses" would even remotely prepare someone to enter into a crisis/war zone is preposterous and insulting to those of us who have dedicated our career to international development. Having the "skill set" (ie. a city manager, attorney, etc) has no bearing on whether one can be effective in a completely different culture and certainly has no bearing on whether the individual can perform under extreme duress in a different culture. Even the PEACE CORPS has its volunteers go through a 3 month training before full field deployment in STABLE countries (technical training on tech skill set aspects tailored to culture/realities, language, cultural/social customs, practices, medical, etc etc). Peace Corps at least recognizes plucking well intentioned people overseas is dangerous if they are not well trained.

It thoroughly frightens me that there is no serious mention of the likely INCREASE in conflict that this policy would bring to bear - sending well intentioned gung ho "get 'er done" US civilians with no experience into sensitive fragile conflict zones is a clear set up for inflaming anti American sentiment. The American will be ugly despite however well intentioned they are unless they undergo SERIOUS long term training and that clearly can not happen under a mirroring of a National Reserve construct.

01-10-2008, 05:33 AM
BrownenM, good questions. Sorry for the delay in responding.

To start, remember the name of the office: Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization. The "C" is important. USAID isn't not shoved the side, but in fact does bring its years of experience to the table. But also bear in mind, as I understand you have some experience in this area, that USAID's mandate is not post-conflict (or nearly post-conflict) zones, but humanitarian aid. The mission of CRS excludes humanitarian missions.

Also bear in mind the ARC, as well as the SRC, as not CRS staffers, but other members of other agencies tasked to this role, including USAID. From the post:

The ARC would be composed of dedicated civil servants from across USG, mostly from the State Department, USAID, but also from the Justice Department, the Agricultural Department, and others.

There's a reason the top leadership of USAID is completely on board with this. (As well as USDA, Commerce, DoD...) It is likely USAID will be found doing the bulk of the heavy lifting (literally). Also, there are two deputy coordinators at CRS, one of which is detailed from USAID.

Does CRS bring money? To some extent, but again keep in mind the "C". The easiest funding is with 1207 money, or USAID, or supplementals, or ?? depending on the situation and the requirements.

Maybe thinking of CRS as a hub to channel skills from the various spokes of government would be a useful visual.

As far as OHRA or CPA being State ventures. Not quite... In fact, these are perfect examples of why a) State should do this and b) why a standing office needs to exist.

Regarding SRC, it is more like the ARC than the CRC in that it draws from existing USG personnel. The major difference between ARC and SRC is the slower call-up.

As far as the CRC, there would be an orientation training but at the start of the 'enlistment', but consider that the Peace Corps is not just preparing a person for the local culture but training them in the job they'll perform. For the CRC, these are already knowledgable professionals. Because of the nature of the deployments -- they don't know where they'll be deployed until called up by the President -- their orientation would focus on integration with military and other functional details. After they are called up they are given the mission specific training.

I hope that helps.


Ken White
01-10-2008, 06:14 AM
"...that USAID's mandate is not post-conflict (or nearly post-conflict) zones, but humanitarian aid."

Certainly didn't jibe with my recollection of what I'd seen them doing in a number of countries over the years. I knew that they'd been chopped to State a few years ago -- a bad mistake, I thought -- so I went to their web site and checked. They still have all their old missions. (LINK) (http://www.usaid.gov/about_usaid/) and I'd be willing to bet they're in the priority listed:

* economic growth, agriculture and trade;
* global health; and,
* democracy, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance.

Nation building and post conflict work are related and every one of those tasks is a fit.

That's not to say that some in the agency would rather not do that mission...:D .

01-10-2008, 02:15 PM
Thanks Matt and Ken for your posts.

First a mea culpa....totally embarrassed about my referring ORHA/CPA as State Department venture. DoD of course created both and I had many buddies in ORHA working with the extremely talented and inspirational Jay Garner. My frustration lies along what James Dobbins stated

“Rather than use the structures that had done our nation-building for the last decade, we created a completely new structure. We transferred responsibilities from State and the Agency for International Development to the Department of Defense for things the Department of Defense had never been responsible for. That imposed another very substantial burden in terms of creating a whole new bureaucracy to do things for which there already existed bureaucracies.” Katherine McIntire Peters, “Blind Ambition,” GovernmentExecutive, July 1, 2004, http://www.govexec.com/features/0704-01/0704-01s3.htm (accessed July 14, 2006).

