Section I: Stability6
Stability in the simple sense of the word means “firmly established.”7 The provincial reconstruction team (PRT) mission is narrowly focused to help firmly establish government and governance in a conflict or post-conflict environment. In other words, PRTs exist to help the host nation’s government gain a monopoly over the legitimate use of force and extend its authority and reach throughout the country.
One of the principal roles of the state is to monopolize the use of legitimate force, because if a monopoly does not exist, the structure of law and order breaks down into smaller units resulting in anarchy or decades of fighting between various factions in society including tribes; ethnic, ideological or political identity groups; warlords; and criminal elements. The state must have a monopoly over the legitimate use of force and other basic state functions: armed forces, policing, judiciary, taxation, public infrastructure, and social services.
Helping the host nation’s government gain control over the use of force is only half of the PRT mission. The other half involves increasing the legitimacy and effectiveness of the government within its constituency. While a government may have de jure legitimacy through international recognition or by winning an election, de facto legitimacy is a much more important indicator of stability. “De facto” legitimacy implies a social contract between government and the people, where the former undertakes to provide services (welfare, security, protection of human rights, equitable opportunities, and access to resources) for the common good in return for the people’s support, including recognition that the state has the monopoly on the legitimate use of force.
When a government fails to live up to its part of the social contract, people may withdraw their consent to be governed and turn to alternate sources of power. While this may, under certain circumstances, be completely understandable—for example, in a dictatorship—it will inevitably cause a degree of instability. This instability can then be used to promote the interests of other groups whose agendas are motivated more by political, economic, or ideological gain rather than by the welfare of the people.
The root causes of violent conflict can often be traced to a combination of poverty, political exclusion, and the inequitable distribution of resources, which all add up to human insecurity. It is through tackling these structural roots that violent conflicts can be mitigated and future outbreaks prevented.
Looking at instability created by violent conflict in structural terms allows a more nuanced understanding of what stability is. Preventing the outbreak of violent conflict requires not just an operational engagement with disarmament, demobilization, peace keeping, aid, and political conditionality, it also requires immediate work on poverty, exclusion, and inequity. Without attention to physical, economic, and political security, the root causes of violent conflict remain unaddressed, and the risk of escalation will remain.
Although stability may involve aspects of development, it is not development. Stability is carefully designed to enable the environment for development to take place by working on security and conflict. Working on socioeconomic development alone, without attending to physical insecurity, exclusion, and inequity will limit the opportunities to bring about long-term development. Thus, stabilization is a necessary precursor to sustainable development.
The Stability Matrix
Because the goal of the PRT is to achieve stability, the team must create an environment where an authority is both legitimate and effective in the use of force. The PRT works with all available stakeholders and resources to bring stability to a population by enabling the legitimacy and effectiveness of governance and government institutions.
The stability matrix strategic framework (see Figure A-1) presented below represents one framework currently available to PRTs to guide their activities and efforts. The stability matrix framework has the benefits of linking mission, strategy, targeting, activity, design, and implementation; measuring impact; and evaluating success. The stability matrix graphically illustrates stability by plotting its two primary components of legitimacy and effectiveness on perpendicular axes. The resulting four quadrants are then classified broadly as exhibiting the characteristics of low stability, medium stability, or high stability.
Explanation of quadrants
The most stable state (upper right quadrant) is the result of the effectiveness and legitimacy of the governing authority. The authority has effective security forces, and the population supports the authority against competing political entities. This state is one that is resistant to criminal activity because the state can eject these spoilers. This state is also resistant to political and ideological agitators because the population will not offer such spoilers safe haven but will identify them to the authorities. This state represents enduring stability and is the appropriate mission of the interagency strategy represented by the PRT.
The lower right quadrant represents a population that supports ineffective government authorities. Therefore, ideological or politically motivated spoilers find little purchase among the people; however, criminal and other violent activity frequently occur due to the lack of government control. Clearly, what must be done in these areas is to grow the effectiveness of the government.
The upper left quadrant represents an authoritarian model of stability. The government is able to deliver services and monopolize the use of force, but it does not have the consent of the people to govern. Criminal activity tends to be low in this area, but political or ideological spoilers have significant influence and must be engaged to bring about stability.
The most worrisome state is the one described in the lower left quadrant. This is a state where the government is ineffective and unsupported by the population, and criminal elements can run rampant. Ideological and political spoilers may be able to gain support from the population to wage an insurgency against the government. In such communities the difficult task of growing both the legitimacy and effectiveness of the government must be accomplished.
