Recent Redesign Proposals Converge on 10 Priorities for Reform

Recently a number of distinguished thinkers – including MFAN’s Co-Chairs – have published recommendations for upgrading the U.S. diplomacy and development architecture. To inform the administration and Congress as they consider redesign options, below is an analysis of these proposals that identifies ten common priorities for reform.

Taken together, these ten recommendations would strengthen the United States’ ability to project its values and advance its economic and security interests around the world.

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10 common redesign priorities from ACVFA, CGD, CSIS, and MFAN

One Development Voice

  1. Keep development and diplomatic functions separate, with an independent lead aid agency*
  2. Clarify lines of authority by aligning development functions – including MCC and PEPFAR – with the lead aid agency*
  3. Return full budget, policy, and planning authority to the lead aid agency, ending duplication with the State Department Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources (F)
  4. Strengthen development finance capabilities that catalyze private sector investment in developing countries

Coherent Development Approach

  1. Direct the lead aid agency to create a Global Development Strategy in consultation with Congress, addressing such challenges as increasingly concentrated poverty in fragile states
  2. Align aid with local priorities to build local capacity, mobilize local resources, and create sustainable progress
  3. Responsibly transition countries from assistance to broader partnerships with the U.S.

Upgraded Development Structures & Systems

  1. Reduce inefficiencies and constraints of food aid, earmarks, and Presidential initiatives
  2. Increase data and evidence for better learning about what works
  3. Improve systems for HR, IT, transparency, and data, building on positive USAID efforts


USAID’s Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid (ACVFA): Recommendations of the Efficiency and Effectiveness in Organization Working Group

Center for Global Development (CGD), Jeremy Konyndyk and Cindy Huang: A Practical Vision for US Development Reform

Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Bipartisan Taskforce on Reorganization: Reforming and Reorganizing U.S. Foreign Assistance

Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) Co-Chairs George Ingram, Tessie San Martin, and Connie Veillette: A New Foreign Aid Architecture Fit for Purpose and MFAN’s Guiding Principles for Effective U.S. Assistance

* This recommendation aligns with the Atlantic Council’s State Department Reform Report

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