Regarding S/CRS, thanks for clarification and reminder that civil servants from other agencies (Commerce, Justice, Ag, etc) will be called up. I just cannot shake my strong belief that prior overseas experience working in development/stabilization is critical for senior leadership positions. Maybe that can be included in call up requirements within each of these agencies or at least some kind of overseas living experience.

I agree with you that a coordination mechanism is needed - no doubt. Just wish it had more folks who had post conflict reconstruction/stabilization/development field experience. I am familiar that S/CRS has a number of USAID folks ...and hats off to them for bringing in Larry Sampler as S/CRS Deputy Coordinator (from USAID) Larry Sampler - a real coup.

On CRC, I suppose I cannot shake the idea to more fully train CRC deployees. I was a peace corps volunteer and while I was a "joe generalist" 90% of my "technical" training was cultural contextualization of basic tenets of public health. I guess I look to the decision of the HTS program to train folks for 4 months - CRC may not need 4 months but I maintain it needs more than 2 weeks.

Thanks Ken for your post on USAID mandate. Just wanted to add some more on the specific post conflict mandate of the Office of Transitional Initiatives within USAID DCHA Bureau to give an idea of the depth of the work...

Some background on OTI

Since 1994, OTI, part of USAID’s Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance, has laid the foundation for long-term development in thirty-one conflict-prone countries by promoting reconciliation, jumpstarting local economies, supporting nascent independent media, and fostering peace and democracy through innovative programming. In countries undergoing a transition from authoritarianism to democracy, violent conflict to peace, or pivotal political events, initiatives serve as catalysts for positive political change. OTI programs are short-term -- typically, two to three years in duration. OTI works closely with regional bureaus, missions and other counterparts to identify programs that complement other assistance efforts and lay a foundation for longer-term development. OTI programs often are initiated in fragile states that have not reached the stability needed to initiate longer-term development programs.

To determine where to devote its resources, OTI has developed key criteria for engagement:

Criteria 1. Is the country significant to U.S. national interests? While humanitarian aid is distributed on the basis of need alone, transition assistance is allocated with an eye to advancing U.S. foreign policy objectives and priorities. Stable, democratic countries are better able to meet the needs of their own people, are more reliable trading partners, are less likely to engage in aggression against their neighbors, and are less inclined to provide support for terrorists. In consultation with the State Department, the Defense Department and the National Security Council, and with the consent of Congress, OTI seeks to focus its resources where they will have the greatest impact on U.S diplomatic and security interests.

For example, OTI has worked in Kosovo, East Timor, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and currently is getting underway in FATA Pakistan

Thanks again Matt for your clarifications and I appreciate learning more and more as things unfold.

Best, Bronwen

01-10-2008, 03:17 PM
Are you suggesting they accidently left off "post-conflict"? Just forgot to mention a focus on transitioning societies from conflict? Also, USAID is developmental long-term, and not contigency dependent. S/CRS is a "Coordinating" office to bring the ground skills to bear.

As far as Ambassador Dobbins' comments, to start, those were made in 2006. Just in 2007, CRS underwent change (maturation?) that weren't captured, for example, in the GAO report on Stabilization and Reconstruction (http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d0839.pdf) of Nov 2007. Included in the GAO report is a joint response by State, DoD, and USAID noting the shortcomings of the report mostly in the areas of recognizing the progress made in 2007. But more importantly, going back to his comments about transference to DoD, this is about returning R&S to a civilian-led operation.

I'm not entirely sure the 'nation-building' of the last decade has proven effect. I have Ambassador Dobbins books, seen his presentation on the subject, and have exchanged email with and as late as yesterday spoke to him on the phone about CRS. His comments in 2006 were of an entity shaping up then, not today. I won't speak for the Ambassador, but I don't think the comments of 2006 reflect his view, or concerns, of CRS today.

On the 'call-up', this isn't like what the SecStatewas about to do: force 'volunteers' for duty. The agencies would pre-designate who was a member of ARC and who was a member of SRC. This would not be an allotment to be distributed at call-up. Afterall, these people are going through training (constantly in ARC or periodically with SRC).
OTI would presumably be part of the S/CRS 'toolkit', as well as Commerce's and Agriculture's foreign offices, etc.

This discussion helps me with a follow post I'm doing. So I appreciate the questions.


01-10-2008, 03:31 PM
To me, this comes down to the issue of contractors. There is clearly a perception that contractors are outsiders who are not linked into USG realities, requirements and accountability measures. It even goes beyond that and the analogy that comes to mind is getting something done around the house. As a guy, I feel like it's my responsibility and skill set. When I can't get it done or I try to do something, like the plumbing and end up with a flooded basement, I hate to call in the contractor, pay him a sh*tload of money and then still don't know how to fix it.

