The Interagency Future—Embedded Provincial Reconstruction Teams in
Task Force Marne
Sergeant First Class Jesse P. Pruett, U.S. Army Reserve
Reprinted with permission from Military Review
IN HIS FOREWORD to U.S. Army Field Manual (FM) 3-0, Operations, General William Wallace emphasizes that victory in modern conflict will be achieved "only by conducting military operations in concert with diplomatic, informational, and economic efforts. Battlefield success is no longer enough; final victory requires concurrent stability operations to lay the foundation for lasting peace."1
Combat operations thus require further insight largely beyond the conventional canon of military training and expertise. In response to this emergent reality, the Army ushered in a new element to traditional arsenal of war: embedded provincial reconstruction teams (ePRTs). These teams consist of a small civil-military cadre drawn from government agencies and experts at the brigade level. Task Force Marne was one of the first to host these groups, serving as home to four teams.2 Based on the Marne experience; I will examine the origins and definition of embedded provincial reconstruction teams. In challenging some basic assumptions, I will discuss the difficulties encountered as these teams formed and integrated into their brigade-level counterparts. Finally, I will offer recommendations to increase team effectiveness.
Into the Surge
By the spring of 2007, U.S. forces in Iraq began receiving the first influx of additional combatants in what came to be known as the "surge." Simultaneous to this influx was a less publicized discussion about how, beyond military prowess, the United States could directly leverage the full complement of its national power to support the "on-the-ground" efforts of the warfighters. The answer, first articulated in the January 2007 "New Way Forward" speech by President George W. Bush, was to expand the provincial reconstruction team concept to create embedded teams.3 The embedded teams were a joint and interagency construct that "represents the civilian contribution to the military surge."4 Department of State Foreign Service officers joined with experts from the United States Agency for International Development, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Justice, and contracted specialists from various backgrounds to form a collaborative cell of civilian experts. This cell, augmented with a mid-level military officer as deputy, became a direct component of the maneuver brigades.
Task Force Marne is the element that commanded the Multi-National Division-Center from March 2007 until June 2008. The unit's operational environment covered an area of 23,190 square miles stretching from the Saudi Arabian border in the West to the Iranian border in the East, encompassing four full provinces (Babil, Karbala, Najaf, and Wasit) and the two largest qadas (counties) of Baghdad Province, Mada'in and Mahmudiyah.
Provincial reconstruction teams in Iraq divide into two primary categories: "paired" and "embedded." Paired provincial reconstruction teams are largely stand-alone entities, with robust manning structures and dedicated movement security teams. Their mandate includes government engagement at the provincial level.5
Embedded teams, on the other hand, are fully entrenched at the brigade combat team level, sharing the space, resources, and hardships of the units with which they partner. These embedded teams have a capacity-building mandate to engage the Iraqi government and population at the local level and support the brigade's counterinsurgency effort. Theoretically, these embedded teams have a four-person core element: a team leader, deputy team leader, United States Agency for International Development representative, and bilingual-bicultural advisor. A bilingual-bicultural advisor is a subject matter expert who is native to the region and provides insight to the cultural dimension. Around this core, additional specialized personnel are added based on their availability and the specific mission requirements. A baseline team of 7 to 11 personnel is normal.6
In the spring of 2008, Task Force Marne had five paired provincial reconstruction teams and four embedded provincial reconstruction teams operating in its "battlespace." The Baghdad provincial reconstruction team, whose mandate extended to all of Baghdad Province, shared an overlapping relationship that included Multi-National Division-Baghdad. The Babil team, along with the nominal operations of the Karbala and Najaf teams, operated from the Regional Embassy Office in Hillah. The other provincial reconstruction team was in Wasit Province, near the provincial center of Al Kut. Marne's four embedded teams were known as "Baghdad 4," "Baghdad 7," "Baghdad 8," and "North Babil." This served as the crucible which tested the embedded provincial reconstruction team concept and revealed areas of weakness and strength.
