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Highlights

Since 2001, Congress has appropriated about $640 billion for the global war on terrorism, the majority of this for operations in Iraq. In January 2007, the President announced The New Way Forward to stem violence in Iraq and enable the Iraqi government to foster national reconciliation. This new strategy established goals and objectives to achieve over 12 to 18 months, or by July 2008. GAO discusses progress in meeting key goals in The New Way Forward: (1) improve security conditions; (2) develop capable Iraqi security forces; and help the Iraqi government (3) enact key legislation, (4) spend capital budgets, and (5) provide essential services. GAO also discusses U.S. strategies for Iraq. GAO reviewed documents and interviewed officials from U.S. agencies, the United Nations, and the Iraqi government. GAO also had staff stationed in Baghdad. Since May 2003, GAO has issued over 130 Iraq-related audits, which provided baseline information for this assessment. GAO prepared this report under the Comptroller General's authority.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of State 1. As The New Way Forward and the military surge end in July 2008, and given weaknesses in current DOD and State plans, an updated strategy is needed for how the United States will help Iraq achieve key security, legislative, and economic goals. Accordingly, DOD and State, in conjunction with relevant U.S. agencies, should develop an updated strategy for Iraq that defines U.S. goals and objectives after July 2008 and addresses the long-term goal of achieving an Iraq that can govern, defend, and sustain itself. This strategy should build on recent security and legislative gains, address the remaining unmet goals and challenges for the near and long term, clearly articulate goals, objectives, roles and responsibilities, and the resources needed and address prior GAO recommendations.
Closed - Implemented
DOD and State addressed recommendations in "Securing, Stabilizing, and Rebuilding Iraq: Progress Report: Some Gains Made, Updated Strategy Needed." Agency actions are classified. Contact GAO for more information.
Department of Defense 2. As The New Way Forward and the military surge end in July 2008, and given weaknesses in current DOD and State plans, an updated strategy is needed for how the United States will help Iraq achieve key security, legislative, and economic goals. Accordingly, DOD and State, in conjunction with relevant U.S. agencies, should develop an updated strategy for Iraq that defines U.S. goals and objectives after July 2008 and addresses the long-term goal of achieving an Iraq that can govern, defend, and sustain itself. This strategy should build on recent security and legislative gains, address the remaining unmet goals and challenges for the near and long term, clearly articulate goals, objectives, roles and responsibilities, and the resources needed and address prior GAO recommendations.
Closed - Implemented
DOD and State addressed recommendations in "Securing, Stabilizing, and Rebuilding Iraq: Progress Report: Some Gains Made, Updated Strategy Needed." Agency actions are classified. Contact GAO for more information.

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