From the Publisher: The billions of dollars expended in Iraq constitute the largest relief and reconstruction exercise in American history. SIGIR's lessons learned capping report characterizes this effort in four phases (pre-war to ORHA, CPA, post-CPA/Negroponte era, and Khalilzad, Crocker, and the Surge). From this history, SIGIR forwards a series of conclusions and recommendations for Congress to consider when organizing for the next post-conflict reconstruction situation. Over the past five years, the United States has provided nearly fifty billion dollars for the relief and reconstruction of Iraq. This unprecedented rebuilding program, implemented after the March 2003 invasion, was developed to restore Iraq's essential services, build Iraq's security forces, create a market-based economy, and establish a democratic government-all in pursuit of U.S. interests in a stable and free Iraq. Did the U.S. rebuilding program achieve its objectives? Was the money provided well-spent or wasted? What lessons have we learned from the experience? Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience, a report from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR), answers these and other important questions by presenting a comprehensive history of the U.S. program, chiefly derived from SIGIR's body of extensive oversight work in Iraq, hundreds of interviews with key figures involved with the reconstruction program, and thousands of documents evidencing the reconstruction work that was-or was not-done. The report examines the limited pre-war planning for reconstruction, the shift from a large infrastructure program to a more community-based one, and the success of the "Surge" in 2007 and beyond. Hard Lessons concludes that the U.S. government did not have the structure or resources in place to execute the mammoth relief and reconstruction plan it took on in 2003. The lessons learned from this experience create a basis for reviewing and reforming the U.S. approach to contingency relief and reconstruction operations.