Last week, the Departments of Treasury and Defense added data to the Foreign Assistance Dashboard. See below for a guest post from MFAN Principal Sarah Jane Staats, coauthored by Will McKitterick, that explains what information has been added and what this means in terms of transparency. This post originally appeared on the Center for Global Development’s Rethinking US Foreign Assistance blog.
A Good Day to Bury Good News? US Foreign Assistance Dashboard Adds Defense and Treasury Data
The US Foreign Assistance Dashboard has a habit of quietly releasing good news just before Washingtonians leave for long holiday weekends. It added Millennium Challenge Corporation data two days before Thanksgiving in 2011. State and USAID announced aid data standards and a reporting schedule the Thursday before the 2012 Christmas holiday. And lest you miss it before skipping town for this Memorial Day weekend holiday, the Foreign Assistance Dashboard has new data from the departments of Defense and Treasury.
Five US agencies that have a role in US foreign aid now have some—but not all—data on the Foreign Assistance Dashboard. These five agencies accounted for roughly eighty-six percent of aid spending in 2011. The Foreign Assistance Dashboard expects twenty-two separate US federal agencies and departments to report data.
Source: U.S. Overseas Loans and Grants (Greenbook). FY 2011 economic assistance obligations. http://gbk.eads.usaidallnet.gov/ *Other includes: Peace Corps, Department of Interior, Department of Labor, United States Trade Development Agency, United States African Development Foundation, Inter-America Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Justice, Department of Commerce, Department of Transportation, Federal Trade Commission, Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
It’s great to see Defense and Treasury data on the Foreign Assistance Dashboard, including Treasury’s planned technical assistance and multilateral development and trust fund contributions over a nine year period plus obligated and spent data from FY2006-FY2012. Defense data is limited to FY2011 and FY2012, but includes planned, spent and obligated numbers. The State Department, by contrast, has posted planning data but no obligated or spent data. Treasury also joins MCC in providing forward-looking FY2014 budget numbers—an important feature if the Foreign Assistance Dashboard aims to inform current spending decisions.
We’ll dig into the data in more detail over the coming days. There is still a long way to go before the Foreign Assistance Dashboard has the complete picture of where and how the United States invests its aid dollars, but new Treasury and Defense data are good steps in the right direction. I’ll be on the lookout for more good news to sneak out just before the next holiday. July 3rd, anyone?