Embedded Team Pedigree and the Afghan Catalyst
The success of the TORCH operation is critically dependent upon the reactions of the authorities, inhabitants and troops of North Africa. With this in mind, General Eisenhower has on his staff a Civil Administrative Section to coordinate the civil and political matters in immediate relation to the operation. He urgently requests that men from the State Department be released to serve on this body.. . .[T]he War Department should undertake to carry out this operation in all respects, but the political and civil phase of the plan could be facilitated by the aid of the State Department.
-Memo, General George C. Marshall for President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 3 September 19427
Embedded provincial reconstruction teams call upon a varied pedigree. Although new, they did not emerge suddenly. The embedded teams are the third evolution of the broader provincial reconstruction team concept, which further traces its civil-military lineage at least to World War II. Battlefield commanders through the centuries have had little cause to consider an official role for civilians among their combat units. This view changed considerably during World War II, and it has been developing ever since. From brevet promotions and the implementation of the Marshall Plan, to codifying pacification efforts through the Civil Operations and Revolutionary (later Rural) Development Support (called "CORDS") program in Vietnam, and to the shared operational space of the Balkan conflicts, the direct role of civilians representing other instruments of national power on the battlefield has continued to evolve.8
The Army's counterinsurgency principles, formalized in FM 3-24, Counterinsurgency, call upon the Army to expand from its singular reliance on the standard sword and shield tools of war. This holistic approach leverages critical elements of society to look beyond a defeated enemy and achieve a more comprehensive victory.9 A clear example, and an early application of these principles, came when the provincial reconstruction team concept emerged in 2003 in Afghanistan as a precursor to the embedded teams.
The irregular environment of Afghanistan proved appropriate for examining the direct integration of nonlethal military activities using civilians. As FM 3-24 states, "Military forces can perform civilian tasks but often not as well as the civilian agencies with people trained in those skills. Further, military forces performing civilian tasks are not performing military tasks."10 Development is not an art in which the military is trained, nor does it seek to be an agency for the delivery of such a service. The military seeks to set the conditions for development, first establishing security and then providing a platform for the delivery of the immediate needs of the populace. Beyond this a gap occurs.
In Operation Enduring Freedom, something was missing between the immediate tactical application of military activity and the eventual concerted international community development effort. The U.S. government response in Afghanistan created the first provincial reconstruction team for this need. This effort initially was a stand-alone construct, physically apart from the primary military presence and imbued with a distinct nonlethal mandate. Components of this group were civilians, but it was a military organization with military leadership. The Afghanistan environment accorded a large degree of autonomy and the military hierarchy facilitated a degree of natural integration with overall military activities. As a group of combined experts, it largely bridged the development gap and opened the door for the insertion and expansion of the broader international community. Based on this modest success, the military exported the combined civilian-military approach of the provincial reconstruction team to the Iraq conflict.
In Iraq, the provincial reconstruction team program was restructured with a civilian emphasis. The teams now possessed Department of State leadership and a focus on civilian skill sets. The exception was the deputy team leader, usually a lieutenant colonel. By 2006, counterinsurgency principles began to take prominence in coalition force operations, leading to the surge and a devolved, community-centric focus. Expertise in areas such as local governance, business development, and agriculture was now a requirement. This course adjustment precipitated the evolution of the fundamental provincial reconstruction team concept into the embedded team concept.
Truth in Advertising
Embedded provincial reconstruction teams must affect the environment quickly. They must establish bona fides with the combatant commander, stake a claim to legitimacy in the eyes of the populace, and prove they are trustworthy interlocutors to the Iraqi leadership. However, team personnel usually arrive at a disadvantage when compared to their combatant counterparts. The combatant commander leads a robust and highly trained team, has experienced more time on the ground, owns comparatively vast resources, and exhibits a disdain for patience.11 Additionally, scant training, an unpredictable manning process, and an unfortunate misunderstanding of their mandate often undermine embedded teams. Despite tremendous promise, these groups often experience costly delays in establishing legitimacy and achieving effectiveness due to these largely foreseeable and correctable problems.
