In Iraq, Still No Strategy
Quite correctly, the GAO cites improvements in security and the advent of a thoughtful, practical, viable campaign plan. But those aren't enough -- what's missing from our Iraq policy is a clear strategy, something that links improved security and other operational goals to the national security of the United States and its interests in the world. The GAO concludes:
Weaknesses in "the way forward" and the Joint Campaign Plan are symptomatic of recurring weaknesses in past U.S. strategic planning efforts. Our prior reports assessing (1) the National Strategy for Victory in Iraq, (2) U.S. efforts to develop the capacity of Iraq's ministries, and (3) U.S. and Iraqi efforts to rebuild Iraq's energy sector found strategies that lacked clear purpose, scope, roles and responsibilities, and performance measures. For example, we found that the NSVI only partially identified the agencies responsible for implementing the strategy, the current and future costs, and Iraq's contributions to future needs. Although multiple U.S. agencies have programs to develop the capacity of Iraqi ministries, U.S. efforts lack an integrated strategy. Finally, although the United States has spent billions of dollars to rebuild Iraq's oil and electricity sectors, Iraq lacks an integrated strategic plan for the energy sector. We recommended that the National Security Council, DOD, and State complete a strategic plan for Iraq and that State work with the Iraqi government to develop integrated strategic plans for ministry capacity development and the energy sector. Clear strategies are needed to guide U.S. efforts, manage risk, and identify needed resources.
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