Cablegate: Mandatory Field Training Exercise for Provincial

DE RUEHGB #2993 3171355
P 131355Z NOV 09


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E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) This message is Sensitive but Unclassified; handle
accordingly. Not for distribution on the Internet.

2. (SBU) Summary: This is an action request. Embassy Baghdad
requests that State include a mandatory military field training
component in the series of training courses currently required for
civilians going out to assignments in PRTs. Current Iraq PRT
pre-deployment training includes 15 days of predominantly
classroom-based training that comprises three mandatory FSI courses:
PRT Training (AR-420), Iraq Familiarization (FT-610), and
Diplomatic Security Foreign Affairs Counter-threat (OT-610). The
field training component includes two voluntary options of different
lengths and focus: a nine-day joint PRT-U.S. Army Brigade dynamic
field exercise and a five-day military familiarization and PRT
Training course culminating exercise. The Embassy requests that
NEA/I now make the civil-military field training initiatives a
mandatory part of PRT pre-deployment training for career State
employees and 3161s going to PRT positions in Iraq. USAID also
recognizes the potential value of the additional pre-deployment
training for its PRT Representatives, and will consider the option
of sending its PRT staff, while taking into consideration the
individuals' prior experience, the timing of vacancies, and the cost
of the additional training. End summary.

3. (SBU) A field-based exercise is needed to complement the
classroom-based coursework and offer PRT personnel the opportunity
to learn and develop the skills necessary to function effectively
from the moment they arrive in Iraq. Team Leaders (TLs) have urged
us to institute such training. Most PRT personnel do not have the
training or the experience to prepare them for a PRT's intense
partnership with and reliance on the military, nor for the special
demands of the high-stress, high-ambiguity circumstances they will
face in Iraq. As a result, it takes them months on the ground
before they become effective. Intense and immersive field training
dramatically accelerates this learning curve.

4. (SBU) NEA/I has initiated a voluntary nine-day field training
exercise to complement current classroom training with a dynamic
field exercise. Currently, select members of the PRT (Team Leaders,
reporting and public diplomacy officers, program managers, and USAID
reps) are approved to attend these exercises at Combat Training
Centers (CTCs) in Fort Irwin, CA and Fort Polk, LA, where they train
with a U.S. Army brigade slated to deploy to Iraq. NEA/I is also
developing a shorter five-day military familiarization and
culminating exercise at Camp Atterbury, IN for those who cannot
attend a CTC rotation.

5. (SBU) During a CTC rotation, trainees enter a simulated Iraqi
province and interact with Iraqi officials, tribal and religious
leaders, and community groups (all Iraqi role players) in the course
of pursuing PRT and brigade objectives. They become familiar with
the structure, function and rhythm of a brigade and conduct joint
military-PRT planning and operations, learning to navigate the
inherent tensions between a brigade's priorities and time horizon
and those of a PRT. The field exercise is completely immersive,
intense, and challenging. Participation will dramatically improve
the performance and effectiveness of PRT personnel, especially in
the first months of their tour.

6. (SBU) Recently-arrived PRT leaders who completed the field
Q6. (SBU) Recently-arrived PRT leaders who completed the field
training endorse it enthusiastically for its realism and for the way
it surpasses the "crash and bang" course in preparing civilians for
Iraq. Team leaders have urged us to institute such training, noting
that it immerses the team member in real life situations -- from
meetings with key local officials, to convoy operations, to attacks.
It goes beyond lectures by providing actual practice at interacting
with actual military units preparing to deploy. To quote one team
leader," Such training should be mandatory. No responsible military
leader would send troops or officers into such situations without
such training and neither should we."

7. (SBU) The sophistication of training offered at the Combat
Training Centers (CTC) in Fort Irwin and Fort Polk makes it
qualitatively superior to the training at Camp Atterbury. However,
the CTC training is longer and requires trainees to be fit into a
pre-existing schedule of brigade rotations.

8. The Embassy requests that NEA/I send as many PRT trainees as
possible to the CTCs for field training, instead of limiting this
opportunity to the PRT's leadership core. Camp Atterbury would
remain the more flexible field training venue for the remainder
unable to attend a CTC.

9. (SBU) CTC participation will cost approximately $1154 per person.
The Camp Atterbury course will cost $805 per person. NEA/I has
already budgeted for these costs. Emphasis should be on maximizing
attendance at the CTCs, but those unable to attend a CTC rotation
should go to Camp Atterbury. Post strongly encourages other
agencies contributing personnel to PRTs to make the field training
mandatory for their detailees. Other agencies will have to bear
responsibility for scheduling and paying the attendance costs of
their own personnel.

10. (SBU) The Administration has made clear that the PRT program
remains one of its highest priorities for Iraq, and will continue
through at least December 2011. It is important that we send
well-prepared individuals into the field who are able to immediately
deal with a lingering insurgency, political strife, and weak
governance, while operating in thorough coordination with their
military counterparts.


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