In Task Force Marne, embedded provincial reconstruction teams, as marketed, were more myth and shadow than realities. This judgment is not to say that they were ineffectual but does suggest that their mission was made more difficult due to the way they were assembled and packaged. The mythology begins with the name "embedded provincial reconstruction team." The title of a nonfiction book generally describes some truth about what the reader may expect to discover in its pages. A military commander, a host-nation-government official, or an average Iraqi citizen is likely to make some reasonable assumptions when beginning interactions with an organization that calls itself an embedded provincial reconstruction team. That the team provides a cohesive organized unit tasked with addressing reconstruction issues at the provincial level is certainly a reasonable expectation. However, this expectation, though reasonable, would be in error. Not because these groups do not fulfill their mandate, but because their mandate does not match their name, these differences are more than merely splitting hairs or semantics. The name carries ramifications for managing expectations and providing both guidance and structure to the group's operations.
Three claims make up the label: provincial, reconstruction, and team. Taken individually it is clear how this label creates inherent difficulties in clarifying roles and establishing bona fides.
- Provincial. The mandate for embedded teams does not extend to the province. Their realm of interaction is sub-provincial. Aligned as they are with task-organized brigades, they cede provincial level interactions to provincial reconstruction teams, just as brigades defer to the division level. Therefore, they develop a sphere of influence that focuses on local level interactions, not provincial ones.12
- Reconstruction. As a term of art, "reconstruction" may be interpreted as the full spectrum of activities necessary to provide a framework for social, economic, political, and military stability. However, to an Iraqi citizen or company commander, this word conjures an image of hard "brick and mortar" infrastructure projects. Thus, collaborators with the embedded teams inaccurately expect that construction contracts for schools, clinics, and the like will soon follow. While the actual mandate may only touch on infrastructure reconstruction, the expectations of others make actual mission accomplishment more difficult. Thus, the teams' viability suffers.
- Team. The concept of "team" is critical and fundamental to the success of a civil-military group in a counterinsurgency environment. The embedded provincial reconstruction team does achieve the limited standard of the definition for "team" as "a number of persons associated together in work or activity."13 However, a true team, an effective collaboration of individual skills directed toward a shared vision, requires a higher standard. When thinking of successful teams, one imagines sports teams, a group of lawyers in a complex legal case, or perhaps a military unit. In these cases, people prepare and train together in advance of the endeavor they will undertake. They link their individual skills and actions in direct concert with those of their teammates to produce a coordinated outcome. This result presupposes teammate cooperation; individuals who have specific, appropriate skills; and sufficient numbers to fill the requisite positions of the team. Task Force Marne teams' inaugural year was fraught with difficulty in these aspects of preparation and appropriate staffing. Thus, the claim of establishing a true team is elusive.
Recognizing that embedded provincial reconstruction teams are not quite what they appear does not delegitimize them. Rather, in breaking down the myth, we create the foundation for understanding what the concept aspires to: a uniquely contributing part of the counterinsurgency effort.
Manning the Ship
The true value of the embedded provincial reconstruction team is in its personnel. In Task Force Marne, talented experts made magnificent contributions. For example, the United States Agency for International Development's representative and member of the North Babil team, Dr. Louis Tatem, collaboratively participated in the revitalization of Jurf as Sukhr. His work was key to transforming this blighted area, and it illustrates the high potential of partnerships between teams and units.14 However, this and other similar successes largely hinged on individual effort and personal relationships, not on an institutionalized standard. As noted in a Brookings Institute report, "Perhaps the most important area of improvement is in how well the new embedded provincial reconstruction teams are working. . .Unfortunately, State and other civilian agencies have done a poor job providing the needed manpower for the [teams]."15 This lack of cohesion owes to two primary factors: staffing and preparation.
