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Highlights

Public Law 110-28 requires GAO to report to Congress by September 1, 2007, on whether or not the government of Iraq has met 18 benchmarks contained in the Act, and the status of the achievement of these benchmarks. The benchmarks stem from commitments first articulated by the Iraqi government in June 2006. In comparison, the Act requires the administration to report in July and September 2007 on whether satisfactory progress is being made toward meeting the benchmarks, not whether the benchmarks have been met. To complete our work, we reviewed government documents and interviewed officials from U.S. agencies; the UN; and the government of Iraq. We also made multiple visits to Iraq during 2006 and 2007. Our analyses were enhanced by approximately 100 Iraq-related audits we have completed since May 2003.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of State 1. In preparing future reports to Congress and to help increase transparency on progress made toward achieving the benchmarks, the Secretary of State should provide information to the President that clearly specifies the status in drafting, enacting, and implementing Iraqi legislation.
Closed - Implemented
Public Law 110-28 required GAO to report to Congress by September 1, 2007, on whether the government of Iraq had met 18 benchmarks contained in the Act, and the status of the achievement of these benchmarks. In comparison, the Act required the administration to report in July and September 2007 on whether satisfactory progress had been made toward meeting the benchmarks. Regarding the legislative benchmarks, in September 2007, we reported (Securing, Stabilizing, and Rebuilding Iraq:Iraq Government Has Not Met Most Legislative, Security, and Economic Benchmarks, 09/04/2007,GAO-07-1195) that the Administration's July 2007 report cited progress, but provided little information on what step in the legislative process each benchmark had reached. Therefore, we recommended that, in preparing future reports to Congress and to help increase transparency on progress made toward achieving the benchmarks, the Secretary of State provide information to the President that clearly specifies the status in drafting, enacting, and implementing Iraqi legislation. State agreed with this recommendation. Beginning on January 3, 2008, State restructured its Iraq Weekly Status Report to highlight information on governance and legislation issues.
Department of Defense 2. In preparing future reports to Congress and to help increase transparency on progress made toward achieving the benchmarks the Secretary of Defense, and the heads of other appropriate agencies, should provide information to the President on trends in sectarian violence with appropriate caveats, as well as broader quantitative and qualitative measures of population security.
Closed - Implemented
The Department of Defense (DOD) and the Intelligence Community have included information in classified reports that satisfy GAO's recommendation. In addition, unclassified DOD reporting in accordance with the Department of Defense Supplemental Appropriations Act 2008 (Section 9204, Public Law 110-252) also satisfied this recommendation.
Department of Defense 3. In preparing future reports to Congress and to help increase transparency on progress made toward achieving the benchmarks the Secretary of Defense, and the heads of other appropriate agencies, should provide additional information on the operational readiness of Iraqi security forces supporting the Baghdad security plan, particularly information on their loyalty and willingness to help secure Baghdad.
Closed - Implemented
The Department of Defense (DOD) and the Intelligence Community have prepared classified reports that satisfy GAO's recommendation. In addition, unclassified DOD reports in accordance with the Department of Defense Supplemental Appropriations Act 2008 (Section 9204, Public Law 110-252) also satisfied this recommendation.

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