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Iraq Provincial Reconstruction Team Handbook

Handbook 11-03
December 2010

CALL Handbook 11-03: Iraq Provincial Reconstruction Team Handbook

Chapter 5 - Management Structure

This chapter will cover the management of a provincial reconstruction team (PRT) from strategic level to the operational/tactical level. It will also provide an overview of the construct of a PRT as well as delineate what positions are in each PRT within Iraq. It must be understood that the actual PRT structure will be dependent on the environment because the environment is fluid in Iraq. Personnel assigned to work on a PRT are encouraged to contact the Office of Provincial Affairs (OPA) and the team to which they will be assigned to determine structure and additional information.

Strategic Level

Guidance for PRTs emanates from the president's direction on stabilization and reconstruction on post-conflict countries. This direction receives further refinement through mechanisms within the National Security Council (NSC) and the individual departments and agencies.

At the interagency level, direction starts with the principals' committees and deputies' committees, where guidance flows to the reconstruction and stabilization interagency policy committee (IPC) of the NSC. The IPC is the day-to-day forum for interagency coordination of national policy on reconstruction and stabilization. The IPC has working groups that generally focus on various activities affecting Iraq. The primary working group for Iraq PRTs is the Iraq Policy and Operations Group (IPOG), which is chaired by the Office of the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs-Iraq (NEA-I). This working group refines direction from the IPC to an implementing form for the IPC. Once the IPC approves this more definitive guidance, the guidance is passed on to department and agencies by its various members. This guidance is also passed on to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and, in particular for PRTs, to the OPA by NEA-I.

For individual departments/agencies, secretaries/directors provide additional guidance based on presidential direction. Within each department/agency, interdepartmental committees and/or groups usually chaired by the regional or desk office for Iraq will act on this guidance and reformulate it based on departmental/agency strategies and input provided by the NSC. Normally, guidance will then flow to the department's/agency's mission chief in country from the regional or desk office for Iraq. However, guidance for the Department of Defense (DOD) flows also through U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) to U.S. Forces-Iraq (USF-I) and through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its Transatlantic Division to the Gulf Region District and Gulf Region South District (collectively referred to as GRD).

Graphic showing �


AAB: Advise and assist brigade
BCT: Brigade combat team
JCP: Joint common plan
MOA: Memorandum of agreement
MSP: Mission support plan

SFA: Status of Forces Agreement
UCP: Unified common plan
USAID: U.S. Agency for International Development
USEMB: U.S. Embassy

Figure 5-1

Operational Level

It must be noted that participating agencies maintain primary control of the capacity and programs they allocate to PRTs because of fiduciary responsibilities.

Operational guidance comes from the separate departments/agencies to elements within the PRT through their individual mission chiefs. However, the Iraq chief of mission has directed U.S. assistance be coordinated through the U.S. Embassy country team, with PRT direction emanating from the joint PRT steering group (JPSG). The JPSG serves as the interagency executive body responsible for approving or confirming policy and programmatic priorities for the provinces. It is headed by the deputy chief of mission and USF-I deputy commanding general. All department/agency mission chiefs work in concert through the JPSG in executing their departmental/agency guidance and contributions to the mission support plan (MSP).

USF-I coordinates support for PRTs through the joint common plan and the unified common plan. The JPSG executes its day-to-day operations of PRTs through the OPA.

Department of State (DOS)/Department of Defense (DOD) Memorandum of Agreement on Iraq PRTs (22 February 2007)

The chief of mission, through OPA, provides the political and economic direction of PRTs and embedded PRTs. Thus, the PRTs have the lead for political and economic development; rule of law; and capacity building at the city, district, and neighborhood levels. The PRTs also support the brigade combat teams (BCTs) on security issues.

USF-I, through the BCTs and advise and assist brigades (AABs), has the lead for security and movement issues. The BCTs also support PRT operations by providing logistics, communications, housing, and assistance in political and economic development.

Following is a discussion of the major operational players, OPA and USF-I, as well as two of their primary associates - the GRD and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Office of Provincial Affairs

The OPA is a civil-military organization established by a joint DOS and DOD initiative under the operational guidance of the JPSG. The OPA's task is to coordinate the deployment and supervise the civil-military operations of the PRT capacity-building program. The OPA director is the chairperson of the joint PRT working group (JPWG).

The JPWG is subordinate to the JPSG and provides recommended guidance, coordination, and oversight for the development of a joint strategy provincial policy and programs. The JPWG coordinates relationships to sharpen the provincial development focus; identify key relationships at the national, ministerial, and local levels; and ensure appropriate controls are in place to achieve unity of effort.

