Washington D.C.— Today, the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee held a hearing to explore how the challenges experienced in standing up Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Iraq and Afghanistan should inform interagency collaboration efforts on national security issues.  

Today’s expert witnesses included Michèle Flournoy of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Ambassador Carlos Pascual of the Brookings Institution, Ambassador Barbara Bodine of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and Nora Bensahel of the RAND Corporation.

   “Our witnesses’ testimony today made clear the extent to which interagency reform is not only a matter of overcoming structural obstacles, but also of achieving real cultural change within the Departments of Defense, State, and other U.S. government institutions,” said Chairman Vic Snyder (D-AR). 

   “Secretary Gates has illustrated that good leadership can effect real change in the interagency arena,” Snyder continued.  “We must continue to move forward to create the interagency capabilities our nation needs to secure our future.”

   “Today’s hearing offered an opportunity to hear from experts on what lessons we should learn from the PRT program and processes for planning and executing stability operations,” said Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO). 

   “One of the challenges this subcommittee faces as we close out our work on issue is figuring out how—if at all—the Congress can move legislation that will ensure that agencies like the Departments of Defense and State will work in lockstep—seamlessly applying the tools of national power,” concluded Akin.

The Subcommittee will hold its next hearing on February 14th, to discuss the steps being taken to learn lessons from PRTs in Iraq and Afghanistan and better prepare for and execute future interagency operations.  Witnesses have been invited from the Under Secretary of Defense (Policy), the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict and Interdependent Capabilities, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, and the Director of Foreign Assistance and Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.