U.S. and allied troops, led by General Tommy R. Franks, disarm Iraqi forces, secure oil fields and borders, establish a national police force, and repair key infrastructure. After a few months, the U.S. begins supervising everything from public finances to schools. Outside agencies provide humanitarian aid.
Up to two years and beyond
U.S. civilian agencies may be ill-equipped to do the job. Damage to oil fields and infrastructure, or continuing civil strife, could complicate matters.
With at least 5,000 troops for security, U.S. agencies help U.N.-linked organizations, aid groups, and Iraqi civil servants assume various administrative duties. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund restructure government debt as well as manage finances, oil revenue, and trade. Transition government leaders are selected.
One to four years
Without clearly improving living standards and maintaining political stability, the U.S. and its allies risk a backlash.
Iraqi leaders assume control of the government, judiciary, police force, and oil fields as a new government is elected. Oil output is at least double 2003 levels. The U.S. maintains military base for as long as needed.
Five years or longer
Finding popular political leaders with respect for human rights and putting economy on a solid footing will be tough.
Data: Conrad C. Crane and W. Andrew Terrill, U.S. Army War College, Pentagon, State Dept.