The Scowcroft Institute Hosts Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR)

September 21, 2010

On September 20, 2010, the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs welcomed Stuart W. Bowen to campus as part of the International Affairs Seminars.  Mr. Bowen spoke to students and guests regarding how oversight is being provided to the Iraq Reconstruction efforts.  He first explained that the purpose of his office was to conduct investigations, audits, and inspections on the many projects being conducted in Iraq.  Mr. Bowen provided examples of wasteful spending such as correctional facilities that were started but never completed as well as examples of beneficial investments such as a hospital that is working well in its Iraqi community. 

Mr. Bowen outlined several lessons that have been learned through the reconstruction efforts in Iraq.  These lessons are available in a report, Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience, on the SIGIR website ( Among the points Mr. Bowen made were that security is essential before any large-scale reconstruction can succeed; that developing the capacity of both people and systems is crucial; and that programs should be directed towards the priorities and needs of the indigenous culture.  Mr. Bowen concluded his presentation with recommendations for improving future reconstruction efforts.  These recommendations included creating executive authority below the level of President to provide essential oversight, and avoiding the creation of ad hoc agencies to manage stabilization and reconstruction efforts.

Stuart Bowen holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of the South, and received a law degree from St. Mary’s Law School.  He spent four years on active duty as an intelligence office in the U.S. Air Force.  Mr. Bowen served President George W. Bush as a Deputy Assistant, Deputy Staff Secretary, and Special Assistant to the President and Associate Council.  Mr. Bowen was appointed to his current position in October 2004.  He also is a partner at the law firm of Patton Boggs LLP in Washington, D.C. , and is licensed by the Texas State Bar, Board Certified in Administrative Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, a variety of lower Federal Courts, and all Texas state courts.

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