Staffing. "In somewhat typical State Department fashion, the mandate to staff provincial reconstruction teams came down from above and the Foreign Service had to respond-without an influx of sufficient funding, training, or personnel."16 This quotation from former Foreign Service officer Shawn Dorman refers to the broader process as initially implemented in Iraq, but it applies to the embedded provincial reconstruction team situation as well, with the additional caveat that many individuals comprising the teams come from sources outside of the Department of State. Although the process is somewhat mysterious, and its uneven flow undoubtedly owes to many factors, there is apparently no cohesive staffing plan.
Due to the absence of such a plan, a number of detrimental conditions have emerged. At various stages, the embedded provincial reconstruction teams at Baghdad 7 and Baghdad 8 have been reduced to a fraction of the baseline group, merely 29 to 43 percent required strength.17 Brigade combat teams and embedded provincial reconstruction teams are seldom able to identify when a replacement may arrive to fill an open vacancy or replace redeploying personnel. In some instances, embedded provincial reconstruction team personnel arrive with impressive credentials in a particular field, expecting to apply those skills in a position matched with their experience, but they soon find themselves in a position that requires them to serve as the subject matter expert for something foreign to their background and qualifications. At Baghdad 4, acute vacancies identified as critical remain unfilled while other positions receive duplicate candidates.
Team positions require a robust vigor due to the rigorous combat environment and extreme climate temperatures encountered. This raises concerns when individuals of significantly advanced age or poor physical fitness present themselves for service.18 Once assigned to and faced with the austerity of an embedded provincial reconstruction team, some individuals have sought and received reassignment to the relative luxury of Baghdad's International Zone. Complaints about a general lack of individual comforts such as televisions, DVD players, and refrigerators have been common.
Although anecdotal, these instances articulate two requirements for the embedded provincial reconstruction team positions. Personnel must possess both the requisite expertise of the position and the ability to thrive in a demanding physical environment. A codified and standardized approach to the identification and preparation of personnel is necessary. While many positions fill appropriately, the examples above reinforce the concerns voiced by many. In an informal discussion regarding the criticality of specific skill requirements and the less-than-ideal efforts to match those skills to actual need, one team leader emphasized the "consistent underestimation of how hard the job [really] is" displayed when filling "expert" positions.
Preparation. In the military, you axiomatically train as you fight. In many cases, incoming embedded provincial reconstruction team members have never worked with the military and some have never even worked abroad. The work environment for team members is certainly austere and can be intimidating. Team members arrive as individuals having never met, much less worked with, fellow teammates or their military counterparts. Newcomers are not systematically prepared for the circumstances they encounter. Instead they must rely on the happenstance of previous personal experiences. The team itself is not systemically prepared to orient, train, and incorporate the newcomer. The brigade, comprehensively engaged in myriad tasks, expects the newcomer to quickly provide insight and deliver value. In short, embedded provincial reconstruction teams and the individuals who comprise them are setup for failure. The simple fact that teams generally do not fail speaks to the quality of the individuals who are involved and the willingness of the broader team to work together to overcome the institutional hurdles.
The in-country oversight responsibility for administration and human resources issues lies with the Department of State's Office of Provincial Affairs. Thus, it absorbs the brunt of criticism for this ad hoc manning process. However, their task is challenging, involving a selection process that occurs beyond their auspices. It involves coordination of a number of interagency partners and individual contractors over which it has limited authority. The Office of Provincial Affairs is a nascent body, striving to grasp the reins as it works through a chaotic milieu that includes its own manning shortfalls.
In some cases, the staffing difficulties result in an absence of critical expertise to accomplish the civil-military mission. Baghdad 7 endured significant personnel fluctuation and uncertainty in its brief tenure. Recognizing the limitations, team leader John Smith, a veteran with decades of experience developing teams in tricky situations, worked hand-in-hand with 2/3 Brigade Combat Team to secure the staffing support of talented officers from within the unit itself. While this arrangement worked, it is another example of success in spite of the lack of established support systems. As the security situation improves and the demand for true subject matter expertise rises, military officers can shore up the dam only to a certain point. The lasting effort needs to be less on point-of-impact creativity and more on influencing systemic change in identifying, preparing, and deploying embedded provincial reconstruction team personnel.
