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Title: AUDITING FAILURE: The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, 2012-2021
Authors: Sullivan, Patrick
Royal Military College of Canada
Denton, Peter
Hennessy, Michael
Keywords: oversight of military operations
strategic effectiveness
U.S. War in Afghanistan
civil-military relations
inspector general
performance auditing
Issue Date: 5-Sep-2023
Abstract: Theories of civil-military relations substantiate a linkage between ineffective oversight and strategic failure in the American military experience. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) served as a primary oversight agent for the U.S. War in Afghanistan, with the mandate to report information and recommend program improvements to both the U.S. Congress and to the Executive Branch agencies. Using the lessons learned by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, two historical case studies, and Craig Whitlock’s The Afghanistan Papers, this dissertation builds an objective framework to assess SIGAR’s findings and recommendations, and then traces the Congressional and Executive responses. The results demonstrate SIGAR comprehensively audited failure, but despite this assessment, Congress did not hold the Executive Branch accountable for program improvement through legislative action. This failure of the oversight regime thus contributed to the overall strategic failure by the United States in Afghanistan.
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