Bronwen has a point about the fact that there are a ton of qualified and skilled people working on contracts or working for contractors who have this skill set. These are people who often have very specialized skill sets (water sanitation, rural electrification, etc) and who also often have language and country experience. A growing number have post-conflict experience. These skills and experience have been developed over decades of doing development work in challenging circumstances. It’s not something you can pick up easily or quickly and there are no real shortcuts. Believe me, I’ve put very competent professionals into places like Iraq and seen them get overwhelmed, or at worst, melt down completely.

The problem is that the Agency contracting mechanism and culture often doesn't put them in a position to be able to integrate and fit into the planning, coordination and management structures. You have a Scope of Work, a contract, budget and have to implement a project. This works fairly well when you only have one Agency, like USAID, and it can manage coordination among contractors. However, when there are multiple Agencies and actors, the Agency is supposed to represent the contractors with other agencies and to coordinate and plan as necessary. It doesn’t work so well in this type of situation as we found out in Iraq.

In terms of providing a solution, I think that the architects of these measures should not forget the contractors and what they can offer. Perhaps a solution is to resolve the contractual, systemic and cultural issues which prevent contractors from becoming full and effective partners in the ongoing process of R&S.

In other words, if you know you're going to have a lot of plumbing problems, find a good plumber, invite him into your home, get to know him and find a way that you can work with him so that your plumbing gets fixed. If the plumber is good, it'll be worth the money. And who knows, you might find out why so many of them have crack...

Ken White
01-10-2008, 05:30 PM
do things like that 'accidentally'...

Are you suggesting they accidently left off "post-conflict"? Just forgot to mention a focus on transitioning societies from conflict? Also, USAID is developmental long-term, and not contigency dependent. S/CRS is a "Coordinating" office to bring the ground skills to bear.

Not at all. My point was that 'humanitarian aid' NOT the US Aid mandate, it is merely one of them. Yes, it is a developmental long term operation -- with the goal of aiding US Foreign Policy (conditions not applied). Aid was quite busy in Viet Nam and supplied a lot of folks to the PRTs. It has done the same elsewhere both during and post conflict. that is part of its job.

I understand what S/CRS is, just wanted to clarify that the US Aid mandate is a great deal more far reaching than was stated.

01-10-2008, 10:38 PM
These comments represent ~ONLY~ the personal opinion of the author - a long-time fan of SWJ - and do not in any way reflect the actual policy of anyone. In fact, if you ask around, most people will tell you that the author has difficulty discerning fact from fiction and policy from pizza sauce. He's not all that bright, but he's certainly happy!

Among the USG agencies that are or might be drawn into S&R missions, the capabilities and anticipated responsibilities overlap considerably. The Venn diagram would have circles with more overlap than not (and would depend on who was doing the drawing, and for which S&R mission). This won't change unless/until funding streams change. When there's serious money, for example, to support the Ministry of Health in Pineland because it's a critical-priority-country, there are going to be multiple agencies competing for the work.

The role of coordination - as highlighted by MountainRunner - is truly fundamental to the office. Think about the interagency as an orchestra, and the Coordinator as the Conductor. The conductor doesn't select the music to be performed; that's done by the Board of Directors. S/he doesn't recruit the musicians, direct what brand of trumpet or violin is to be used. S/he doesn't even get to decide who plays in a particular performance. S/he doesn’t print programmes, market the performance, or collect the money.

The conductor works from a musical score that articulates all the various elements of the piece being performed, and assures that each section contributes their part at the proper time, at the appropriate pace and volume, and makes sure that the overall performance of the orchestra truly is greater than the sum of its parts.

If, in rehearsals, the conductor feels there needs to be a stronger presence of bassoons (analogous to DDR, perhaps), then the conductor doesn't hire bassoonists; s/he merely calls for more bassoons. The Board approves (ornot) and section leads sort out who they'll be, where they'll sit, etc.

I don't mean to over-simplify S&R missions by this analogy. But it's been helpful among the interagency in assuaging fears that S/CRS is going to pull an “Al Haig” the next time a true S&R crisis rolls around.

S/CRS is only relevant when the Secretary of State – as empowered in NSPD-44 – calls upon them to take a particular role in planning and/or coordinating the whole-of-government approach to a specific S&R engagement. In the meantime, work proceeds apace on the interagency management system that would support such an engagement, and the structures (as alluded to by other posts above) to provide a robust and capable civilian corps to execute such engagements.