Achieving Unity of Effort
The fundamental issues are not new. What is new in the current context is the nature of the conflict, the conditions of service, and the delivery method of the required skills. The vehicle for delivery in the modern environment is the embedded provincial reconstruction team, a viable and valuable asset and an integral component of a brigade combat team's available tools. As noted in a report from the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, "with few exceptions, we observed good civil-military integration and cooperation, and brigade combat team leaders seemed convinced that embedded provincial reconstruction team members provided valuable advice and expertise and constitute a tangible benefit to their battle."19 However positive the experience thus far, the teams have only scratched the surface of their potential. A comprehensive and longer term approach to the development of these teams can achieve the full measure of their promise. This optimization process can occur by directing institutional resources toward a three-fold approach:
- Forecast needs and identify individual team members.
- Provide individual preparation and develop the small team dynamics of the embedded provincial reconstruction team.
- Integrate team training with the sophisticated predeployment training of brigade combat teams.
Beginning at the Beginning
Any initiative must have a starting point. The embedded provincial reconstruction team deployment process should start when a brigade receives its deployment warning orders. Warning orders provide military units with a notice to begin preparations for an action. In the case of Operation Iraqi Freedom, brigade combat teams have significant time in advance of their deployments. By now, embedded provincial reconstruction teams are ingrained in brigade leadership, and the planning to fully incorporate the team should take place as a matter of course. However, there are other pieces to the puzzle. The interagency partners providing assets to the embedded provincial reconstruction team must receive notice similar to the brigade's warning order from their national-level leaders so that they too may develop their support plans. The organizations contributing personnel should appoint a team coordinator for the provincial reconstruction team program who will identify the individuals for selection and coordinate with both the departments of State and Defense to support these personnel with the full preparation process.
There are three opportunities to influence the incoming team member: prior to deployment, throughout the deployment process, and during the deployment itself. There is no effort currently made prior to deployment. Once the deployment process begins, incoming members attend a two-week training course in the Washington D.C. area followed by a two-day orientation at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. A benefit of these courses is that new members form relationships with others en route to their assignments, and this contributes to a viable support network. The training itself is limited in duration and scope, notably without any real military integration component. Upon completion of the two-day orientation, individuals leave the embassy to join their teams and the team-building process begins. Unfortunately, this is very late in the game to begin team integration. To be effective, the preparation pipeline must-
- Expand to begin at the beginning prior to deployment.
- Provide deeper insight into the nature of the mission.
- Broaden its focus to include critical team elements, especially military interaction.
The Near Team
The concept of embedded teams in the Task Force Marne context exists on two levels. At one level is the larger comprehensive team, embodied by the brigade combat team, but comprised of the full spectrum of actors directing their energies toward influencing the same territory, service sector, or population segment assigned to the embedded provincial reconstruction team.20 But before the larger team is established, there is the embedded provincial reconstruction team itself, the "near team." Its internal composition, interpersonal dynamics, and ability to produce a cohesive and relevant product or service is the near team. Efforts to build this team should be ongoing and must begin early in the process. To synchronize the team, Department of State should collaborate with coordinators from the partner agencies and with Office of Provincial Affairs to identify the specific requirements. They should develop embedded provincial reconstruction team templates for the projected brigade locations. These agencies should then identify the personnel they intend to assign to the projected vacancies. In this fashion, the team will begin to take shape, removing much uncertainty. Each location will be different and the environment retains its fluid nature. However, this method identifies team members and tailors them to a template of specific requirements early in the process. Once identified, these team members can communicate among themselves and establish crucial internal relationships with their currently serving counterparts.
