IRAQ: MNSTC-I Small Rewards Program Hopes to Aid in Capturing Insurgent

BAGHDAD, Iraq – The Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq is using the “Small Rewards” program to collect information or non-lethal assistance that results in the capture of a person, weapon or documents on a wanted list. The effort, officials hope, will identify and capture insurgent weapons and explosive-making materials. 

Rewards are given to foreign nationals and Iraqi citizens (including members of the Iraqi army and police) who provide qualifying information. The Small Rewards program is designed, over time, to reduce the capabilities and threats associated with insurgent activities. All informants are kept strictly confidential.  

The program is operated through a Small Rewards Review Board chaired by MNSTC-I Chief of Staff Col. James F. Laufenburg and managed by U.S. Army Col. Michelle Altieri, an MNSTC-I staff judge advocate. The Small Rewards Review Board studies each nomination packet and makes recommendations on whether the packet qualifies for a reward. If the information or non-lethal assistance meets the criteria, the Board makes recommendations for the final reward amount. 

“The guidelines are quite clear, this is not a weapons buy-back project, but rather is designed to lead us to substantive weapons caches. Rewards under the program are not given for any information gathered by methods contrary to DoD policy,” Altieri said. 

There is no established reward amount, as each nomination packet that is submitted is considered separately based upon its overall strategic value and impact.  

The Board’s chairman, also the approval officer, can authorize an award of up to $2,500. Once rewards are approved, the reward monies are normally received by the informant within 48 hours. 

Information leading to the capture of more expensive munitions or wanted insurgents can net up to $50,000. Rewards from $50,000 to the top award of $200,000 must be approved by the Defense Department. Larger rewards require additional approval and take 45 days for payment. Informants may choose cash or an in-kind benefit as a reward under the Small Rewards program.  

Iraqi security forces remain eligible for the rewards through April 2005 as long as the information received was not a direct result of their normal duties. 

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