De Opresso Library!

01-11-2008, 08:47 AM
In terms of providing a solution, I think that the architects of these measures should not forget the contractors and what they can offer. Perhaps a solution is to resolve the contractual, systemic and cultural issues which prevent contractors from becoming full and effective partners in the ongoing process of R&S.

I could not agree more Beelzebubalicious. Given NGOs, (Interaction, or individual leading NGOs like CARE, Save the Children), think tanks (RAND, CSIS, etc), academia, traditional military contractors (Lockheed Martin, etc) are regularly included in USG supported R&S task forces or working groups on R&S process/policy....it seems logical to include the "other USG teammate" in the "chalk talk" - particularly given the co-captain "USAID implementing partner" role private sector development plays in the "boots on the ground" roll out of civilian side of stability operations - along side its other co-captains - non profit NGOs and reconstruction/engineering private firms.

01-11-2008, 02:09 PM
Isn't this arguement a ~little~ specious? I mean, if you walk into the USAID building - any office or bureau - and ask for a show of hands from anyone who's there on a contract providing internal support at USAID, you'll feel the breeze of all the hands waving at you! If anything, some at USAID feel that we're already too cozy with contractors...

I've yet to work in a theatre where contractors weren't already involved in the chaulk talks, helping shape and take then execute decisions and policy, etc. To my mind, the only two red-lines with respect to contractors are (A) Clearance issues - they have to have them for some of the discussions, and (B) "Inherently governmental work," which is a fuzzy, non-sensible phrase, but does have some merit with respect to setting policy and engaging with other governments.

I'm a big fan of Doug and IPOA and what they're doing to create recognizable standards in the operations arena. I think that will only increase the comfort-level of government with using contractors in increasingly important and fungible work.

Oddly enough, looking back at this post, I realized that while I think of my self as a government policy geek and "operator" (in the non-kinetic sense of the term), in actuality, the vast majority of my work abroad has been as ... (wait for it)... a contractor!

Cheers all,


01-11-2008, 11:29 PM
I agree things are improving all around and efforts are being made and like cockroaches, contractors are not going any where (we'll be around after the mushroom clouds subside)....but I still don't understand why S/CRS would prefer to recruit people in domestic positions who don't have significant development or post-conflict experience rather than contract this out (to those who do)? The recruiting grounds have been well trodden and while there are definitely still good people out there, it's a difficult task.

I guess I'm not yet sold on this part of S/CRS' mission or perhaps I don't really understand it.

01-12-2008, 08:23 PM
Local solutions to local problems are sustainable. Certain people can in fact act as a ‘sparkplug’ to ignite and facilitate change when it comes to reconstruction and stability work provided that they are able to work effectively both within the local system of the area of operations and within the system of their sponsor.

Whether or not the proposed DOS S/CRS system will work is an open question. My experience with reorganizations within government agencies is that they are often most effective at looking busy. USAID, Civil Affairs, the Marine CAG, and various NGO’s currently exist and have the requisite technocratic human capital however, they are often stove piped, hampered by anemic funding streams, and have leadership which has been unable to muscle its way forward and provide effective solutions on the ground in our two current hot-spots of Iraq and Afghanistan. The DOS is commendably trying to fill this void, but it appears they are not interested in integrating the existing structure into their efforts, which I think is a mistake.

A quick Internet drive-by of the recent historical record in the reconstruction and stability arena is of interest

As many of you are no doubt aware, over the long haul France did not do so well with Algeria (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algerian_War_of_Independence ) France did however, do some interesting military sponsored reconstruction and stability work with their Arabic speaking kepis blues, or Special Administration Section/Section Administrative Spécialisée—SAS. They were able to field approximately 5000 personnel in about 800 locations across Algeria. Many of the kepis blues stuck with the Hearts and Minds campaign however some of them crossed over into the darker side of things. ( http://www.country-data.com/cgi-bin/query/r-343.html and http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_administrative_sp%C3%A9cialis%C3%A9e ).

