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Lew and Steinberg testify before Senate February 4, 2009

Posted by Molly in Analysis.
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All about Jack Lew and Jacob Steinberg at the Senate confirmation hearing.  In testimony before the SFRC, both Steinberg and Lew stressed the importance of elevating global development in the U.S. foreign policy toolkit, following on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s statements during her own confirmation hearing last week. SFRC Members and the Deputy Secretary nominees also stressed the need to better prioritize, manage and coordinate U.S. foreign assistance programs.

Read Mobilizing Foreign Assistance Network’s entire compilation here.  Full testimony to follow when it becomes available.

Strategic planning at State / F Process

Lew in response to question from Menendez on F process:

Well, Senator, as we discussed the other day, we’re going to take a careful look at the F (ph) bureau and the F (ph) process. I believe, if confirmed, it will be one of my responsibilities to look across the department, included all — you know, AID and — and all other foreign assistance programs to play that coordinating role. You know, we’re — we’re going to, you know, take the process that was developed in the F (ph) process and actually broaden it, because that process didn’t take into account MCC and PEPFAR the same way that we think all of the programs ought to be looked at kind of horizontally. We will have to make some judgments about — about the organizational structure once we’re there and knowledgeable enough to do it in an informed way. But I think it kind of — the – the opening view is that a lot of progress was made in taking a look across the foreign assistance programs. But not enough, we need to — to — to make more progress.

Lew in response to question from Feingold on intragovernmental coordination:

I think that the — it all begins with a strategic planning process. If we don’t have a clear vision of what we need and what we want, we’re not going to be able to make the right resource allocation decisions. And we have to be able to look beyond this week, next week, or even next year. Some of these skills take longer to get out there and to recruit the people, to deploy them effectively. We need to take a long view.

    Expanding State Department personnel

    Lew in response to a question from Lugar on State Department personnel and capacity:

    Senator, as I’ve gotten — gone through the conversations in preparation for this hearing, I’ve developed a very strong sense that the department does not have the resources that it needs. And it goes back a number of years. It’s not just in the last one or two… I think we owe it to them to give them the resources that they need so we don’t ask 1,000, you know, AID Foreign Service officers to cover the whole world at a time when some regions, like Iraq and Afghanistan, have enormous demand. We’re spreading a very small group of people very, very thin. They’re dedicated. They work hard. But it’s just not realistic to think that they can be everywhere at every time. I think we’re going to need to grow the — the Foreign Service and the Civil Service over time. It’s not a one-year decision that we go from where we are to where we need to be. And I look forward to working with this committee to identifying the areas where the needs are greatest, where we can work collaboratively to get the resources, very cognizant of the difficult financial times we’re in.

    There’s probably few people more sensitive than I am to what it means to be facing the current deficit that we have. But I would argue that it is very shortsighted if we don’t look at the challenge we have in terms of pursuing our foreign policy interests. And not withstanding the fiscal conditions, invest in building the foreign policy institutions that this country needs and the new president and the secretary need to effectively implement that foreign policy.

    If we look at some of the areas where you’ve taken a leadership role in terms of civilian response, I’ve been very impressed at the thought that’s gone into developing an approach to have a civilian response capacity. I look at the numbers and I look at the world and the two don’t match. There’s — they’re just not big enough. We — we have to have a broader imagination if we’re really going to successfully shift responsibilities back to the civilian side.

      Photo credit: Senator Richard Lugar’s Office

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