By Maj. James Lowe, National Training Center, Operations Group, Public Affairs OfficerJanuary 31, 2009
FORT Irwin, Calif. -- The Department of State has begun training their Provincial Reconstruction Teams during rotations in "The Box".
"NTC is working toward positive interagency operations which will help us solve future conflicts overseas," said Maj. J.P. Smith, Senior Non-Lethal Trainer, Bronco Team, Operations Group.
For Rotation 09-03, Ms. Greta Holtz, incoming head of the Office of Provincial Affairs in Iraq, Department of State, visited Operations Group to view how to best integrate their real-world teams into the National Training Center training scenario. They aim for State employees who will go to Iraq or Afghanistan to gain realistic experience in successfully dealing with both the U.S. military and local people.
Initially, military provided the personnel for the PRTs. Beginning in 2005, the Department of State began manning the teams. The teams are focused to assist provincial and local governments to deliver essential needs like schools, roads and sewage and water services.
Ms. Holtz lives in Maryland and is married with three children. Her husband will man the home front while she serves in Iraq for up to a year and three months. She has served 17 of her 21 years in the Dept. of State in overseas assignments with 14 of those years in Arabic speaking countries.
"My purpose for this visit is to see the training the PRT leaders get and that this training continues to receive high-level support in Washington. I want this training mandatory for all of my guys," said Ms. Holtz.