Four Lines of Operation
The matrix is designed to inform the PRT’s leadership about what effects (i.e., legitimacy or effectiveness) need to be achieved in the area of responsibility. These effects, in turn, will determine the capabilities required to achieve success. The matrix prescribes four lines of operations that hold true regardless of the community being engaged or the effects desired:
In military parlance, increasing the effectiveness and legitimacy of state authorities (i.e., lines of operation 1 and 3) can be considered the friendly line of operations. Similarly, countering the effectiveness and legitimacy of non-state (or counter-state) authorities (i.e., lines of operation 2 and 4) represents intercepting the enemy’s lines of operations.
The enemy can be placed in three general categories based on their motivation: economic, political, and ideological. To better understand them and derive a useful definition of the enemy’s center of gravity (CoG) and critical vulnerability (CV), the paragraphs below discuss each group’s motivations. For the sake of this discussion, the CoG for each group is defined as “the sources of strength, power, and resistance,” while CV is defined as “that which is vulnerable and will achieve results disproportionate to the effort applied.”
Economic spoilers8 are individuals and organizations that benefit economically from the lack of government control. For example, insurgents and other troublemakers are fighting to repel government rule that would result in a removal of their access to lucrative natural resources. Economically motivated spoilers generally acquire access to a resource and then exploit these resources to fund a patronage network. This patronage network is the economic spoiler’s CoG.
Occasionally this patronage network may benefit a single sub-national identity group. This situation presents a problem. If friendly forces attack such a group, their actions might be interpreted as declaring war against the group because of their identity. This action may then motivate the group to defend itself much more vigorously than they would have if they were only motivated by economic gain. Therefore, when seeking to decrease the effectiveness and legitimacy of such a group, friendly forces should target the group’s access to economic resources as the enemy’s critical vulnerability. To avoid being perceived as attacking the sub-national identity group that might coincidentally be associated with the spoilers, friendly forces should avoid attacking coherent population groups.
Political spoilers are often led by a cadre that is motivated by the quest for political power. For example, an insurgent may state that he wants to rule. He seeks economic support by exploiting resources and accepting funding from outside the country to create a patronage network. He further fuels this patronage network by granting leadership roles in his organization and promising future leadership roles once he takes power. The insurgent and his organization seek to destabilize the region in the hope of creating an opportunity for them to take political power. The CoG of the political spoiler is the leadership, and the promise of authority in a future state binds his organization together. Such organizations are vulnerable to promises of power in the current state, as well as the elimination of the charismatic leader.
The final and most dangerous enemy is one motivated by ideology. For example, the Taliban in Afghanistan are motivated by the ideology of a conservative Islamic theocracy. Its support derives not from the promise of political power or economic gain, but rather from a common “hatred of apostasy” (i.e., its CoG).9 The core supporters of this organization seek to defend their identity as strict Muslims against the perception of a threat to this identity by the outside world. Fortunately for friendly forces, the Taliban are not like Maoists of Nepal articulating a promised utopian future. The people of Afghanistan have already seen the dismal state the Taliban wish to restore, and this vision of a counter state is not appealing to most people.
Far too often the enemy is defined by the military as hostile individuals who must all be hunted down and killed or captured. This enemy is often considered to be monolithic as intimated by the common use of the term opposing military forces. These terms are doubly troublesome as they focus efforts on the enemy of the coalition and not the enemy of the process, the people, or the government.
Mao Tse-tung stated that “the guerrilla must move amongst the people as a fish swims in the sea.” Therefore, one goal of a counterinsurgency effort is to separate the fish from the sea—to alienate the spoilers from the population. This is perfectly aligned with the stability matrix concepts of legitimizing the government at the expense of the spoilers. According to both doctrines, the higher goal of military and civil action is to win over the population, while killing the insurgents is a supporting or shaping effort. In other words, hostile individuals do not create hostile populations, rather, hostile populations will continue to create hostile leaders until the source of the hostility is alleviated.
If a decision maker fails to understand the nuances of the enemy’s motivations, organization, goals, strategy, and means, the actions taken are at best ineffective, and at worst, counterproductive.
Increase Effectiveness and Legitimacy of Constituted Government
Increasing the effectiveness of legitimate authorities in a nation really comes down to the most basic and core function of government as stated above—monopolizing the use of force. For this reason, this line of operation should focus on enabling the state institutions that use force, such as the national army, police, and border police. Most of these programs have large national sponsors supporting institutional reform and mass training. The PRT should survey these many activities and evaluate their ability to translate into effective government security sector actors on the ground. The PRT should then seek to develop programs and interventions that complement these larger national programs.
