Authors of Six Major Aid Proposals Release Unified Plan for State Department and USAID Redesign

October 20, 2017 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered by the Co-Chairs of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN), George Ingram, Tessie San Martin, and Connie Veillette.

The MFAN Co-Chairs, along with the authors of five other State Department and USAID redesign proposals, have released a unified plan on how the reorganization effort can build on a bipartisan legacy of greater efficiency and effectiveness with U.S. assistance.*

The unified proposal lends more specificity to the ten common themes MFAN identified among the various redesign structures proposed by: former USAID Administrators J. Brian Atwood and Andrew Natsios; MFAN Co-Chairs George Ingram, Tessie San Martin, and Connie Veillette; USAID’s Advisory Council on Voluntary Foreign Assistance (ACVFA) Efficiency and Effectiveness in Organization Working Group; Jeremy Konyndyk and Cindy Huang of the Center for Global Development (CGD); the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Task Force on Reforming and Reorganizing U.S. Foreign Assistance; and the Atlantic Council.  The plan offers concrete, actionable steps that can be taken by the Trump Administration and Congress to strengthen the coherence, effectiveness, and accountability of the U.S. aid architecture.

Together, the authors articulate four major recommendations for improving U.S. diplomatic and development functions:

  1. An independent lead aid agency, USAID, with full budget and policy authority including clear lines of accountability, Cabinet-rank for the USAID Administrator, and reduced duplication between State Department and USAID functions to enable each to fulfill its unique mission.
  2. A strengthened development finance function for the U.S. Government through the creation of a new Development Finance Corporation that consolidates the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and other development finance tools and provides additional authorities and capabilities.
  3. A coherent and overarching U.S. Global Development and Humanitarian Strategy led by USAID that centers on sustainability by aligning aid with local priorities and working to create the conditions under which aid is no longer needed.
  4. An upgraded and flexible suite of systems and mechanisms to better manage personnel, procurement, information, and evidence.

“This bipartisan group consists of former USAID Administrators, foreign policy and aid experts, leaders from NGOs and think tanks, and former senior Congressional staff,” said George Ingram, MFAN Co-Chair and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.  “The fact that we were able to come to agreement speaks volumes to the importance of strong, capable yet distinct foreign policy institutions.”

“In order to achieve our foreign policy goals the 3 D’s must be equally elevated.” said Tessie San Martin, MFAN Co-Chair and President & CEO of Plan International USA.  “We have an opportunity to truly align structure with mission, and this plan shows how that can be achieved.”

“Consensus is rare these days in Washington,” said Connie Veillette, MFAN Co-Chair and Senior Fellow at The Lugar Center, “but this diverse group has accomplished a coherent proposal that provides the administration and Congress with recommendations for smart reform that represent areas in which cost savings can be found and greater accountability achieved.”

This plan represents an enormous opportunity to upgrade, streamline, and improve the structures that govern U.S. foreign policy while simultaneously achieving greater impact and more accountability for taxpayer dollars.  The proposal has been submitted to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, USAID Administrator Mark Green, White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, General H.R. McMaster of the National Security Council, the Chair and Ranking Member of the relevant authorizing and appropriations Committees, and the Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus for Effective Foreign Assistance.  The MFAN Co-Chairs look forward to continued engagement with the administration and Congress on the redesign process.

* This unified plan represents the views of the individual report authors (below) and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the institutions with which they are affiliated. 


J. Brian Atwood and Andrew Natsios: Rethinking U.S. National Security: A New Role for International Development

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

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

Center for Global Development (CGD) Senior Policy Fellows 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

Atlantic Council:  State Department Reform Report

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