Iraq Provincial Reconstruction Teams: Flawed from the Start, How Perverse Incentives and Unintended Outcomes Impacted Success   [open pdf - 429KB]

This thesis was presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Military Art and Science degree. "The Iraq Provincial Reconstruction Team program (PRT) was part of the larger U.S. Government effort to rebuild Iraq. This thesis explores how institutionalized rules created perverse incentives which produced deleterious outcomes. The study applies the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework to four case studies of PRT activities: The Commander's Emergency Response Program, The Quick Response Program, The Local Governance Program, and the Basrah Modern Slaughterhouse Project. The study identifies a number of ways in which the rules governing the PRTs resulted in negative outcomes. The rules encouraged a trial and error approach that is not consistent with a wicked problem set. The intentionally ad hoc structure of the individual PRTs contributed to a lack of a unified programmatic vision and prevented the development of a comprehensive plan for the reconstruction of Iraq. PRTs were overly inward-looking when it came to measuring success. They had incentives to rely on performance metrics which had little connection to the critically important developmental objectives of beneficiary ownership and sustainability."

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