In the modern era of nation states, the old sources of de jure and de facto legitimacy, such as divine right of rule, are no longer relevant. Holding elections, no matter how free or how many people participate, does not necessarily make a government legitimate. Legitimacy is gained and maintained when a government, at a minimum, represents the consensus of the people; operates under the tenets of rule of law; offers acceptable means for competition among various interest groups and potential leaders; provides inclusion for sub-national identity groups and civil society groups; and provides good governance, such as providing transparency of processes.
In the rural, unstable areas of a nation, the representatives of the central government are nearly nonexistent, and the people of these areas have a low opinion of the legitimacy of the government. It is in these areas that sub-national identity is particularly strong. Some have argued that the government could easily co-opt the traditional authority structures to enhance its own legitimacy. The road map for such integration already exists. For example, mechanisms exist by which the traditional local justice system, like the shura system in Afghanistan, is integrated into district and provincial justice systems. Furthermore, many states in the Western world have some degree of federalism, decentralization, or delegation of authority. In such states, the use of provincial or district governance institutions (be they traditionally based or based on the Western model) do not subtract from the legitimacy of the central state.
PRTs exist to help the host nation’s government gain a monopoly over the use of force through an increase of legitimacy and effectiveness. The PRT must utilize each component of national power—diplomatic, economic, and military—to achieve this goal with an understanding that the human terrain dictates which element has the lead in any given intervention. Every activity the PRT undertakes must be in support of stability. The PRT mission is complete when sustainable stability is achieved. At that time, the PRT can then be dismantled.
Reconstruction promotes reconciliation, strengthens and rebuilds civil infrastructures and institutions, builds confidence, and supports economic revitalization to prevent a return to conflict. Some instability will exist concurrently with the reconstruction. The major responsibility for reconstruction resides ultimately with the host nation, assisted by international civilian agencies and organizations, but the combat force has a supporting and essential role. Because the combat force and civilian efforts are inextricably linked, harmony and synchronization are imperative. Reconstruction usually begins during combat operations and continues after they are concluded.
Reconstruction consists of actions that support political, economic, social, and security aspects of society. Although the major responsibility for reconstruction is with civilian agencies and organizations, early in combat operations, when critical and immediate tasks normally carried out by civilian organizations temporarily exceed their capabilities, the combat force may perform those tasks or cooperate to ensure that these tasks are accomplished. In these situations, the combat force provides immediate relief and helps to create a sustainable infrastructure. This “temporary” assumption of military responsibility for civilian tasks could range from a matter of weeks to years in an environment of ongoing security concerns.
Reconstruction consists of the five mission sectors shown in Figure A-3 and discussed below. It is imperative that the appropriate national and intergovernmental agencies conduct a thorough mission analysis for each of these sectors and understand the impact of each sector on the others.
Fundamentals of Reconstruction
Civil-military harmonization is paramount during reconstruction. Civil-military harmonization includes those civil-military operations (CMO) that promote the coordination, integration, and synchronization of civil and military efforts and actions to build the peace. These efforts and actions must occur across the various institutions and agencies at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels. The following are key considerations for those involved in reconstruction:
The combat force focuses on supporting civilian agencies, organizations, and the host nation to assume full authority for implementing the civil portion of the peace process, while being prepared to conduct such tasks themselves in the absence of civilian agencies.
Many partners from the international community, such as intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), though not official implementers of national policy, may contribute to achieving the reconstruction objectives. The role of indigenous leaders and organizations must be considered. Appropriately harmonizing local institutions with international and military efforts is a challenging and essential task.
The ultimate measures of success in reconstruction are social, economic, and political—not military. Therefore, the combat force commander continually seeks a clear understanding of the political objectives and strives to support their attainment.
Reconstruction Mission Sectors
This sector consists of actions taken to ensure a safe and secure environment, develop legitimate and stable security institutions, and consolidate indigenous capacity. These actions should be complementary and concurrent with other agencies’ actions that include providing public order and safety; protecting individuals, infrastructure, and institutions; coordinating compliance through host nation mechanisms, such as civil military commissions; and cooperating with supportive public information programs. The goal of the combat force is to create the conditions for other political, economic, and humanitarian reconstruction activities to achieve the political objectives stated in the mandate and to transition from military to local civil control.
Humanitarian assistance and social well-being
This sector includes programs conducted to relieve or reduce the results of natural or manmade disasters or other endemic conditions such as human suffering, disease, or privation that might represent a serious threat to life or that can result in great damage to or loss of property. The goal of this mission sector is to provide for emergency humanitarian needs and establish a foundation for long-term development. The assistance provided is designed to supplement or complement the efforts of the host nation civil authorities and various IGOs and NGOs that may have the primary responsibility for providing humanitarian assistance. The need to establish a secure environment, ensure the survival of the population, and maintain a minimum level of economic activity in a region may require that military units participate in public service tasks during the emergency phase of the operation until such time as the NGOs, IGOs, and host nation capacity is established.
