Provincial Reconstruction Teams: How Do We Know They Work?
ARMY WAR COLL STRATEGIC STUDIES INST CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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Over the past six years, provincial reconstruction teams PRTs have played a growing role in the U.S. counterinsurgency effort in Afghanistan. PRTs are one of several organizations working on reconstruction there, along with the U.S. Agency for International Development, numerous nongovernmental organizations, and the Afghan governments National Solidarity Program. Perhaps unsurprisingly, something of a debate has emerged over whether PRTs are needed. This monograph, by Dr. Carter Malkasian and Dr. Gerald Meyerle of the Center for Naval Analyses CNA, argues that civilian reconstruction agencies cannot do the same job as the PRTs. While these agencies remain essential for longterm economic and political development, the PRTs conduct reconstruction in ways that help create stability in the short term. Absent the PRTs, the build in clear-hold-build efforts deemed essential to effective counterinsurgency would fall flat. Accordingly, the authors recommend that the United States give the PRTs the lead role in reconstruction activities that accompany any surge of military forces into Afghanistan. These findings are based on over two months of field research in 2007 and two months in 2008 by a CNA team with four different PRTs--Khost, Kunar, Ghazni, and Nuristan--plus interviews with the leadership of ten others. The CNA team divided up to work with each of the four PRTs and was able to directly observe PRT missions, interview Afghan leaders, and interact with officials from civilian development organizations. The Strategic Studies Institute is pleased to offer this monograph as a contribution to the national security debate on this important subject.
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