United States Forces-Iraq

USF-I is the successor military command to Multi-National Forces-Iraq (MNF-I). MNF-I was led by the United States, which was responsible for Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF, Operation New Dawn as of 1 September 2010). MNF-I replaced the previous force, Combined Joint Task Force 7, on 15 May 2004 and was later itself reorganized into USF-I on 1 January 2010.

The media in the United States generally used the term "U.S.-led coalition" to describe this force, because the vast majority of the troops were from the United States. MNF-I was significantly reinforced during the Iraq war troop surge of 2007.

As of August 2009, all non-U.S. coalition members had withdrawn from Iraq. As of September 2009, there were 11 BCTs deployed to Iraq, three of which were AABs. AABs are built around combat brigades but have received special training in host-nation security force assistance and stability operations. AABs are also augmented with some specialty competencies, and therefore normally have a higher percentage of senior noncommissioned officers and field grade officers.

By August 2010, all U.S. combat operations in Iraq ceased, and it is planned that all combat brigades will be AABs.

Gulf Region Division

The GRD is a joint team comprised of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, civilians, contractors, and Iraqis. Activated on 25 January 2004, the GRD and its three districts (north, central, and south) provided engineering expertise to coalition and U.S. forces and contract construction management services to the government of Iraq.

As part of the responsible drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraq, the GRD began its transformation by consolidating two of its three districts, the Gulf Region North and the Gulf Region Central, and established the Gulf Region District. Furthermore, on 23 October 2009, the GRD deactivated, and the two remaining districts were placed under the command of the Transatlantic Division.

GRD continues to provide full-spectrum construction management to the USF-I, U.S. Embassy-Baghdad, and the Government of Iraq. As of March 2009, GRD has completed more than 4,500 projects valued at nearly $7 billion. Currently, GRD has 340 ongoing projects valued at $1.9 billion.

U.S. Agency for International Development

USAID has been a major partner in the U.S. government's reconstruction and development efforts in Iraq. Since March 2003, USAID has invested $7.5 billion on infrastructure and programs designed to stabilize communities; foster economic and agricultural growth; and build the capacity of the national, local, and provincial governments to represent and respond to the needs of the Iraqi people.

USAID works closely with a variety of U.S. government agencies; international institutions such as the United Nations and World Bank; Iraq's national, provincial, and local governments; and a network of partners that includes nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), local community groups, and Iraqi citizens to implement a variety of development programs. USAID's efforts focus primarily on supporting the political, economic, and security conditions necessary for a stable and prosperous Iraq.

Provincial Reconstruction Team Management

To succeed, a PRT must become a truly integrated civil-military structure and not just an organization with "embedded" advisors or bifurcated organizations with two separate components (military and civilian) that operate separately from one another. A PRT is a civilian-military partnership. Each PRT should seek to achieve unity of effort. Without unity of effort, a PRT will be unable to harmonize the diplomatic, economic, and military lines of operation and will fail to achieve its mission.

PRT structure

As a result of many discussions and agreements, Iraq PRTs have a structured makeup (see Figure 5-2) under a chief of mission-appointed team leader. These agreements also not only achieve a unity of effort but also a unity of command that allows for single direction for PRT operations. The structure of a PRT is a composite of military and civilian elements and is based on unity of effort, clear coordination, and good communications. Decisions on the size and nature of each PRT are determined based on the factors within the province, such as the security situation; the status of reconstruction and development; the effectiveness of governance institutions; and the presence of other intergovernmental organizations and NGOs.

Graphic showing notional PRT structure
Figure 5-2

Roles and responsibilities

Though the actual numbers of people assigned and the positions filled may change from PRT to PRT, the responsibilities should remain the same as delineated below:

  • Team leader:
    • Responsible for implementing the DOS-led joint coalition PRT initiative at the provincial level of government; responsible for a multiagency, multidisciplinary team comprised of military, civilian, and locally employed staff.
    • Senior U.S. civilian representative in the province. He is usually, but not always, a senior foreign service officer with leadership experience in a foreign government environment.
    • Assigned by the chief of mission to provide assistance when required and answer questions that may arise from the president through the chief of mission or the Iraqi government.
  • Deputy team leader:
    • Senior military leader on the PRT. This officer is a lieutenant colonel from the civil affairs branch or otherwise qualified by education or experience in a discipline that is helpful to the PRT mission. Examples of this experience or education could include language and Iraqi cultural training or an advanced degree in engineering, public administration, or law.
    • May be a Reserve Component officer who has civilian-acquired skills such as experience in local and state governments, federal agencies, or business or commercial markets.
    • Ensures the synchronization and synergy with supporting military organizations such as BCTs or AABs.
    • Responsible for assisting the team leader in implementing the DOS's PRT initiative at the provincial level of government. The deputy team leader is the team leader's chief of staff and directs the coordination of the multiagency, multidisciplinary team.
    • When acting as the chief of staff, manages and plans the day-to-day operations and coordinates the scheduling of internal and external events. The deputy team leader is the senior military representative for the USF-I commander and the approving authority for the security of PRT movement and off-site operations.
  • Iraqi provincial action officer (IPAO):
    • Responsible for reporting on the provincial atmospherics, including political reporting on the progress toward self-reliance and governance capacity. The IPAO may also report on public affairs.
    • In consultation with the team leader, interfaces with local officials and private citizens in support of the PRT public diplomacy work plan to advocate U.S. and chief of mission policy and collect political information through engagement and observation. The IPAO is responsible for crafting weekly executive summaries and analyzing Iraqi political events and for routine political and economic reporting.
  • Public diplomacy officer: The public diplomacy officer broadens understanding of American values and policies. The public diplomacy officer explains the breadth of American foreign policies to ensure that U.S. positions are understood and misrepresentations are corrected. The public diplomacy officer also performs the following:
    • Communicates with and through a variety of media to promote U.S. interests overseas.
    • Manages cultural and information programs.
    • Explains to foreign audiences how American history, values, and traditions shape U.S. foreign policy.
  • USAID officer: The USAID officer is the senior development adviser to the PRT who provides expert analysis and technical advice. He also performs the following functions:
    • Serves as the activity manager for all USAID activities in the province.
    • Serves as a point of contact for all requests related to USAID programs from the PRT, U.S. government, donor community, and provincial and local officials.
    • Coordinates USAID programs and efforts with the PRT and provincial leaders; synchronizes the Local Governance Program (LGP) through the development of the PRT work plan.
    • Monitors and reports on USAID programs, and implements partner's performance against established work plans.
    • Trains and coaches members of the PRT on the principles and important points of the LGP; explains the USAID and LGP to the provincial leaders to gain support for training provincial leadership and local government employees.
  • Security:
    • For the majority of PRTs, security is provided by the nearest USF-I brigade. This support consists of military units trained and equipped for security missions.
    • For PRTs that do not have USF-I support, a specially trained and equipped protective team (protective security detachment or personal security detail [PSD]) of private security contractors is assigned to provide the personal security of PRT members.
      • PSD team or section leaders assist in convoy security, route and site reconnaissance, and site security.
      • PSDs may also coordinate with and augment the security detail for visiting officials and dignitaries.
  • Civil affairs liaison team (CLT):
    • Provides expertise in specific functional tasks such as planning, coordination, and project management.
    • Provides technical expertise in warfare, training, and engineering.
    • Augments the PRT specialists with both military- and civilian-acquired skills.
    • Provides military and security information (within classification limitations) and assessments of the operational area.
  • Military support element (MSE): Provides planning, administrative, organizational, and logistics resource capabilities.
  • Bilingual bicultural adviser (BBA):
    • The BBA program provides professional-level advisers who are expatriate Iraqis with U.S. or coalition citizenship and who can help bridge the gap of understanding between U.S. government agencies and their Iraqi counterparts. BBAs possess bachelor's degrees (or equivalent) or higher and speak fluent English, Arabic, and sometimes Kurdish.
    • The BBA's field of expertise may include economic development or commerce; rule of law; criminal justice; civil justice; agriculture; economics; public administration; medicine, and media journalism.
    • BBAs function as a key interface between PRT members and provincial-level government officials and should be integrated into the PRTs in areas where their backgrounds and education will be of most use.
    • BBAs can provide valuable analysis, insight, and recommendations of Iraqi political and socio-economic issues and culture.
  • Engineer officer:
    • Trains, coaches, and mentors his Iraqi engineer/ reconstruction counterparts on all aspects of project and reconstruction development and management.
    • Ensures the Provincial Reconstruction Development Council is capable of performing engineering assessments, designing scopes of work, conducting quality assurance and quality control, accomplishing construction processes, and managing projects.
    • Advises the team leader and deputy team leader on the daily situation and changes to reconstruction efforts and activities in the province.
