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Cablegate: Prt Team Leaders Conference: Managing

VZCZCXRO8232
PP RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #2846/01 2961229
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 231229Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5200
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BAGHDAD 002846

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

NEA/I FOR WWEEMS, CWELLS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL IZ
SUBJECT: PRT TEAM LEADERS CONFERENCE: MANAGING
RELATIONSHIPS AND CHANGE

REF: BAGHDAD 00386

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Embassy Baghdad's Office of Provincial
Affairs (OPA) held its quarterly Team Leaders Conference of
Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) at Forward Operating
Base (FOB) Adder, home to the Dhi Qar PRT. Embassy, NEA, and
military officials briefed Team Leaders on plans for the
changing PRT footprint in light of U.S. troop withdrawals and
decreased funding, emphasizing the change in emphasis from
infrastructure restoration to capacity building.
Participants discussed forging civilian-military teams and
the best use of local Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in PRT
operations. National elections will be a focus of PRT
activity over the next several months, and the Embassy will
look to PRTs for reporting and analysis. In breakout groups
and question and answer sessions, OPA and Team Leaders
discussed strategic priorities and transition issues in the
context of building Iraqi capacity in critical areas such as
water, agriculture, land reform, and the economy. END
SUMMARY.

FRAMING THE CHALLENGE: IMPLEMENTING U.S. GOALS IN A NEW
ENVIRONMENT
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

2. (SBU) Minister Counselor for Political-Military Affairs,
Ambassador Cameron Munter, addressed partnering with the U.S.
military. The 2010 Joint Campaign Plan (JCP) between the
Department of State and the Department of Defense outlines
how the Military and the Embassy will set goals and measure
achievements. Unlike the previous plan, however, the JCP
contains timelines: August 2010 when U.S. forces reduce from
130,000 to 50,000, and December 2011, when all U.S. combat
forces are scheduled to leave Iraq. Another implementation
strategy lists the military's non-security functions, and
then determines which roles civilians (including the UN and
NGOs) can play, and which functions can be eliminated. This
last "handover" will help determine OPA's resource allocation
post-August 2010 and post-December 2011.

3. (SBU) Minister Counselor for Political Affairs, Ambassador
Gary Grappo, reviewed the U.S. vision for Iraq, including
Iraq's evolving relations with its neighbors. He identified
the following as the five greatest internal challenges facing
Iraq: sectarianism; political development; economic capacity
building, services, health, and education; balance of power
between branches of government; and Arab-Kurd tensions. On
elections, Ambassador Grappo explained the importance of the
passage of an elections law but noted that political deal
making and coalition building would happen after the
elections. He urged PRTs to develop provincial strategy
papers based on the Mission's election strategy plan, and to
continue reporting from their unique vantage points.

4. (SBU) NEA's Chris Wells presented the Washington
perspective on the civilian presence in the provinces.
Accompanying the military drawdown, ePRTs will close by Aug
31, 2010. By May 2011 the Department of State will take
over operation of the enduring sites and eliminate several
more PRTs. Washington's long-term goal is two consulates and
a few Provincial Diplomatic Teams (final numbers and
locations to be determined).

5. (SBU) The Director for Assistance Coordination at Embassy
Baghdad, Russ Schiebel, outlined the Mission's transition
goals. In the face of a shrinking budget allocation for
Iraq, he emphasized that the PRTs' should focus on
governance, rule of law, capacity building, and economics.
The objective is to develop Iraq's self-reliance.


EYES ON THE PRIZE: NATIONAL ELECTIONS
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

6. (SBU) A session on the national elections scheduled for
Q6. (SBU) A session on the national elections scheduled for
January 2010 highlighted the Mission's focus on supporting a
credible and Iraqi-led process. PRTs must identify media
outlets, assist in voter education programs, and report.
Although the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC)
wants international observers at the election, no countries
have yet committed to providing them. LTG Charles Jacoby,
Commander Multi-National Corps-Iraq (MNC-I) pledged military
support in election efforts, noting that this support is
contingent upon a request from IHEC.

7. (U) According to USAID's Deputy Director of the Democracy
and Governance, USAID will provide training, database
development, information technology programming, supplies and
equipment, and ballot development for the election as part of

BAGHDAD 00002846 002 OF 003


its ongoing electoral assistance program.


THE VIEW FROM MULTI-NATIONAL CORPS-IRAQ
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

8. (SBU) LTG Jacoby identified four potential game-changers:
Unsuccessful Sunni reconciliation, Shi'a opportunism, GoI
democratic failings, and Arab-Kurd tensions. PRT efforts,
meanwhile, in governance, rule of law, and economic
development can reinforce stability. Reflecting on the
transition of U.S. Forces out of Iraq's cities on June 30,
General Jacoby called this shift "a tactical challenge, but a
strategic imperative," one that has made the partnership
between U.S. and Iraqi Security Forces stronger. This
relationship is based on Iraqi sovereignty and the legitimate
desire to partner with U.S. forces. Looking ahead, General
Jacoby cited national elections, the reduction of U.S.
Forces, and the transition from MNF-I to US Forces-Iraq
(USF-I) as decisive points over the coming months.