Public Private Partnerships are the business community’s solution to the reconstruction and stability arena. PPP’s allow municipalities, or even neighborhoods, to partner with private companies as a way to manage the task of providing reliable electrical, water, wastewater, and other services to areas with aging or nonexistent infrastructure and growing populations. We see this concept presently enacted on the ground in Iraq with the neighborhood programs in which entrepreneurs purchase and maintain generators in order to sell electricity to the surrounding community. I feel there are potential parallels to the CLC’s (Concerned Local Citizens) for PPP’s in Iraq in that both are bottom up processes and that both can hopefully be joined to a larger ‘quilt’ of government services at some point in the 'future'. The World Bank has some experience in this arena ( http://info.worldbank.org/etools/PPPI-Portal/2006PPPI/sessions.htm ). My experience in Iraq was that Turkish businessmen and women live and breathe many of the for-profit aspects, and the Iraqi's and Iranians are right on their heels, they just need some more security...

The reconstruction and stability/development ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Development_economics ) arena has some critics ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naomi_Klein ) theorists ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Easterly ) and practitioner/theorists (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Sachs ), who, if nothing else, make for interesting reading.

My .02 cents,


01-23-2008, 02:51 PM
Saw a recent reference to a 2007 Annual report (http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PDACK294.pdf)on Volunteers for Prosperity (http://www.volunteersforprosperity.gov), the president's USA Freedom Corps initiative launched in 2003.
VfP was established to encourage international voluntary service by highly skilled Americans supporting our Nation's agenda to promote health and prosperity around the world. They basically place volunteers in NGOs and companies in the U.S and around the world.

Some of their 2007 results (see below) are impressive and I was surprised the program was so large and that it was placing peope in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. Seems like they've figured out how to do it...

Fiscal year 2007 showed significant gains in key measures of volunteer participation:
• The pool of highly skilled American profes¬sionals available through VfP partners grew impressively from nearly 285,000 in FY 2006 to more than 355,000 in FY 2007.
• During FY 2007, VfP partners reported deploying more than 34,000 volunteers, over 60 percent more than the FY 2006 total of 21,000.
• Between FY 2006 and FY 2007, the number of volunteer opportunities reported by VfP partners rose from just over 30,000 to more than 34,000.
• The number of VfP partners for FY 2007 increasedmore than 10 percent over FY 2006, to 244.
Finally, grants to VfP partners during FY 2007 totaled $44 million, an increase of nearly 160 percent over the FY 2006 total of $17 million.

01-23-2008, 03:20 PM
By the way, I hinted at an upcoming event/action on S/CRS & CRC in an early post on this. This is apparently still in the works, but I don't know if or when it will happen. It's not my event. I just wanted to close the loop on that.

02-15-2008, 03:21 PM
New article on the CRC in the Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/14/AR2008021403433.html) today. Not much new in it, but I did find a link to the real S/CRS web site with a lot of good information on CRC, etc.

It's at: http://www.crs.state.gov/

02-15-2008, 04:24 PM
New article on the CRC in the Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/14/AR2008021403433.html) today. Not much new in it, but I did find a link to the real S/CRS web site with a lot of good information on CRC, etc.

It's at: http://www.crs.state.gov/

I had an uh oh moment when I read the following:

There's a job for you at the Civilian Response Corps, the State Department unit designed to deploy with or shortly after U.S. troops in world hot spots. The corps is designed to be a kind of international Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. officials said, an agency that would take charge of entities including local police, courts, the banking system and airports after states collapse or governments are defeated. President Bush's fiscal 2009 budget proposal allocates funds to expand what until now has been little more than a pilot project.

FEMA? Currently FEMA is run over by military law enforcement types rather than emergency managers and response types. If FEMA can't figure out the difference between fire hoses and bullets what do you think the chance an International version is going to do better?

"We must focus our energies beyond the guns and steel of the military," Gates said in a November speech. "Based on my experience serving seven presidents, as a former director of CIA and now as secretary of defense, I am here to make the case for strengthening our capacity to use 'soft power' and for better integrating it with 'hard power.' "

Unfortunately while they talk about "soft power" versus "guns and steel" they are implementing it as a form of military response.

Egads. As the NRF is moving it's way through the halls of inadequacy I'm amazed that what appeared to be a good idea is already being squished before it is born. I like the idea of a civilian response corps... Where are the civilians?

PRT interest
04-25-2008, 07:20 PM

I tagged this with the PRT discussion, but this work is evolving into an argument for a more robust PRT effort (more funding and more manpower) and supported by a Civilian Reserve Corps that is established within USAID, once USAID has been removed from the Department of State and actually given some teeth to do reconstruction / nation building in cooperation with DOD and DOS. Here's a quick run down:

I enlisted in the Army Reservists last year and have not looked back since. I am approaching my first deployment to Iraq and am aiming to finish this paper on the aspects of a Civilian Reserve Corps in support of the PRTs "underfunded and undermanned" effort within the next few weeks. I'm basing this on my observation that there are thousands of Americans (40,000 apply to the State Department every year for foreign service or civil service positions, but only 20% get picked up) who also want to do their part for their country in a non-military, non-peace corps, nation building capacity.

