Jeffrey LewisNSPD on Iraqi Reconstruction

The FAS Project on Government Secrecy has posted the NSPD “United States Government Operations in Iraq,”(May 11, 2004) that defines the organization and structure of the U.S. presence in Iraq after the transition to Iraqi sovereignty by June 30.

The New York Times presents a pretty cogent analysis of the implications of the document, noting:

While these matters were being debated Thursday, a new directive from President Bush came to light giving the State Department major control over how to spend American reconstruction money in Iraq once sovereignty is transferred, taking authority away from the Pentagon.

In recent months, the State and Defense departments have squabbled over who will control reconstruction spending, but State Department officials expressed satisfaction on Thursday that their department would have all the authority it needed, while calling on the Pentagon for help.

In a directive signed by Mr. Bush on May 11 and obtained by The New York Times, Mr. Bush declared that the American ambassador to Iraq “shall be responsible for the direction, coordination and supervision” of all American personnel except for military personnel.

The directive also said that the Defense Department would set up a Project and Contracting Office to provide “support” for activities in Iraq. State Department officials said that the wording was carefully confined to “support” and not “control.”