Sec. Clinton’s Prepared Remarks on QDDR Rollout

See below for some highlights from Secretary Clinton’s remarks at today’s Town Hall meeting on the QDDR:

I am proud today to unveil the first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review – the QDDR. This is a sweeping effort that asks a simple question: How can we do better? How can we adapt to a world of rising powers, changing global architecture, evolving threats, and new opportunities? How can we look ahead, prepare for, and help shape the world of tomorrow?

The QDDR is a blueprint for how we can make the State Department and USAID more nimble, more effective, and more accountable. A blueprint for how our country can lead in a changing world through the use of what I call “civilian power” – the combined force of all of the civilians across the U.S. government who practice diplomacy, carry out development projects, and act to prevent and respond to crisis and conflict.

Leading through civilian power saves lives and money. With the right tools, training, and leadership, our diplomats and development experts can defuse crises before they explode and create new opportunities for economic growth. We can find new partners to share burdens and find new solutions to problems that might otherwise require military action. And where we must work side by side, in Afghanistan and Iraq but also in many fragile states around the world, we can give our military the partner it needs and deserves.

Through the QDDR, we have tried to minimize costs and maximize impacts, avoid overlap and duplication, and focus on delivering results. Across our programs, we are redefining success based on results achieved rather than dollars spent. And this will help us make the case that bolstering U.S. civilian power is a wise investment for American taxpayers that will pay off by averting conflicts, opening markets, and reducing threats.

First, we will adapt to the changing diplomatic and development landscape of the 21st century. The State Department and USAID will direct and coordinate integrated civilian operations that draw on skills and strengths from across the U.S. government to make a real difference on the ground… And we will ensure that our development experts have the tools they need to lead projects themselves, not just dispense grants and manage contracts.

The second major area of reform is development… a core message of the QDDR, following the President’s Policy Directive on Development, is that development is a strategic, economic, and moral imperative and that we must elevate it alongside diplomacy as a pillar of American civilian power.

To do this, we will focus our investments in key sectors where we have special expertise and the ability to make the biggest impact: in food security, global health, climate change, sustainable economic growth, democracy and governance, and humanitarian assistance. And we’ll emphasize the rights of women and girls throughout.

We are determined to rebuild USAID as the world’s premier development agency. The USAID Forward agenda, which grew out of the QDDR process, is helping the agency recruit, train, and retain top development professionals; reduce dependency on contractors; and improve oversight and accountability. USAID has established a new Bureau of Policy Planning and Learning to promote innovation, research, and evaluation and has created a new office charged with developing the agency’s annual budget proposal and overseeing budget execution. We will make our aid more transparent by – among other steps – creating a new web-based “dashboard” that will publish data on State and USAID foreign assistance. And starting immediately, USAID will assume the leadership of Feed the Future, the Administration’s global food security initiative. With the Global Health Initiative, we are targeting the end of 2012 to transition its leadership to USAID, provided that USAID and its partners meet the benchmarks that we have set together. These are important steps that will help our development experts around the world do their work more effectively.

The third key area of change deals with how we work to prevent and respond to crisis and conflict. America’s civilian power must be able to strengthen fragile states, stop conflicts before they start, and respond quickly when prevention fails. We will make conflict prevention and response a core mission of the State Department and USAID… As we make these organizational changes, we’ll be strengthening State and USAID’s ability to lead, support, and coordinate civilian operations that use skills from across the federal government, and we’re also going to be strengthening our cooperation with partner nations and multilateral organizations like the United Nations.

Supporting our efforts in diplomacy, development, and conflict and crisis, the fourth set of reforms will help us all work smarter and better to deliver results for the American people. This is always critically important, but especially in times of tighter budgets and limited resources. So we will improve the way we manage contracts and procurement by rebalancing our workforce, enhancing oversight and accountability, and emphasizing local leadership.

As we move forward with our reforms, we will harness the power of innovation – applying new technologies, testing new approaches, and searching for creative solutions to entrenched problems. We will practice what you’ve heard me call 21st Century Statecraft, embracing not just new tools and technologies but also the innovators and entrepreneurs behind them.

We will expand and accelerate our public-private partnerships, because we recognize that both government and the private sector bring important skills to the table.

In short, we are changing the way we do business from top to bottom.

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