  • Specialists: Development specialists have a comparative advantage in understanding governance, economic, health, rule of law, and agriculture aspects of instability and insecurity. The development officer has a comparative advantage in the planning, design, and implementation of capacity building and developmental activities in support of politically derived objectives (regardless of funding source). Development specialists are chosen by PRT leaders based on the needs of the province and may include the following personnel:
    • City management specialist:
      • Mentors Iraqi counterparts in the supervision of day-to-day operations of all city departments and staff, directly and through department heads.
      • Has oversight of all hiring and firing actions, discipline, and suspensions.
      • Prepares, monitors, and executes the city budget, which includes submitting each year to the council a proposed budget package with options and recommendations for its consideration and possible approval.
      • Acts as main technical adviser to the council on overall governmental operations.
      • Conducts public relations, such as meeting with citizens, citizen groups, businesses, and other stakeholders (the presence of a mayor may alter this function somewhat).
      • Operates the city with a professional understanding of how all city functions operate together to their best effect.
      • Attends all council meetings, but does not have any voting rights.
      • Performs additional duties that may be assigned by the council.
      • Responsibilities may vary depending upon charter provisions and other local or state laws, rules, and regulations.
    • Industrial specialist:
      • Advises the provincial government on issues affecting major industries to help increase production and resolve barriers to distribution, including security and accountability.
      • Helps develop, monitor, evaluate, and report on the local capacity of major industries, and suggests strategies and appropriate new technologies to develop local industries in the province.
      • Advises the provincial government on capital projects and infrastructure investment and maintenance.
      • Prepares and submits appropriate documents such as analytical reports, briefing materials, decision memoranda, correspondence, and others related to the specific areas of assignment.
      • Advises the provincial council and its industry-related entities on current national-level plans, policies, and priorities.
      • Provides mentoring to counterpart Iraqi officials to build capacity in project identification and assessment, prioritization, development, execution, monitoring, and evaluation.
    • Governance specialist:
      • Assists in the development of sub-national governments that are self-sufficient; transparent; accountable; and capable of identifying, prioritizing, and servicing the needs of their citizens.
      • Responsible for election support, training for "get out the vote" initiatives, and election monitoring.
      • Facilitates capacity development training to operate, maintain, and manage public works infrastructure (e.g., water, power, and heavy construction).
      • Mentors officials in procedures, planning, and public relations.
      • Promotes legislative oversight mechanisms, supports media training, and facilitates public and media access to local government.
    • Banking and finance adviser:
      • Serves as a senior banking and finance adviser, with responsibility for providing a broad range of expert technical and advisory services in support of the U.S. mission in Iraq.
      • Supported by an OPA economic officer, who serves as the main point of contact and liaison with other embassy offices and agencies.
      • Key member of the PRT, working actively with the PRT leader and representatives of various U.S. government agencies and the military, as well as aid organizations and the Iraqi government, to build Iraqi capacity and self-reliance.
    • Budget specialist:
      • Provides technical assistance in provincial government budget planning, development, and execution.
      • Trains Iraqi counterparts on the advantages of the Governorates Accounting and Project Tracking Information System.
    • Economic development officer:
      • Serves as the technical lead for economic development; focuses on new programs such as the stabilization strategy.
      • Position may be filled with a specialist from any of several civilian U.S. government agencies.
    • Public health adviser: Health has been identified as a crucial area of need in Iraq. The public health adviser may be a Department of Health and Human Service specialist, university professor on leave, or have other public health experiences and an extensive background in program development and project management.
    • Rule of law coordinator:
      • Responsible for coordinating rule of law initiatives at the provincial level, focusing on public law enforcement; a fair civil and criminal judicial system; citizens' equal access to the Iraqi justice system and legal representation; and a humane corrections system, as well as a range of issues that will assist Iraq in transitioning into an effective rule of law society.
      • Helps to develop both civil and criminal law and assist police, judicial, and detention institutions by coordinating with Iraqi governmental structures. Provides support to the civic sector, such as law faculties, lawyer associations, and other rights-based institutions, both government and nongovernment.
    • Agriculture specialist: Agriculture consistently has been identified as a key growth area in the provinces. The agriculture specialist may be a Department of Agriculture specialist. The agriculture specialist's function is to enhance the PRT's ability to work with local governments to develop policies and programs that will support this vital economic sector.
  • Host government representatives:
    • Some PRTs may have host government representatives. The existence of the PRTs is predicated to a large extent on the premise that local government lacks capacity at the institutional and individual levels.
    • The host government representative may not have the capacity to do more than assist the PRT in better understanding the environment, including friendly and enemy forces, and provide advice on how to engage and build local structures and capacity.
  • Local support staff:
    • Each PRT has some mix of local support staff who have the responsibility of assisting in running the PRT in areas from labor to translation to representation.
    • The roles and responsibilities of other civilian U.S. and international civilians (such as contractors) are dependent on the mission of their agency or program and the authorities negotiated with the PRT program or agencies involved.

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