Patrick Cronin on How to Rebuild USAID

Patrick CroninPatrick Cronin, Senior Advisor and Senior Director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), published an op-ed in the Daily Caller in response to Monday’s leaked Presidential Study Directive (PSD-7) draft, “A New Way Forward on Global Development.”  Cronin acknowledges the many positive reforms in the draft, but points to the challenges that lie in implementation.  See excepts from his piece below and read the full oped here:

“The restoration of USAID will take herculean reform and uncommon patience, if it is even possible at all. No doubt leaking the Presidential Study Directive this week, in advance of the National Security Strategy and months before the completion of the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, was deliberate. The Obama administration (or at least a portion of it) figures it can stake out its agenda (and perhaps claim on resources) before the rest of the interagency consumes all of the policy and budget oxygen inside the Beltway. As with development itself, however, this directive will only be as good or bad as its implementation, and on that score there are many questions that will need to be addressed.”

“All of this is exemplary. The hard bits are its agenda are embedded in the rest of the directive, which calls for a deliberate development policy, a new business model, a new architecture, and a new compact with Congress.”

“The directive assumes the acquiescence of the State Department, which hitherto has made clear that development programs must be conducted within the context of policy made at Foggy Bottom. Will State loosen its reins over policy, including development policy, in order to give USAID the autonomy to work effectively and make America a global leader in development? There are sound reasons for letting development work free from much of the short-term thinking of foreign policy. At the same time, will the State Department and the White House, for that matter, really have confidence that USAID will be there when it is needed to stabilize conflict and post-conflict states or when development is a useful part of a whole-of-government response? The directive includes paragraphs on each of these two points. The forthcoming QDDR report in September will be telling, as least with respect to how far President Obama will go in making USAID more independent once again.”

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