WORKING WITH IRAQ ON ITS PRIORITIES
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

9. (SBU) Acknowledging that U.S. efforts must dovetail with
Iraqi priorities, Team Leaders urged the Embassy to encourage
the central government to pass national laws and define
national strategies for water, agriculture, land reform, and
economic investment. Only after the GOI defines macro-level
policy can real progress occur at the provincial, let alone
district, level. As one Team Leader explained, "Training in
economic activity is useless if there is no national Iraqi
economic policy to encourage or even allow local
entrepreneurism...and more advanced activities like foreign
investment will never come without sound policies."


CIVILIAN-MILITARY COOPERATION
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

10. (U) Civilian and military participants agreed that a key
to PRT success is cooperation between the Team Leader and
Brigade Combat Team (BCT) Commanding Officer. The Team
Leader and Deputy Team Leader of PRT Diwaniyah presented best
practices from their collaboration, emphasizing that personal
relationships set the tone. Many Team Leaders urged that PRT
members attend brigade meetings to foster cooperation, as
well as host social functions to build esprit de corps. The
third piece of the PRT is the Military Support Element, and
participants emphasized the need to ensure these members are
invested in the process.

11. (U) The Diwaniyah Deputy Team Leader noted that for the
military to put into practice the civilian-led effort, the
Commander's Intent must make clear that the PRT has the reins
in economics and governance issues. Military commanders need
to see that the PRT and BCT can work together. As one Team
Leader put it, the question BCT Commanders should be asking
is not "What can the PRT do to help the military win the
war?," but rather, "What can the military do to help the PRT
win the peace?"

12. (U) Many conference participants cited the need to
coordinate PRT and BCT efforts on civil capacity projects.
Where possible, teams link QRF and CERP projects to achieve a
goal, such as using CERP for construction and then QRF to
stock it with computers and train staff. Some PRTs have a
regular Project Working Group comprised of individuals
representing the PRT, Brigade, and local actors such as
directors general or district level council members. Several
participants cited the satellite PRT concept, where a
civilian embeds with a military battalion in a Qada
(district) outside of the provincial capital.


SUSTAINING EFFORTS THROUGH LOCAL STAFF
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

13. (SBU) OPA encouraged PRTs to recruit local Subject
Q13. (SBU) OPA encouraged PRTs to recruit local Subject
Matters Experts (SMEs) in order to create a lasting presence
in the provinces. Advantages of hiring SMEs include low
cost, quick personnel actions, and their ability to move
freely around cities and towns. In addition, bringing them
on board will give the teams the much-needed institutional
memory and continuity of effort that will be essential when
the PRTs are downsizing.

BAGHDAD 00002846 003 OF 003


WHAT WE WANT: OPA'S TO-DO LIST
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

14. (SBU) Team Leaders' primary concern was policy guidance
from the Embassy. OPA is creating a lessons-learned
initiative and working to preserve institutional knowledge
through a classified Intellipedia site.

15. (SBU) Other requests and notable areas of concern:
* Lack of coordination among PRTs. OPA should
facilitate communications.
* Help and guidance on how to encourage local elections.
Some recommended a two-pronged strategy with the Embassy
pressing the idea with the GoI in Baghdad and PRTs talking
with local leaders.
* Embassy does not put out adequate information in
Arabic. PRTs want more material translated, such as speeches
by President Obama and statements by Ambassador Hill.
*In some provinces, USAID representatives do not share
information or cooperate on projects and funding.
*In order to present a more "civilian" appearance to
local interlocutors, where security permits, PRTs would like
to travel in non-tactical vehicles. OPA allowed that PRTs
can make such moves with the concurrence of BCT commanders
and RSO.
*Team Leaders want details on the staffing and base
location plan through 2011 as the U.S. Military draws down in
Iraq.
*As the number of PRTs shrinks and SMEs play an
increasing role, the Embassy should budget for more SMEs
along with computers, cell phones, and other supplies for
each.
*Some form of interoffice mail (perhaps through RSO Air)
would improve efficiency. PRTs have to make special trips to
Baghdad to retrieve team members' passports or deliver/drop
off program money.


OTHER CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

16. (SBU) Other sessions focused on the military's mission
change from counterinsurgency (COIN) to security force
assistance (SFA) and civil support operations (CSO), working
groups of regional blocs, and a tour of a training facility
developed by PRT Dhi Qar that provides a venue for
international trainers to train Iraqis in everything from
health care to cheese-making. Training facility staff also
hosted participating Team Leaders for a lunch that featured
governors and provincial council representatives from the
provinces of Dhi Qar, Muthanna and Maysan.
FORD

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