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Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction

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Title: Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction  
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Subject: George W. Bush's second term as President of the United States, Iraq War
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Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction


The Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) was created in October 2004 as the successor to the Coalition Provisional Authority Office of Inspector General (CPA-IG). SIGIR is an independent government agency created by the Congress to provide oversight of the use – and potential misuse – of the $52 billion U.S. reconstruction program in Iraq. Stuart W. Bowen, Jr. was appointed to the position of CPA-IG on January 20, 2004 and continues to serve as SIGIR’s Inspector General to this day. SIGIR reports directly to Congress, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Defense.

SIGIR’s mission is to provide independent and objective oversight of U.S.-funded Iraq reconstruction policies, programs, and operations through comprehensive audits, inspections, and investigations. As of July 2009, SIGIR has issued 22 Quarterly Reports to Congress, 303 audits and inspections, 386 recommendations, and four Lessons Learned reports. SIGIR representatives have also testified before Congress on 27 separate occasions. Moreover, SIGIR’s investigative and oversight work has resulted in 29 criminal indictments, more than $81 million in U.S. taxpayer funds saved or recovered, and $224 million being put to better use.

In February 2009, SIGIR issued its fourth Lessons Learned report, Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience. Hard Lessons provides the first comprehensive account of the U.S. reconstruction effort in Iraq, chronicling the myriad challenges that confronted the rebuilding program, and concludes with 13 lessons drawn from the reconstruction experience.

Influence on Law and Policy. SIGIR reports have led to several important changes in U.S. reconstruction policy. These changes to the law and to key agencies’ policies and procedures have increased management efficiencies and influenced the development of more effective approaches to overseas contingency operations.

Some examples of how SIGIR’s oversight work has affected U.S. policy include: (1) the reorganization of the Department of State’s anticorruption programs in Iraq; (2) the imposition by Congress of stricter limitations on the amount of Commander's Emergency Response Program funds that can be used on any one project; (3) the establishment of improved processes for transferring U.S.-funded assets to the government of Iraq; (4) the issuance by the Office of Management and Budget of updated procurement guidance, including a number of management and operational best practices that should be considered in planning contingency operations and responding to national emergencies; and (5) the establishment by the Congress of two new special inspectors general modeled on SIGIR – SIGAR, to oversee U.S.-funded reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, and SIGTARP, to oversee the Department of Treasury’s $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). SIGIR has provided resources and expertise to both SIGAR and SIGTARP during their establishment and development.

Recognition. SIGIR’s work has been recognized in three awards from the President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency. SIGIR’s findings and analyses have also contributed to key policy papers produced by Congressional Committees, think tanks, and policy review bodies, such as the U.S. Army Gansler Commission on Contracting, the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Iraq Study Group.

External links

Official websites
  • U.S. Public Law 108-106, November 6, 2003 -- legislation that created the position of Coalition Provisional Authority Inspector General
  • Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction website
Other websites
  • Washington Post, May 5, 2005
  • The Guardian, July 7, 2005
  • Baltimore Sun, July 30, 2005
  • Esquire, November 30, 2006
  • USA Today, October 30, 2007
  • New York Times, November 22, 2008
  • Washington Post, February 2, 2009
  • Wired , March 6, 2012
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