The Full Team
As author Shawn Dorman wrote, "Joining military and civilian personnel together for a joint mission is a tall order requiring, among other things, the bridging of cultural divides."21 Building this bridge should not begin at the point of arrival. Even if the embedded provincial reconstruction team manages to achieve a degree of internal harmony and function, acceptance among their military counterparts (and their eventual integration into all brigade operations) is a necessity. Historically, individuals have discovered ways to accelerate this process. One case in point is the "Dog-face Diplomat," Howard Van Vranken, who clearly demonstrated his desire to be part of the team and thus made the integration process much smoother.22 However, more can be done to institutionalize this integration and set conditions for immediate, on-the-ground impact. Early contact by at least the key members or even just the team leader can help reduce the uncertainties and delays that characterize the beginning of any integration process. Brigade combat teams must gain confidence in the embedded provincial reconstruction team's collective counsel, even if its insight reveals that development and other improvements will occur at a seemingly glacial pace.23 Those in the embedded provincial reconstruction team must learn to appreciate the military's unique organizational culture. After all, as one team member put it, "You'll not be living alongside a military culture; you'll be living in the military."24
Military units embark upon impressively elaborate training exercises prior to deployment. At complexes erected to simulate Iraqi streetscapes, actors role-play local populations and key personalities. Simulated munitions replicate the noise and chaos of battle to create a truly realistic training environment. Just as the brigade strives to ensure that their troops are as prepared as they can possibly be when they encounter the enemy, the embedded provincial reconstruction team should be represented at all of these significant exercises. Beyond the individual training value of these events, one cannot overstate the trust, understanding, and general team-building opportunities of these exercises. Commanders rightfully protest when they must train without even secondary weapons systems. Most acknowledge the importance of stability operations and the role embedded provincial reconstruction teams play in this operational effort. Commanders should insist on team participation at these training events, and embedded personnel should insist on this opportunity to prepare their team for its role.
This early collaboration is not without precedent. Training iterations prior to Bosnia deployments brought together military elements and a training cadre of civilians playing the role of positions they held during previous deployments. In addition, the Pentagon is currently employing a program that pairs members of a "human terrain team" with the units they will support on deployment.25 These cultural experts join their units well in advance of the deployment and participate throughout the train-up period to shape the unit's combat preparation and carry on into actual operations once deployed.
While unable to immediately affect those currently on the ground, these recommendations are all within reach for the next rotation of war fighters and their civilian teammates. If the embedded provincial reconstruction teams are to achieve their full potential as pivotal components in the rising importance of stability operations, bureaucratic hurdles inherent in this progress must be minimized.
The embedded provincial reconstruction team finds its niche as an accepted member of the brigade combat team. When a battlefield's rubble is freshly formed, the embedded team is best positioned to deliver its expertise: picking up and bolstering worthy leaders, increasing the capacity of local institutions, and mentoring all sides. Coalition forces, men-on-the-street, and local leaders all need mentoring on the structures, formalities, and mechanisms that have proven successful in other strife-torn countries.
Through an interagency process that identifies embedded provincial reconstruction team personnel (and codifies the team-building, preparation, and integration processes), there is potential to make the teams much more effective. Through early integration, the team will serve as a lens to view the operational environment in its many facets, including those perspectives that are beyond the scope of traditional military strengths. Team integration of military and civilian talent, resources, and expertise can better enable "winning the Nation's wars by fighting within an interdependent joint team."26
Embedded provincial reconstruction teams have borne the burden of interagency hopes and fears in the most unforgiving of environments. War and political scrutiny have forged the civil-military construct into a rough tool for U.S. foreign policy at the focal point of the War on Terrorism. In the Task Force Marne operational environment of Iraq, this trial by fire has exposed imperfections, and there is clearly room for significant refinement. However, a unique capacity is also clear. The embedded teams demonstrated potential, and successes point to an enduring value in making these teams a permanent fixture in force structure. MR
1. FM 3-0, Operations (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office [GPO], 27 February 2008), foreword.
2. A provincial reconstruction team is a unit consisting of military officers, diplomats, and reconstruction subject matter experts that work to support reconstruction efforts. An embedded provincial reconstruction team (ePRT) works locally with a brigade combat team (BCT).
