Management and Structure
Strategic to Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT)
Management of a PRT begins at the strategic level in Washington, D.C., and works its way through the chief of mission (COM) and joint task force (JTF) to the PRT. Chapter 4 explains the strategic guidance and Figure 6-1 shows how the interagency bodies coordinate this guidance and how it flows to the PRT.
Operational guidance comes from the separate departments to the PRT. (See Figure 6-2.)
Participating agencies maintain primary control of the capacity and programs they allocate to PRTs because of fiduciary responsibilities. The COM may elect to establish an executive steering committee to coordinate each of the agency’s reconstruction efforts within the country. This committee serves as the mechanism to ensure coordinated PRT guidance from each participating agency. The PRT has two lines of authority running to it; however, the brigade/regimental combat team has only force protection and sustainment authority over the PRT and has a large input, at the direction of the JTF commander, within the security sector. The authority for all other sectors of the PRT operations is the COM. Above all, it must be understood that the COM is the executive agent responsible for all reconstruction efforts within the country where he is the principal U.S. Government (USG) representative.
PRT Management: The Integrated Command Group
The level of integration of the participating agencies or nations at a PRT varies from mere collocation to unity of command. In general, at a minimum, each PRT should seek to achieve unity of effort. Unity of effort can be advanced through the creation of an integrated command group or executive team. This group is composed of the senior member of each agency or nation participating in the PRT. Ideally, the command group should be collocated (within the PRT) and have a highly consensual and considered approach to decision making.
There should be regularly scheduled meetings involving all members of the command group. The command group is responsible for taking top-level direction and, in combination with U.S. and host country national priorities, determining the PRT strategy to include approach, objectives, planned activities, and monitoring and evaluation systems. It is the command group that must write an implementation plan for the PRT consisting of an end state, objectives, and coordination between lines of operation. Without an integrated command group, a PRT will be unable to harmonize the diplomatic, economic, and military lines of operation and will fail to act with unity of effort. 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. A PRT is a civilian-military partnership.
Roles and Responsibilities
A myriad of agencies have personnel and resources assigned to a PRT. However, the COM must assign a single individual to provide assistance when required and answer questions that may arise from the President or the host nation government. Quite often the senior diplomatic officer fills this position; however, the environment of the province may dictate that an individual from another agency (Department of Defense or Department of Justice) takes the lead of a PRT.
Though a preponderance of resources available to a PRT is often provided by an agency other than the designated senior diplomatic officer, the diplomatic officer is considered the first among interagency and international equals. The senior diplomatic officer is responsible for providing policy and political guidance to the PRT based on diplomatic goals outlined by the COM and his assessment of the local political landscape (by definition, the political landscape subsumes the military and development perspectives). This link to the COM ensures absolute clarity of purpose for all USG agencies, as well as the ability to reach-back to the COM to communicate local priorities that may require assessments by national powers. The diplomatic officer is also responsible for keeping the COM informed on the issues and dynamics of the PRT’s area of responsibility (AOR).
The military component of the PRT has a comparative advantage in specific functional tasks such as planning; coordination; project management; and technical expertise such as warfare, training, and engineering. However, the primary value-added capability of the PRT’s military component is the organizational and logistics resource capability, as well as the force projection it gives to the PRT to penetrate insecure areas.
The development officer has a comparative advantage in understanding the social and economic aspects of instability and insecurity. Likewise, the development officer has a comparative advantage in the planning, design, and implementation of reconstruction and developmental activities in support of politically derived objectives (regardless of funding source).
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 level. For this reason, it is not likely that the host government representative has 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 with the responsibility of assisting in running the PRT from labor to translation to representation.
The roles and responsibilities of other civilian U.S. and international civilians (such as contractors) are dependant on the mission of their agency or program and the authorities negotiated with the PRT program or agencies involved.
The structure of a PRT is a composite of military and civilian elements. 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, development, effectiveness of governance institutions, and the presence of other intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations. PRT organizational structure should be based on unity of effort, clear coordination, and good communications.
