The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA or “the authority”) was established approximately one month after United States and coalition forces took control of Baghdad in Iraq on April 9, 2003.1 The authority’s mission was “to restore conditions of security and stability, to create conditions in which the Iraqi people can freely determine their own political future, (including by advancing efforts to restore and establish national and local institutions for representative governance) and facilitating economic recovery, sustainable reconstruction and development. This report discusses two views on how the authority was established, reviews selected characteristics of the authority, identifies statutory reporting requirements concerning the authority and the reconstruction of Iraq, and explores several policy issues.
Responsibility for overseeing reconstruction in post-conflict Iraq initially fell to the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA). Established in early 2003, ORHA had been replaced by June of that year by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). On June 28, 2004, CPA ceased operations. Whether CPA was a federal agency is unclear. Some executive branch documents supported the notion that it was created by the President. Another possibility is that the authority was created by, or pursuant to, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1483. This report discusses the issue of CPA's status as an agency, including the uncertain circumstances regarding its creation and demise, as well as relevant legislation and subsequent lawsuits.