3. While the speech itself does refer to doubling the number of provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs), the ePRT concept is not directly mentioned. However, the accompanying fact sheet distributed by the White House explicitly states as a key element: "Establish PRT-capability within maneuver brigade combat teams (BCTs)." "www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/01/20070110-3.html" ( 23 April 2009).
4. Provincial Reconstruction Team Playbook (Fort Leavenworth, KS: Center for Army Lessons Learned, September 2007), 69.
5. ". . .paired PRTs-so named because of their specific alignment with geographic provinces and whose principle focus is the provincial government," COL Ralph Baker, statement before the House Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on Provincial Reconstruction Team Programs, 4 October 2007.
6. Early descriptions of Multi-National Division-Center's ePRTs called for no less than 7 personnel as a starting point, by late 2007 briefings cited requirements for 11 personnel at Baghdad 4; and 7 personnel each at North Babil, Baghdad 7, and Baghdad 8.
7. Harry L. Coles and Albert K. Weinberg, Civil Affairs: Soldiers Become Governors, United States Army in World War II Special Studies (Washington DC: Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, 1964), 31-32.
8. At the close of World War II, the United States provided brevet promotions to civilians with certain expertise, allowing them to integrate into the post-conflict environment as uniformed members of the overall reconstruction effort. This included the formation of the "Military Government" specialty, the precursor to today's Civil Affairs branch and military occupational specialty. "The effectiveness of CORDS [Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support] was a function of integrated civilian and military teams at every level of society in Vietnam. From district to province to national level, U.S. advisors and interagency partners worked closely with their Vietnamese counterparts . . . and ensured that military and civilian agencies worked closely together . . . Success in meeting basic needs of the populace led, in turn, to improved intelligence . . ." FM 3-24, Counterinsurgency (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 15 December 2006), 2-12.
9. Ibid., 1-27. "While security is essential to setting the stage for overall progress, lasting victory comes from a vibrant economy, political participation, and restored hope."
10. FM 3-24, 2-9.
11. When walking through Task Force Marne Headquarters, it is difficult to miss the large banners that proclaim "No Patience!" or signs fashioned like street warnings depicting the word "Patience" with a red line through it.
12. The United States Agency for International Development's Republic of Iraq District Government Field Manual, vol. I, July 2007, vers. 1; addresses "local-level authorities" as those below Provincial or Governorate level, specifically identifying qadas (counties) and nahias (neighborhoods), 14.
13. Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary (Springfield, MS: Merriam-Webster Inc., 2003), 1282.
14. The transformation of Jurf as Sukr. Decimated by political strife and the recent ravages of combat, the town of Jurf as Sukr was seemingly more a candidate for demolition than development. Its abandoned business stalls and the town center stood vacant. However, a vigilant military presence allowed for the seeds of a considered and deliberate revitalization program to take root. The collaborative efforts of ePRT expertise and military resources produced a noteworthy outcome. In the fall of 2007, Dr. Louis Tatem was the United States Agency for International Development representative with the North Babil ePRT that supported in turn both the 4/25 and 4/3 brigade combat teams. Drawing upon his numerous years in post-conflict and developing environments throughout East Asia and Europe, he developed a multi-faceted micro-grant program that served as the cornerstone of the revitalization effort. Counseling against a less nuanced approach employed by military units elsewhere, Dr. Tatem and the ePRT capitalized on strong social pressures at play within Iraqi culture to provide small grants to Iraqis. The intent of these programs is to provide scarce venture capital to allow an economic base to take root. With funding in the form of the Commander's Emergency Response Program, and dollars and security from the BCT in place, Dr. Tatem first employed a market survey to understand where the populace obtained their goods and why there would be change. Then, he planned the market expansion in deliberate stages to ensure the populace was sincere and to filter individuals as well as businesses and markets. After screening applicants for proven social standing and reasoned proposals, those initially selected for grants then received basic bookkeeping training. The initial grant recipients felt both the collective pressure and the support of the community, as their results would determine the continuation of the program. This group dynamic served as a far more effective check against fraud or abuse than could any other mechanism. Micro-grant initiatives elsewhere have run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars and have focused on speed of distribution above thoroughness of process, resulting in limited success. By contrast, at a cost of well under $20,000, Jurf as Sukr is now a social center with more than 40 operational shops. This infused vitality was instrumental in securing funding from the Shi'a dominated provincial government to pave the main thoroughfare of this Sunni community. The resurrection of this now vibrant community owes its existence to the combined efforts of the BCT and the experience and knowledge of ePRT personnel.
