Find a Security Clearance Job!


ON POINT II: Transition to the New Campaign

The United States Army in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM May 2003-January 2005

Part III

Toward the Objective: Building a New Iraq

Chapter 9
The US Army and the Reconstruction of Iraq



The Coalition’s reconstruction efforts in Iraq in 2003 and 2004 were monumental in scale. Even though the US Government had conducted relatively limited planning and resource allocation for this effort before hostilities began in March 2003, in a short time the CPA initiated a major program that attempted to coordinate funds, agencies, contractors, and Iraqi needs. According to the January 2005 SIGIR report to Congress, by the end of 2004 the Coalition had overseen the influx of $60.3 billion into Iraq for humanitarian relief and reconstruction of the country.140 This money was provided by Iraqi funds and other donor nations, with the United States appropriating $24.1 billion.141 In 2003 and early 2004 most of this money went into the reconstruction of the oil sector, the electrical grid, and other large-scale projects. But because of the emergence of a lethal insurgency and other systemic problems, these efforts had achieved relatively minimal gains, especially given the amount of resources invested. At the end of 2004, Iraq’s oil production remained below the prewar level, and electricity flow, while increased across the country, was still sporadic in places because of the grid’s age and its vulnerability to insurgent attacks. By early 2005 Coalition spending on reconstruction had already met the estimate given to Paul Bremer in the summer of 2003 by the World Bank, and the Coalition was still far from achieving its goals in Iraq.

Within this larger effort, the American Soldier played an important role. Although unprepared and largely untrained for reconstruction activities, the US Army in OIF assumed that mission as readily as it adopted the other key operations that comprised the new full spectrum campaign. As this chapter has shown, Soldiers became involved in reconstruction in numerous ways. They secured reconstruction sites and became project managers, coordinating funds with contractors and Iraqi officials. Their ingenuity was perhaps best demonstrated by the development of the CERP at CJTF-7 and its rapid employment at the unit level. It is at least arguable that their efforts to rebuild sewage plants, refurbish schools, and generally improve conditions in their AORs had a greater impact on the overall campaign than the larger projects managed by the CPA and IRMO. Certainly Soldiers saw the beneficial impact of employing Iraqis and showing the Iraqi population that the Coalition intended to make their lives better.

The Army’s experience in OIF suggests strongly that US forces will be involved to some degree in reconstruction efforts in future campaigns. In accordance with the Army’s doctrine for full spectrum operations, units and leaders will have to prepare to conduct basic reconstruction efforts. Still, beyond doctrinal imperatives, the participation of Soldiers in future reconstruction operations seems likely for one simple reason: the US military is the only agency with the logistical, administrative, organizational, and manpower resources required for reconstruction in situations where security had not been fully established. Thus, the Soldier becomes the major provider of the reconstruction effort in these types of conflicts. If OIF is a model, it probably best represents how well American Soldiers can adapt to missions of this type and how determined they can be in their attempts to improve the lives of others even in environments where resources, training, and guidance are less than adequate.


Chapter 9. The US Army and the Reconstruction of Iraq

Join the mailing list