Abstract for: Dynamics of Reconstruction Projects

Ongoing counterinsurgency operations in Iraq present a complex, dynamic environment in which traditional analytical methods struggle to explain the behavior over time. System Dynamics is extremely well suited to analyze this environment as the methodology focuses on understanding the structure of the system and the behavior it creates. This paper proposes a system dynamics model of reconstruction projects for essential services to examine one aspect of this operating environment. One of the many challenges that exist in this environment is determining the proper balance between the use of the Commanderís Emergency Response Program (CERP) for small scale and major reconstruction projects. This paper attempts to mitigate this challenge by analyzing the structure of the system, modeling the behavior of the system over time, and proposing policy recommendations to improve the system behavior. Although the model is not calibrated to historical data, it produces behavior consistent with behavior described in Army doctrine. The causal relationships provide valuable insights into the dynamic behavior of reconstruction efforts and their impact on essential services. With further calibration of the model, leaders can develop and evaluate policy alternatives for capacity development to mitigate the impact of the insurgency.