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Quadrennial Review of Diplomacy and Development May 28, 2009

Posted by Rebecca Williams in Analysis.
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Last Wednesday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee considered the two-year Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011 (H.R. 2410), which now awaits the House vote.  This legislation proposes the creation of a Quadrennial Review of Diplomacy and Development (QRDD) which would require the President to develop a national strategy on U.S. diplomacy and development. The proposed four-year review would identify key objectives and missions for United States foreign policy and foreign assistance policies and programs, along with the budgetary requirement for carrying out such a strategy.

On the defense side, there is of course the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), which outlines broad, defense objectives and strategic military threats.  The QDR incorporates strategy, programs, and resources as it assesses and defines the military’s mission.  Currently, there is no diplomatic or development version of the QDR. 

The proposed QRDD addresses a genuine need within the International Affairs ‘Function 150’ budget to institutionalize long-term planning into U.S. diplomacy and development efforts.  But, foreign assistance and development institutions suffer from a “diaspora” and incorporating every foreign assistance program into the QRDD is no easy task.  Within the International Affairs budget alone there are more than 15 agencies and departments that provide some type of foreign assistance.  Additionally, more than 20 federal departments, whose budgets fall outside of Function 150, have programs engaged overseas, including typically domestic departments such as Justice and Treasury. 

Equally important, modern foreign assistance efforts are often multi-agency endeavors. The Mérida Initiative, for example, is a foreign assistance program that provides equipment, training, and support to Mexico, Central America, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti to combat criminal gangs and indict unauthorized drugs, goods, and arms.  While there is a domestic border enforcement component to the Mérida Initiative that is unlike most U.S. foreign assistance programs, numerous departments and agencies are involved including the Department of State, the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, International Aid, and the Department of Treasury.  In order to avoid duplication and inefficiency, the efforts of the large number of agencies and departments involved in foreign assistance need to be integrated and coordinated.  The QRDD, at the very least, addresses this fundamental need.

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1. The Week That Was: May 25-29 « Budget Insight - May 29, 2009

[…] Part of that bill is the proposed Quadrennial Review of Diplomacy and Development (QRDD), examined here. Last week, we examined the newly announced $110 million in emergency aid to Pakistan and its […]


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