Leaders of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, met May 14, 2010, at Contingency Operating Site Kalsu for the second Provincial Reconstruction Team conference of the unit's current deployment to southern Iraq.

"Although this was the second PRT conference we held on COS Kalsu, it was the first time we focused primarily on the PRT deputy team leaders," said Maj. Gary Bantad, Civil-Military Operations officer for the 3rd HBCT.

The deputy team leaders for all five provinces in the 3rd HBCT's operational environment assumed their responsibilities just last month, Bantad said. The five provinces include Babil, Wasit, Karbala, Diwaniyah, and Najaf.

"The conference brought the PRT deputy team leaders together so the brigade (leaders) can provide them with information on how we can enable the PRTs," Bantad explained.

During the meeting, leaders discussed contracting, rule of law initiatives, information operations, psychological operations, Human Terrain Team operations, medical capabilities, and the brigade aviation capabilities.

Also discussed was the Commander's Emergency Relief Program.

"These are funds that resource high-payoff projects and have proven to be an excellent enabler for winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people," Bantad said. "CERP projects can provide urgent humanitarian relief and provide employment opportunities and essential services for the Iraqi populace."

CERP provides commanders a way to influence key people in, from key political leaders and provincial councils to shaykhs and farmers, Bantad explained.

"It is also used to augment and support PRT programs and initiatives," he said. "As we move toward stability operations, CERP is the 'weapon of choice' for advancing the brigade's civil capacity efforts."