Justice and reconciliation
This section’s concerns are establishing public order and safety and providing for social reconciliation. The objective is to help the country establish a self-sustaining public law and order system that operates in accordance with internationally recognized standards and respects internationally recognized human rights and freedoms. This self-sustaining public law and order system must exist inside a safe and secure environment, which initially might have to be provided by the combat force. Civilian organizations have the primary responsibility to work with the host nation to train, advise, and support their efforts to establish a viable rule of law system and facilitate social recovery. The rule of law consists of three related fields: police, judicial, and penal.
Applicable law. Agreement among the parties as to the applicable law is a key step in establishing rule of law. Organizations (multinational, interagency, or IGO) must review and assist in the development of a penal code to ensure its conformity with appropriate minimum international standards. There may be a period of time where the applicable law is in flux, and commanders and administrators at all levels must remain flexible.
Reconciliation. The process of seeking justice through legal procedures may be more important in building respect for the rule of law than the meting out of summary justice. The tasks of promoting justice, psychological relief, and reconciliation are challenging and time-consuming, but the end goal of achieving reconciliation will lead to a sustainable peace. Areas of consideration include:
Governance and participation
The establishment of governance and a workable administration leading to a civil society is the responsibility of the host nation. However, the combat force must be prepared, in the short run, to establish a military government, if warranted, or to provide short-term support to an established host nation government or interim government sponsored by the UN or other IGO. The main goal for the military is to create an environment conducive to stable governance. Civil agencies will reestablish the administrative framework, support national constituting processes, support political reform, and establish/reestablish civil society.
Economic stabilization and infrastructure mission
Civilian agencies have the lead responsibility for this mission sector, but the combat force may render support during the emergency phase of infrastructure restoration. Infrastructure restoration consists of reconstituting power, transportation, communications, health and sanitation, fire fighting, education systems, mortuary services, and environmental control. This mission sector includes restoring the functions of economic production and distribution. Though the host nation has primary responsibility, it is incumbent upon outside reconstruction actors (both military and civilian), especially early in stability operations, to:
Public diplomacy and information operations
This critical mission cuts across all five of the previously outlined mission sectors. Public diplomacy actions are civilian agency efforts to promote an understanding of the reconstruction efforts, rule of law, and civic responsibility through information and international public diplomacy operations. Its objective is to promote and sustain consent for reconstruction both within the host nation and externally in the region and in the larger international community. Civilian agencies conduct educational and cultural exchanges, information activities, and local training and education of indigenous media, as well as assist in developing the local information infrastructure.
Command and control
In reconstruction, civilian organizations have the responsibility and the lead. Therefore, command and control or rather the harmonization among the various civil entities and the military must be clearly understood and coordinated. To achieve a holistic approach to reconstruction requires communications and understanding among the various centers, commissions, staffs, augmentations, field offices, and agencies. Complicating these efforts are varying national perspectives regarding the mandate and the resulting mission interpretation. Whereas the U.S. could interpret the mission in terms of force protection, liaison, and limited direct support, another country could view the same mandate in terms of strict neutrality and mediation or one of observation, interposition, and transition assistance.
Additionally, there will be various interpretations of the operational environment among the military, civilian agencies, host nation, NGOs, IGOs, and others. All agencies must understand all of these positions and maintain lines of communication to resolve issues as they arise. There should be a synchronization process. Lines of coordination should be determined based on the reconstruction mission sectors described above. Objectives and desired/undesired effects should be determined for each line of coordination and linked to overall diplomatic, information, military, and economic considerations.
End state conditions and the criteria for success
The U.S. or internationally agreed upon end state for conflict transformation in the country may be general or broad in nature and may stretch well beyond the reconstruction period. Furthermore, much of what goes on under the name of reconstruction includes aspects of development. Reconstruction and longer-term development are a continuum. These realities make it difficult to determine when reconstruction ends and longer-term development begins. Therefore, a requirement exists to determine the end state conditions and criteria for success in a reconstruction operation or effort. These criteria describe the relevant and measurable standards against which attainment of the end state conditions can be determined. The criteria should be developed through a collaborative planning process with both military and civilian agencies. The criteria should relate to the agreed-upon end state for conflict transformation in the country, as well as the reconstruction efforts themselves and should take into consideration the local and cultural realities of the host nation.
