Contours of QDDR Crystallizing

state-department-logo-and-clinton-199a-042909Sixteen months after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) would conduct the first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), a draft summary has been presented to Congress as reported by The Washington Post, and gives us a first glimpse of changes we can expect to see at both agencies.

It boldly leads off by stating: “To advance American interests and values and to lead other nations in solving shared problems in the 21st century, we must rely on our diplomats and development experts as the first face of American power.  We must lead through civilian power.”

Modeled after the Pentagon’s Quadrennial Defense Review, the QDDR is designed to “improve the efficiency and effectiveness of State and USAID in delivering results for the American taxpayer, by modernizing their capabilities and aligning their efforts as core pillars of America’s civilian power.”  According to the draft, the exercise will serve as “an ongoing commitment to review, right-size and institutionalize reform.”

With respect to elevating and strengthening USAID, the draft puts the agency in charge of the Obama Administration’s global hunger and food security initiative called “Feed the Future” – which MFAN has been calling for – and plans to eventually give USAID oversight responsibility for the administration’s Global Health Initiative.  In addition, USAID’s capacity would continue to be ramped up with additional mid-career hires following a 38% decline in its workforce between 1990 and 2007, according to the report.

On coordination, the draft calls for the policy planning offices at State and USAID to develop a Joint Strategic Plan, which would then feed into a single, multi-year Integrated Country Strategy from the Chief of Mission that combines all country-level planning –though it is made clear that the development component of the strategy would be formulated by USAID.  The Chiefs of Mission would be held accountable “as CEOs of multi-agency missions” and be involved in “high-level interagency decision-making in Washington.”

On the State side, there would be internal restructuring to include: an Office of the Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and Environmental Affairs, which would include a new Bureau of International Energy Affairs; a Special Coordinator for Sanctions and Illicit Finance; and an Office of the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, which would include a new Bureau for Crisis and Conflict Operations that would absorb the existing Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS).

The document also appears to move closer toward a unified national security budget – a notion Clinton has been promoting recently – by applying the joint planning and budgeting process from Iraq and Afghanistan to other complex situations.

Among other notable principles is a continued emphasis on “country ownership” – including greater use of local country systems to strengthen local government, civil society and private sector capacity – and on women and girls in both development programs and conflict prevention and recovery.

Implementation of the QDDR will be jointly overseen by the Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources and the USAID Administrator.

To read The Cable’s take on the QDDR summary, click here.

For the Washington Post article, click here.

You Might Also Like