This is a long and ardous paper, but if anyone has any recommendations, I would greatly appreciate them!


PRT interest

PRT interest
05-13-2008, 02:11 PM
Well, for better or for worse, the paper is done. Here are the conclusions I reach:

1. H.R. 1084 and S. 613 do much in beginning the framework for a CRC; however, stronger legislation is needed to insure that C/CRS has the coordination capabilities across 18 USG agencies

2. Funding, the fact that the administration requested about $240 million (up from $7 million in '07) suggests that they're taking a hard look at this, but...

3. More funding is necessary (as always). The Congressional Budget Office and Gary Russell (C/CRS) suggest that approximately $600 million is needed, with an appropriated $75 million per year after that based off a 4,250 Readiness Response Corps (ARC, SRC, and CRC).

4. I favor a more robust, stratified CRC. The currently legislation calls for 500 within a year following the passage of the law with an eventual goal of 2,000 private sector individuals who would sign up for 4 years and deploy for at least 1. I am trying to make the argument that there is a population of Americans out there who want to serve their country in a non-military capacity in Iraq or Afghanistan to assist in nation building. Using just those who apply to DOS every year: that's between 20,000-40,000.

5. As a former intern (DOS '05, who's already been cleared), it baffles me that there is no mechanism, similar to the Peace Corps, to engage a younger demographic, train and develop them for a future life of civil service. Again, modeled on a Peace Corps contract, but in augmentation of the PRT efforts, I have found numerous college degree holdoing, 22 - 50 yr old professionals who want to get involved, but just don't know how.

6. Therefore, I advocate double the number of the CRC to 4,000 with 1,000 slots reserved for training and developing the next generation of civil servants. I estimate (still working on this) that it would cost a couple hundred million more for a grand total of: $750 - 800 million.

7. This should take the strain off DOD, DOD civilians, and give the PRTs a recruiting pool to replace the 800 folks doing a hell of a job over there with qualified/experienced professionals.

8. There are many training venues: NDU, Navy Post Graduate School, FSI, and even the MCAC (3 week Civil Affairs course for mobilized reservists at Ft. Bragg). Even though the consensus is that a 20 week CA AIT is superior to a 3 week crash course, a more robust curriculum using these 4 sites can be established over the course of 4-5 months.

9. 1 year deployment + 5 months training

10. The CRC CANNOT be a function of the DOD. Even though the DOD has significant resources, the essense (Plato throwback) of the CRC is not military. It is soft power and therefore a function of the State Department. The prejudice against the DOD from NGO's both national and international is palpable.

11. Thus, there is a niche for a fully funded CRC in DOS under the C/CRS for long term and short term policy measures.


05-13-2008, 06:26 PM
Hey PRT interest,

Interesting conclusions. Thanks.

Nothing that more money or people can't fix, eh? I'm being a bit snide, but would be interested in seeing more attention played to inter-agency coordination issues. I know they're thorny, but they're real. Policy change helps, but it's more than that.

question - what happened with the USAID angle you mentioned in a previous post? Has that been deep-sixed?

Regarding number 5, I posted earlier about volunteers for peace. I wasn't aware it was so large and I don't know anything more than I posted, but it does seem like an attempt to mirror or replace the Peace Corps.

Regarding 10, has the CRC been recently proposed to be part of the DOD? I thought that was settled awhile ago.

Ken White
05-13-2008, 07:12 PM
...It is soft power and therefore a function of the State Department. The prejudice against the DOD from NGO's both national and international is palpable.not only the NGOs... ;)

That's a serious comment by me, BTW. That really needs work -- and yes, I know DoD is a big part of any solution to that disconnect.

Also seriously; good points in your post. I'm not conversant enough with the details of the effort to make intelligent comments but the points you raise make sense to me.

05-13-2008, 08:04 PM
PRT Interest,
If possible, could you share your paper? I'm interested in your discussion on the topic having spent some digital ink in the area myself.

A couple of quick comments on your conclusions.

First, soft power isn't the exclusive domain of the State Department. Soft Power, as it was envisioned sixty years ago before the "soft power", or "public diplomacy" for matter, was coined, was the domain of USG and was outside of the State Department's control. Your comment is common and endemic but also damaging and self-limiting. The belief that it's State's role is a manifestation of the last couple of decades.