Transition to civil authority. The relationships established in the initial stages of the combat operation coupled with accurate assessments of progress achieved in civil-military implementation are crucial to effecting a smooth transition to civil authority. Collaborative planning should be done as early as possible to include the U.S.; multinational partners; IGOs; the host nation, if possible; and NGOs, as appropriate. The transition plan should rest on a complete understanding of the capabilities, responsibilities, and resources of all participants. The result should be an agreed-upon glide path, including measures of effectiveness and resources, which results in decreasing military involvement and increasing civil involvement. Transitions can occur at different times and in different parts of the host nation.
The following extract is from Department of Defense (DOD) Financial Management Regulation, Volume 12, Chapter 27, September 2005.
Purpose and Applicability
The DOD Financial Management Regulation implements the Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005, Public Law 108-375, section 1201, by assigning responsibilities for administering the Commanders’ Emergency Response Program (CERP); defining the purposes for which U.S. appropriations or other funds provided for the CERP may be expended; and specifying the procedures for executing, managing, recording, and reporting such expenditures.
This guidance applies to all organizational entities within DOD. A requirement to comply with this guidance shall be incorporated into contracts, as appropriate. It covers the execution, management, recording, and reporting of expenditures of U.S. appropriations and other funds made available for the CERP.
The CERP is designed to enable local commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan to respond to urgent humanitarian relief and reconstruction requirements within their areas of responsibility by carrying out programs that will immediately assist the indigenous population. The CERP may be used to assist the Iraqi and Afghan people in the following representative areas:
Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) (USD(C)). The USD(C) shall establish and supervise the execution of principles, policies, and procedures to be followed in connection with the CERP and ensure that congressional oversight committees are timely informed of CERP activities through the quarterly reports required under subsection (b) of the Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005, Public Law 108-375, section 1201.
Secretary of the Army. Pursuant to DoD Directive 5101.1, “DoD Executive Agents,” dated September 23, 2002, the Secretary of the Army shall serve as executive agent for the CERP and in that capacity shall promulgate detailed procedures as necessary to ensure that unit commanders carry out the CERP in a manner consistent with applicable laws, regulations, and this guidance. These procedures shall include rules for expending CERP funds through contracts and grants in accordance with paragraph 270308 below.
Commander, U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM). The Commander, USCENTCOM shall determine the appropriate allocation of CERP funds between commands and advocate for appropriate resources and authorities in support of the theater’s military global war on terrorism mission.
Proper usage of funds. Appropriated funds made available for the CERP shall not be used for the following purposes:
Amount. The CERP is intended for small-scale, urgent, humanitarian relief and reconstruction projects for the benefit of the Iraqi and Afghan people. Army shall separately notify USD(C) and CENTCOM J8 of all individual CERP projects of $500,000 or greater during the normal monthly reporting process. Such separate notification shall include a description of the project, an estimated length of completion, and a justification of how the project supports the purpose of the CERP.
Commingling of funds. Consistent with Volume 5, Chapter 2, “Disbursing Officers, Officers and Agents,” of this Regulation, U.S. appropriations made available for the CERP shall not be commingled with nonappropriated funds and shall be separately executed, managed, recorded, and reported.
Allocation of funds. The USD(C) shall ensure that DOD appropriations and other funds available for the CERP are properly allocated to Army for funds control and execution. Commander, USCENTCOM will notify Army of the appropriate intertheater allocation.
Delivery, transporting, and safeguarding of funds. Any funds made available for the CERP shall be delivered, transported, and safeguarded consistent with Volume 5, Chapter 3, “Keeping and Safeguarding Public Funds.”
Appointment of paying agents. Paying agents responsible for making disbursements of funds under the CERP shall be appointed consistent with Volume 5, Chapter 2, of this regulation.
Documentation of payments. Payments under the CERP shall be made and documented consistent with Volume 5, Chapter 11, “Disbursements,” and Volume 10, Chapter 9, “Supporting Documents to Payment Vouchers,” of this regulation.
Contracts and grants. U.S. appropriations and other funds made available for the CERP may be expended through contracts and grants that are prepared and executed in accordance with regulations designed to ensure transparency, fairness, and accountability. To the maximum extent practicable, these regulations shall be consistent with Coalition Provisional Authority Memorandum Number 4, Contract and Grant Procedures Applicable to Vested and Seized Iraqi Property and the Development Fund for Iraq, dated August 19, 2003.
Circumventing limits. Monetary limits and approval requirements may not be circumvented by “splitting” a single project through the submission of multiple purchase requests or similar documents, or otherwise.
Clearance of accounts. Accounts maintained under the CERP shall be cleared consistent with Volume 5, Chapter 2, of this Regulation.
