This special report document, Hard Lessons, reviews the Iraq reconstruction experience from mid-2002 through the fall of 2008. It is not an audit. Rather, it arises from from congressional mandate to provide advice and recommendations on policies to promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in programs created for Iraq’s relief and reconstruction. This report presents a chronological history of the reconstruction program, threading together a number of themes, including:

  • the enormous chelates that security problems posed for rebuilding efforts;
  • the dramatic and frequently reactive course-changes in reconstruction strategy;
  • the turbulence engendered by continual personnel turnover at every level;
  • the waste caused by inadequate contracting and program management practices;
  • the poor integration of interagency efforts caused by weak unity of command and inconsistent unity of effort.