Second, you mention ARC and SRC, but your conclusions focus on CRC. CRS is, by design and necessarily, a whole of USG coordinating body that provides a hub for mobilizing and tasking experienced and very capable professionals already on the USG payroll across the USG. Was this an oversight in your summary or do you intentionally focus more on the "temp help"?

Third, requirements today an into the forseeable future means personnel system changes and USG-wide departmental support for joint activities are required. This means a Goldwater-Nichols-style change to require cross-polination if you will, to the betterment of USG not only in foreign response but arguably domestic response as well. Have you looked at that?

Fourth, despite CRS objections to the Peace Corps analogy, I understand your concept despite its connotations. I suggest, as would CRS, using a descriptive model based on the National Guard instead. Regardless, you don't mention, which may be in your paper but absent from your summary, job and other protections NG personnel enjoy but haven't been worked out for CRC. Perhaps this is why you used the Peace Corps as an example, but many more qualified individuals will have jobs and families they need to think about and require knowing they'll have a job when they return from their deployment. NG has Soldier Sailor Relief Act / Servicemembers Relief Act. Do you propose anything for CRC?

Just my $0.05 (inflation and fuel surcharge).


PRT interest
05-13-2008, 09:54 PM
Again, this is a work in progress, so thank you so much for your feedback.

For this paper, I wanted to see if there was a "niche" capacity for a private sector (non-USG employee) CRC. Apparently, the ARC and SRC are only for USG interagency employees. Having studied the "evolution" of the IC and the NSC, I can see where much more needs to be done in terms of inter-agency coordination, command and control, etc... For now, that is a management issue that I don't even want to touch. Here I am concentrating on a concrete argument on behalf of a more robust, stratified CRC.

Regarding the DOD issue: apparently the only thing that is holding up S. 613 in the Senate is one Senator put a hold on it, which is a rule of the Senate that gives Senators the ability to delay debate of the issue on the floor. From mentions posted on this thread and from conversations with staffers in some of the committees relevant to this issue, that Senator believes a CRC is a function of the DOD, namely because DOD has the resources... However, the Congressional Budget Office seems to be confident that this legislation WILL pass by the end of the fiscal year. It probably will be snuck into the Defense spending bill so it will go through, but the big concern that it will be a poorly funded attempt and will ultimately flop...

Regarding the Peace Corps analogy, many others brought up the NG idea. The issue I have with it (again, I'm 24, so think young professionals) is that my generation loves to call the shots. They'll go, but on their terms, like a Peace Corps contract (2 years). But they have to be able to be deployed like the NG, so I guess, ya you're right, this needs to be more of a hybrid approach.

Unlike the PC, which throws you out in the middle of nowhere, members of the CRC could hypothetically add to a more robust PRT effort since it is "underfunded and understaffed" (HASC report). But where do you find them?

For starters, I'd go through the old DOS and DOD interns... These folks (yep, I'm one of them) have already been cleared and have obviously expressed some interest in serving their country. It just seems odd to me that the USG has spent time recruting, screening, selecting, clearing, training, and placing interns at high levels of government and then says "thanks." Or worse yet..."dear sir or madam either you don't have a master's degree or are not a US citizen" so you can't serve in the civil or foreign service. It is absolutely frustrating, and I wonder how many people have been turned off by that approach. Just getting a rejection letter from iraqjobs.gov or usajobs.gov takes at least 6 months and there is no clear indication why you are not selected for a position so you can improve the next time around. Now I fully understand that you don't want to throw novices at a serious situation like what the PRTs are facing; however, who is going to take the place of the 800working in Iraq now? They can't be there forever and it seems like the USG is scrambling to find "suitable" candidates.

So I am hoping that the idea of a more robust, stratified CRC will win over some thinkers. Instead of just 2,000 private sector members (first responders, city managers, etc...), I'd like to double that number to provide the PRTs with flexibility. This doubled number would include 1,000 mid-senior level private sector personnel and 1,000 entry-level slots. So there would be 3,000 mid-senior level private sector experienced members and 1,000 entry level to augment the 2,000 SRC (USG employees) and 250 ARC (USG employees) for a grand total of 6,250 members in a READINESS RESPONSE CORPS, which hopefully, can augment the PROVINCIAL RECONSTRUCTION TEAMS in the future...

Gotta run, but I'll address the other comments in my next post. Please by all means chew this logic apart. Thank you again for all your feedback.

