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BCT-PRT "Unity of Effort" Reference Guide

Reference Guide 11-39
August 2011

CALL 11-39: BCT-PRT 'Unity of Effort' Reference Guide

Table of Contents


Figure 1

Who This Reference Guide Is For:

  • Brigade combat team (BCT) commanders and staffs,
  • Battalion commanders and staffs,
  • Provincial reconstruction team (PRT) commanders and staffs, and
  • U.S. government/interagency (IA) representatives serving with BCTs, battalions, and PRTs
       . . . preparing to serve in Afghanistan.


  • Brigade task force (BTF) is interchangeable with BCT in this construct/guide.
  • This guide is intended for U.S. Army BCTs, U.S. PRTs, and U.S. government representatives within those commands.
  • Certain principles in this guide may be applicable for relations with international players/PRTs.
  • A digital version of this publication is also available to view, download, or reproduce from the SOLLIMS website, Within SOLLIMS, this publication is found at


Problem: The brigade combat team (BCT) (or brigade task force [BTF]) and the provincial reconstruction team (PRT) have responsibilities for governance, security, development, and information lines of effort (LOEs) within a defined geographical area of responsibility; however, component elements of the task force do not always plan or execute together. There is a distinct challenge for the task force commander, his staff, and the subordinate PRTs and maneuver battalions/task forces to achieve true "unity of effort" amongst themselves. Contributing factors include:

  • Rotation schedules of BCTs and PRTs are not synchronized.
  • BCTs and PRTs rarely train together during predeployment.
  • PRT composition is multicomponent, multiservice, and interagency - with different cultures and operating practices.
  • Personalities/personality conflicts can be a major factor.
  • Multiple reporting channels detract from synchronization.

Purpose of this Guide: To help BCT and PRT leaders and staffs (civilian and military) establish "unity of effort" among their organizations at the very outset of operations in theater.

Intent: This is not a "how-to" manual. Rather, this guide is designed to provide BCT and PRT leaders and staffs a set of tools, approaches, and observations - gathered from recently deployed personnel - which, if properly coordinated, communicated, and planned for during BCT/PRT "Road to War" training, will help improve conditions for "unity of effort."

"Unity of Effort": The coordination and cooperation toward common objectives, even if the participants are not necessarily part of the same command or organization - the product of successful unified action." (Joint Publication 1, Doctrine for the Armed Forces of the United States)

In the case of BCTs and PRTs, "unity of effort" encompasses not only the coordination and cooperation between multiple services/organizations, but also between participants/teammates from Department of State (DOS), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Additionally, "unity of effort" may be affected by other players operating within the battle space, such as special operations forces (SOF) and National Guard agribusiness development teams (ADTs).

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