View Full Version : Iraq Reconstruction Teams Delayed at State Department

04-13-2006, 11:30 AM
13 April Washington Post - Iraq Reconstruction Teams Delayed at State Department (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/12/AR2006041201759.html).

Earlier this year, the State Department began soliciting personnel for provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs) for Iraq, a new concept designed to take diplomats out of Baghdad and into the provinces...

We urgently need talented State Department Foreign Service and Civil Service volunteers to staff sixteen new teams being formed beginning now and in early 2006," a State Department cable told employees. "The PRTs will assist Iraq's provincial governments with developing a transparent and sustained capability to govern, promoting increased security and rule of law, promoting political and economic development, and providing the provincial administration necessary to meet the basic needs of the population." The cable called for team leaders, deputy team leaders and provincial assistance officers, who it said were needed as early as January...

The rollout of the PRTs has been slowed by a debate between the Pentagon and State over whether the military or private contractors should provide security. As of April 7, job applications had been received for only 12 of 35 positions, according to the State Department's internal bid list. And, of all applicants, only one is deemed qualified based on grade level and previous expertise, according to the bid list.

04-14-2006, 05:43 AM
14 April Washington Post - Military to Protect U.S. Aid Teams in Iraq (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/13/AR2006041302073.html).

U.S. military forces will provide security for new reconstruction teams being set up in Iraq's provinces to coordinate U.S. aid, the State Department announced yesterday.

The announcement followed months of disagreement between the Pentagon and the State Department over whether to use U.S. troops or private security guards to ensure the safety of dozens of diplomats, aid workers and other civilian specialists who would staff the new outposts. State has argued that the teams warrant U.S. military protection, but the Pentagon, eager to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, had resisted committing to the new mission.

One senior State Department official involved in the interagency dispute said a general understanding was reached after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pressed concerns about relying on private guards, and after it became clear that State could get the funding and the personnel for the teams and was moving ahead with them...

A Pentagon spokesman confirmed that U.S. forces will be involved but said, "In general, the arrangements include facility and site security," omitting any mention of movement security. That appeared to leave open how team members would be protected while traveling off base...