Certification of payments. Payments made under the CERP shall be certified in a manner consistent with Volume 5, Chapter 33, “Accountable Officials and Certifying Officers.”
Audits and program reviews. The administration of the CERP will be subject to periodic audits by DOD’s internal review and audit organizations, including the DOD Inspector General and the Army Audit Agency, as well as external organizations such as the Government Accountability Office and congressional oversight committees. All officials responsible for administering the CERP shall cooperate fully with any review, audit, or investigation conducted by such organizations.
Reports and Notifications
Not later than the fifteenth day of each month, Army shall submit to the USD(C) a CERP Project Status Report as of the last day of the preceding month. The Army will provide a copy of the report to USCENTCOM J8 and the Joint Staff, J8. The CERP Project Status Report shall contain the following information by project category:
Note: This reporting requirement applies only to appropriation-funded CERP for Iraq and Afghanistan under the scope of this guidance and is in addition to the separate monthly requirement to report cumulative totals allocated, committed, obligated, and disbursed for all types of CERP funds in Iraq.
Army, with the support of USD(C), shall be responsible for submitting to Congress the quarterly reports required under Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005, Public Law 108-375, section 1201.
Army, in coordination with Commander, USCENTCOM, shall promptly notify the USD(C) and the DOD General Counsel of any provisions of law that (if not waived) would prohibit, restrict, limit, or otherwise constrain the exercise of the authority provided by, Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005, Public Law 108-375, section 1201.
Request for waivers or exceptions to any provision of law that would (but for the waiver) prohibit, restrict, limit, or otherwise constrain the execution of the CERP must be submitted through the USD(C) and DOD General Counsel to the Secretary of Defense for approval.
Requests for waivers or exceptions to this guidance must be submitted to the USD(C) for approval.
Concept of Integration
Integration is critical to developing a cohesive team. Because a PRT is composed of so many individuals from different agencies, it can be challenging to work together. One of the keys to establishing good team communication is to integrate all members within the PRT. In order to succeed, PRTs must become truly integrated civil-military structures and not just military organizations with “embedded” civilian advisors or bifurcated organizations with two separate components (military and civilian) that operate separately from one another. In its most evolved and successful state, a PRT is an integrated civil-military team possessing well- organized and coordinated capabilities and functions, such as strategic planning, operations, outreach, and force protection.
Better integration can be achieved when everyone works in the same building. Integration can also be fostered at a deeper level when all groups are task organized by function instead of by agency. In this scenario, a military member, a DOS employee, and a USAID employee could work in the same office. As a result of tight integration or even just having members share workspace, functional sections are more effective and communications are improved. Having military and civilian personnel mix in the various teams can help cross-explain issues. It may take time to reach this level of integration, but a PRT is significantly more productive in an integrated environment within the same building.
Operating as a Team of Equals
PRTs are most successful where military and civilian officers function as a team of equals. Jointly facing the daunting challenges present in extremely insecure environments yields significant benefits such as improved decision making; increased flexibility in a rapidly changing environment; greater involvement; and, therefore, a shared sense of ownership of the outcomes and improved quality of projects and programs. In the absence of an effective team, PRT activities have tended to be ad hoc and dominated by tactical concerns, particularly in areas of extreme instability.
In order for the PRT model to be successful, civilian and military representatives must act as full partners, with activities coordinated to allow projects to benefit from each agency’s comparative advantage. For example, military decisions to move PRTs or collocate them with a battalion task force need to be coordinated with participating civilian agencies. The current lack of consultation in this type of situation reinforces the perception that the military has the lead for all activities in the area. A PRT is most effective when both the civil and military components understand that they are complementary and work together as a mutually supportive team.
Ideally, PRT operations are informed by doctrine that clearly defines civilian and military roles and responsibilities. However, in the absence of a joint doctrine delineating respective responsibilities, civilian and military members of the PRT must work to develop a shared vision and common understanding of their roles, organization, and mission.
Identifying Different Strengths
The civilian and military staffs contribute different skill sets and capabilities to the PRT. For example, the military brings planning and logistics capabilities, communication equipment, and the ability to secure areas. The civilian agencies bring subject matter experts in the areas of humanitarian assistance, reconstruction, and development strategies and programming. PRT members should recognize what each individual brings to the mission, as well as the expertise their agency provides. Each member should see how his skills and his agency’s skills complement the skill sets of other PRT members. Together, the civilian and military components of the team create a shared platform that serves as a critical link between their respective organizations, enabling a more creative application of the full range of USG expertise to address the identified host-country needs in semi-permissive and remote environments.