PRT Functional Areas
An administrative staff aids the team leader and other supervisors in getting things done through its knowledge of and skills in dealing with organization, methods, funds, people, equipment, and other tools or resources of management. Duties typically include the following:
Due to size limitations, most PRTs do not have an administrative staff that has expertise in all the above duties. However, the individuals assigned to these positions should be knowledgeable enough to work with the central servicing offices that handle these issues.
Operations and planning
The operations and planning staff ensures that directions and plans from the national level are articulated to actionable processes within the PRT’s AOR. This staff acts on the behalf of the team leader in strategizing, coordinating, and communicating stabilization and reconstruction actions and is responsible for planning both the short-term and long-term reconstruction activities within the PRT’s AOR.
A major function of this staff is establishing, coordinating, facilitating, and maintaining contact and communication with the national reconstruction office, other PRTs, local governments, national and international agencies within the AOR, and the supporting military organizations. Through these efforts, the team leader ensures the appropriate influence of U.S. stabilization and reconstruction efforts on the local populace.
This staff ensures all activities within the team are synchronized across functions, as well as with those organizations operating in tandem with the PRT within their AOR. In addition, this function is responsible for ensuring the efforts of the team are in congruence with national-level efforts. Other responsibilities include: 1) Directing the PRT’s long-range planning process and coordinating it with the national planning process; 2) Consulting with and assisting PRT components in planning; 3) Coordinating the PRT’s annual and short-term planning processes and supporting other PRT elements in project, activity or task planning, preparation, coordination, and execution; and 4) Conducting analysis of resource requests submitted by PRT components to develop resource recommendations for the team leader, to support the planning process, and to fulfill national requirements.
The support component is the PRT’s mission enabler and provides the essential capabilities, functions, activities, and tasks necessary to sustain all elements of the PRT. Support includes, but is not limited to, supply, maintenance, transportation, health services, and other services required to accomplish the PRT’s missions within its AOR.
The logistics section is responsible for procuring, maintaining, and transporting material and personnel to ensure the PRT accomplishes its mission. Duties typically include the following:
This section is responsible for meeting the PRT’s communications needs and accomplishes this task by ensuring the elements of the PRT communications infrastructure, including mobile assets, meet the mission requirements. This section manages the PRT communications assets and establishes support agreements with the supporting military unit or the host nation.
The information technology section is responsible for meeting the PRT’s information technology needs and accomplishes this by ensuring the elements of the PRT information systems infrastructure meet the mission requirements. This section manages the PRT information technology assets and establishes support agreements with the supporting military unit or the host nation and may be a sub-element of the communications section.
The purpose of the health services section is to promote, improve, conserve, or restore the mental and physical well-being of the personnel assigned to the PRT. The typical level of care includes immediate lifesaving measures, prevention of disease and injury, operational stress control preventive measures, patient collection, and medical evacuation to supported medical treatment elements. This function is normally accomplished by military or contract personnel.
This section provides the necessary security function required to protect the PRT at its operations base and while it is performing its assigned mission. Each PRT is responsible for providing a level of security appropriate to the local security situation. In broad terms, three elements are required: compound security, drivers and escorts, and a small tactical reserve or quick reaction force. Best practice suggests that the compound security force should be a combination of military personnel or contractors and local nationals. Employment of the latter, if sourced from the immediate local population, contributes to the overall level of force protection, enables military personnel to be released for more demanding tasks, benefits the local economy, and acts as another method by which the PRT can engage positively with the local population. However, PRTs need to carefully consider the sources of such manpower.
Facilities support provides the essential services to enhance the PRT’s quality of life during operations. Their services consist of clothing exchange, laundry and shower support, mortuary affairs, food services, billeting, and sanitation. This support is normally contracted out but may be provided by a supporting unit or the host nation.
5 “Afghanistan Reconstruction: Despite Some Progress, Deteriorating Security and Other Obstacles Continue to Threaten Achievement of U.S. Goals,” Report 05-742, Government Accounting Office, July 2005.
Last Reviewed: May 18, 2012