15. Michael Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack, "Iraq Trip Report," Brookings Institute (August 2007), 10.
16. Shawn Dorman, "Iraq PRTs: Pins on a Map," Foreign Service Journal (March 2007), 24.
17. A recurrent joke about Baghdad 7 ePRT is "How many people are on the ePRT? Two, and one of them is on leave." This underscores the pervasiveness of the manning problem but overstates the reality, as this specific PRT has strong military staff support.
18. This refers to actual extreme individual instances; aged in their middle 70s, and a gross body size that limited their capacity to wear Personal Protective Equipment (body armor) or to travel in the confined spaces of military vehicles.
19. Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, "Review of the Effectiveness of the Provincial Reconstruction Team Program in Iraq," 18 October 2007, Arlington, VA, 17.
20. This includes, certainly, the many manifestations of civilian actors in the area, to include nongovernment organizations, independent initiatives of U.S. government agencies and their implementing partners. However, this also differentiates the separate layers of military presence as well. As CPT Jeremiah Fritz, ePRT Baghdad 7 Governance Lead puts it, "The ePRTs must work with the bde staff, but each battalion has ownership of the physical space and is of course then divided into companies and sometimes into platoons. Therefore we have to negotiate our way through myriad different approaches to non-lethal operations. All these personalities collide in 'support' of a single piece of ground."
21. Dorman, 27.
22. Dog-face diplomat. The military is an organization that promotes the team concept and esprit de corps through a phalanx of traditions and ritual. The main element comprising Task Force Marne is the Third Infantry Division, whose members are respectfully referred to as "Dog-Face" Soldiers, a tradition stemming from World War II. Each morning at division headquarters, Soldiers stand and sing the Dog-Face Soldier song. Howard Van Vranken, ePRT team leader, presented a section of the daily battle-update-brief to the Third Infantry Division commanding general MG Rick Lynch, as well as the brigade's commanders and assorted leadership of Multi-National Division-Center gathered there. He began with, "Good evening, Sir. It's another great day to be a Dog-Face Diplomat."
23. "The main point of divergence is in the time horizon," says foreign service officer Chuck Hunter, team leader for Provincial Reconstruction Team Babil, "with the military focused on short-term effects and State/USAID concerned more with long term outcomes." Dorman, 29.
24. Horacio Ureta, "Bidding Advice from PRT Anbar," Foreign Service Journal (March 2007), 24.
25. John Vandiver, "Cultural Advisors to Join 1AD for Next Iraq Tour," Star and Stripes European Edition (26 March 2008), "www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=53600" (23 April 2009).
26. FM 3-0, viii.
Sergeant First Class Jesse P. Pruett, U.S. Army Reserve, served as the "governance cell" noncommissioned officer in charge and provincial reconstruction team advisor for Task Force Marne in Operation Iraqi Freedom V. As a Civil Affairs Soldier, he served two tours in Afghanistan (2002-2006) and he has deployed to Bosnia, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. SFC Pruett currently holds a position with the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization. He holds a B.A. in international relations.
Note: This article was originally published in the September-October 2009 edition of Military Review.