Team Building and Establishing Shared Goals
In order to develop a common operating vision informed by shared operational guidelines members of the PRT should invest in team-building activities that establish and develop a greater sense of collaboration and mutual trust within the team. Critical reforms of the PRT system that enhance team collaboration and coordination, such as team predeployment training and synchronization of lengths of tour between the military and civilians, is beyond the guidance issued here.
Once deployed to a PRT, it is advisable to manage expectations by understanding the generic stages of team development (forming, storming, normalizing, and performing) and to recognize that the PRT operates under extreme stress (environment, timelines, and ambiguity) that affects these team cycles. Even so, as a team, PRT members should clearly establish shared goals, missions, and objectives; distribute the workload appropriately; and work to balance the variable skill sets represented at the PRT, matching skills to specific missions and objectives. When a PRT member is able to identify with a broader goal than a job description alone, he is more willing to contribute and assist others with their work.
Leaders often develop personal mission statements and set goals. Although a formal mission statement for the PRT exists, it can be helpful for PRT members to work with the PRT leader to devise a personal mission statement, which can help provide both team unity and individual focus.
The Maneuver Command and the PRT
The maneuver command and the PRT each has its own objectives. The maneuver command is concerned with separating insurgents from the population within a province, constraining insurgent operations, and defeating insurgents in conventional operations. The PRT augments the counterinsurgency mission by filling the gaps for these elements which are traditional and non-military. Keys in this effort are to improve governance and basic services. In Afghanistan, this is done in the context of extending the authority and capacity of the central government in each province and linking government to communities within each district. In Iraq, this is undertaken through capacity building at the provincial level. However, the goals of the maneuver command and PRT often overlap and, in this situation, their activities should complement each other. For example, the maneuver command may try to expand the short-term employment of men between ages 16 and 35 through an irrigation repair program to dissuade them from joining the insurgency. The PRT develops agricultural business opportunities to improve livelihoods and create sustainable long-term employment. These types of overlaps should be identified and built upon in program planning and implementation.
Establishing Appropriate Framework and Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs)
Members of the PRT should immediately establish a framework of the respective roles, relationships, and resources of the involved agencies in SOPs. These SOPs provide a structure for building greater interagency consensus and for establishing agreed-upon mission-essential tasks for each PRT, without imposing unrealistic constraints. For example, a shared framework or SOP provides a road map for reaching consensus on project approval, funding allocation, and other key decision-making issues. It also incorporates a wide range of response options for managing these and other decision-making issues within different operating contexts (e.g., nonpermissive, insecure, remote, and ungoverned) as the situation in a PRT’s area of responsibility changes.
Civil Affairs (CA) Teams and the PRT
CA teams assigned to brigades can be used more effectively and be better integrated into PRT operations. One suggestion is to deploy a CMO/CA planning team (brigade CMO officer, CA company commander, and operations staff) from the brigade and its incoming CA support about 30 days prior to full company deployment. This procedure allows the planning team to work with the PRT to define goals or redefine existing strategies based on the skill sets available in the CA company. It also gives CA leaders the chance to understand the provincial environment, as well as to get to know PRT colleagues and procedures.
Overall, this deployment helps the integration of the functional planning team members into the larger PRT team and improves synergies between PRT actions and the maneuver commander’s actions. The CMO staff and CA leaders are also better equipped both to educate the incoming CA company on their duties and to facilitate their PRT integration in the shortest possible time. The brigade CMO officer continues to be responsible for meshing the PRT’s goals, objectives, and plans with its capabilities.
Effective information sharing in the context of a reconstruction operation or crisis response requires far more than simply keeping all relevant parties “in the loop” and can be facilitated by creating joint platforms, such as a PRT, that foster joint and integrated planning (training, developing a common vocabulary to describe the work, and a common understanding of operational procedures in the field) from the earliest stages. While there are general “best practices” for information sharing, success ultimately depends on developing common understanding and ownership of the information that is being shared. This section addresses general issues and institutional challenges, stakeholder needs, and tools and guidelines for internal and external information sharing.
General Issues and Challenges
Individual agency policies
Learning to work with multiple agencies and organizations is a way of life for the PRT leadership. There is a wide array of actors involved in a stabilization and reconstruction effort, both within a PRT and outside a PRT. However, these actors do not always have an effective means of communicating with each other. Past PRT officials have expressed that they were often uninformed about other U.S. organizations’ related programs and activities underway within their provinces.
Agency protocols can sometimes act as impediments, and many segments within and between communities can sometimes be reluctant or unable to share information. In addition, PRT members have limited time and overwhelming responsibilities. PRT members should nonetheless strive to establish a sense of connectivity and open communication. The fast-paced, chaotic environments in which PRTs operate make openly sharing new ideas and information more useful than the traditional practice of closely managing information flow through established hierarchies. When possible, PRT members should, as a community, openly generate, share, and interpret content.