Lastly, I'll figure out a way to make the paper available through the admin or whomever.


PRT interest
05-13-2008, 10:12 PM
The common consensus was that USAID lacked the legislative and budgetary teeth to effectively deploy a CRC (right now that right belongs to the secretary of state who confers with the adminstrator of USAID, but I guess the CRC would be directly under the direction of the coordinator for reconstruction and stability).

The point here, again, is to work with what's already on the table with this subject.

The ethos behind it is that the USG HAS to look outside the USG to find the right manpower because it seems like everyone in the USG is tasked-out.

I guess the ideal CONTRACT one would sign would be a 4 year term with a 1 year deployment. So 4-5 months training and then 12 months overseas - 16-17 months active duty before returning to "Reserve" status and kept on retainer with a small monthly stipend similar to the DOD reserve system.

05-14-2008, 02:23 PM
Hi PRT interest,

I guess the ideal CONTRACT one would sign would be a 4 year term with a 1 year deployment. So 4-5 months training and then 12 months overseas - 16-17 months active duty before returning to "Reserve" status and kept on retainer with a small monthly stipend similar to the DOD reserve system.

You might want to rethink how closely you are modelling it on he HR policies of the DOD reserve system. Part of he problem has been a systemic strain on reserve units being called up, so this may cause a problem with recruitment. I would suggest you look more at the Canadian reserve system and adopt something along those lines. The key differences are:

While you can be called up, active deployment is purely voluntary.
You are paid a "wage" rate, not a retainer, and expected to "work" for X hours per month.I would suggest that some HR policies along these lines would be more likely to get top notch people interested since, after their initial tour, they won't have their careers yanked apart by unexpected deployments.

Also, since we are talking about primarily non-kinetic expertise, a large amount of that can be tapped via reach-back centres by people who do not wish to physically deploy.


05-14-2008, 03:33 PM
Why bother with building a voluntary system when Congress has the power to order a conscripted "civilian corps" into place? The Health Care Personnel Delivery System can serve as a model for expanding conscription to necessary civilian fields of expertise. People will certainly complain, of course, but that's not something that can't be solved by decent pay, a little bit of ribbon, or a medal. And heck, if they want to be political about it, the Democratic Congress can target rural townships because of the proclaimed patriotism of the right IOT to decimate the local political leadership of the Republican Party (tongue-in-cheek ;)).

PRT interest
05-14-2008, 06:59 PM
Dr. Tyrrell and American Pride,

Very good points. Apparently, the Italians and the New Zealand PRTs are "role models" according to the HASC report, and I've heard that the Candadians have a very effective mechanism for humanitarian/reconstruction/stability ops once deployed. I guess the key face that I'm basing this work on is:

-there is a "universe" (to use a campaign phrase) of Americans who want to deploy in a non-military capacity to assist the military in humanitarian, reconstuction, and stability operations, but they lack a mechanism to do so...

Now the Peace Corps brags about taking anyone 18-83 (it's on their website), and I actually went through Army BCT with a 42 year old grandmother (she was the best soldier in our company), so obviously I think a "voluntary" deployment system may work the best, but it also has to be open to a wide variety of people from entry level to senior managment (maybe not 83 years old, but I'd say 55 maybe older?).

How are the Aussies at this type of stuff? Namely, humanitarian/peace keeping missions? I've done some research in the policy behind them deploying to East Timor, but I don't really know the mechanism behind it.


PRT interest
05-14-2008, 07:09 PM
The paper will be finished hopefully soon. I am trying to make an economic argument that based on the past expeditures on COIN operations through just hard power that produces negotiable results, a better (less expensive) investment can be made on the soft power side vis-a-vis DOS, C/CRS, and a CRC...

To do so, (sigh) I'm looking at all sorts of COIN theory and trying to establish the following:

The less expensive, but more ruthless the COIN campaign (i.e. Rome and the Jews in 132 c.e.) the more effective. However, looking at the British experience in Malaysia and our recent successes in Iraq, it can be argued that tangible results are a direct product of utilizing a "joint command program" through both soft and hard power.

There is a ton written on the Brits being worried about how much the Boer War cost per week ($200 million in total according to the UK Defense Ministry, but I don't know if that's 1902 pounds or adjusted for inflation) actually in the NYT. Similarly, apparently the NYT is quoting that Iraq is costing the US $5,000 per second:


So, after all of that, I believe that there is no "inexpensive" solution to COIN strategy; however, an investment in soft power approaches catagorically does not lead to diminishing returns...

And I'm spent.