Are we speaking the same language? Agency acronyms and using terminology and cross-cultural communication are the basis for many of the initial misunderstandings that occur between PRT members. PRT members should anticipate a lack of common terminology while carrying out post-conflict activities.
Interoperability is another oft-cited problem
Incompatible radio systems, for instance, can hinder civilian-military communications. Other examples are organizations that conduct assessments or create databases without attempting to find a way to share such information.
Clearance and classification
Each agency has its own line of authority or command through which its information products must be cleared. The key to effective information sharing is to understand.
Classification issues pose another significant challenge to interagency information sharing. There are differences in classification thresholds applied by the military and civilian agencies and differences between civilian agencies on how or when information is classified. There are also significant differences in capabilities between DOD, DOS, and USAID to handle, store, and transmit classified information, both in the field and at headquarters. While USAID works primarily in an unclassified setting with limited classified network access and storage capabilities at headquarters and in some field missions, DOS has classified and unclassified facilities in every embassy, as well as fairly easy access at headquarters. DOD has the full range of headquarters and field capabilities, with secure network equipment and procedures for creating and working with classified information at every level.
These disparities can create difficulties on two levels: 1) Technical difficulties in communicating classified information from person A to person B and in having timely follow-on actions in response to actionable information; and 2) Disagreements about whether and at what level to classify information. Both disparities have an immediate impact on how easily and quickly information can be shared and acted upon for operations/programming by recipient agencies.
General Tips for Information Sharing
Here are some general suggestions for juggling different relationships and communicating efficiently and effectively:
Although hierarchies exist in the functioning of a PRT, members should try to rely on “networks” as much as possible. Networks are defined broadly as the connections between people and organizations and have a degree of flexibility and interdependence. Networks permit both vertical and horizontal flows, as well as direct exchange between practitioners. Information sharing through networks is more appropriate in conflict-prone settings than hierarchies.
Even in the context of a hierarchy, networks can be invoked to enable lateral connections and improve effectiveness. For example, military members can share firsthand tactical experiences by utilizing the Joint Knowledge Online PRT Site at <http://jko.jfcom.mil> or the Battle Command Knowledge System at <https://bcks.army.mil>. Even when organizations are reluctant to coordinate or share information, individuals can, under appropriate circumstances, work around institutional boundaries and share information.
In order for stabilization and reconstruction to be successful, all individuals and organizations must be able to connect, share information, and coordinate. PRTs function best when they are truly user-driven, meaning all individuals contribute information, share concepts, and evaluate resources transparently. This applies to the inner workings of a PRT and how PRTs interact with outside stakeholders.
Remember, communication is often a social, not a technical, problem.
6 This section derived from the ISAF Provincial Team Handbook, v3, Feb. 2007.
7 Oxford English Dictionary.
8 Narco-crime. Organized narco-crime flourishes in the absence of effective security institutions and judicial frameworks and a country awash with surplus weaponry and weak governance. The narcotics industry also provides financial support for terrorist groups and factional commanders. Narcotics production may become a way of life for many, particularly in the absence of alternative livelihoods. The production and transportation of narcotics is closely protected. The farmers receive less than 20 percent of the drug revenue. The rest goes to traders, traffickers, commanders of illegally armed groups, and corrupt government officials. Fighting narcotics requires a national and international effort to manage demand as well as supply.
Warlordism and factionalism. Many parts of the world live in tribal societies. They traditionally retain weapons for self-protection in the absence of state security. When a host country has limited influence in the provinces, its accommodation of local power brokers have left factional chiefs in control of local government. Coalition forces may empower factional commanders to aid in stabilization; however, this contributes to the fragmentation of power and frustrates the reform process. The host nation or coalition forces may successfully reduce the power of some warlords by reassigning them away from their geographical power base, but their networks continue to influence provincial administration. However, former commanders in government positions in the police and civil administration may bring with them their often-unqualified supporters as few alternatives exist for them. Warlords regularly seize vehicles, livestock, and cash as taxes and payment for protection. Warlords leverage their power and influence to gain control of customs posts, bazaars, and narcotics trafficking.
9 LTC Antulio J. Echevarria II, “Reigning in the Center of Gravity Concept,” Air and Space Power Journal, Summer 2003.
10 This section is derived from Joint Publication 3-07.3, Peace Operations, June 2007 (revision final coordinating draft).
11 Financial Management Regulation, DOD, Volume 12, Chapter 27, September 2005.
Last Reviewed: May 18, 2012