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The QDDR: Casting a Wide Net into a Sea of Quandaries November 19, 2009

Posted by Rebecca Williams in Analysis.
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Anne-Marie Slaughter, the Director of Policy Planning for the State Department, spoke at American University this week about the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) and its role in shaping future US foreign engagement.  Overall, the take-away from Monday’s talk was the enormous task the QDDR faces, including countless moving parts, stakeholders, and actors that must be incorporated into the review process and considered in the formulation of future policy and budget planning, focusing on the FY 2012 budget.

The QDDR has been divided into five working groups, co-chaired by assistant secretaries and undersecretaries from State and USAID.   The five reviews address significant missions and capabilities the Department and USAID will need in the future:

1. A New Architecture of Global Cooperation

This group is addresses global challenges through the prism of multilateral partnerships and strategic engagement.  It is examining existing multilateral and bi-lateral partnerships with international organizations, emerging powers, and non-governmental actors, such as businesses, NGOs, labor groups, think tanks and universities, involved in global cooperation and engagement.

Questions to consider:

– How can the US engage with non-state actors to further US foreign policy objectives?

– What organizational changes are needed within the US government that would make this easier to accomplish?  What new capacities might be needed?

2. Whole-of-Government Solutions

It is difficult to shape a US foreign policy strategy when the tools are not better integrated. Foreign assistance, for example, currently involves 12 departments, 25 agencies and nearly 60 government offices, a fragmented effort with competing or overlapping goals and uncoordinated functional capabilities.  This group is considering how to organize and coordinate the diaspora of foreign assistance and other international programs, shaping whole-of-government solutions that will create a stronger policy and lead to more effective programs.

Questions to consider:

– Where should leadership responsibilities be located?

– How can State and USAID be organized and connected so that their contributions can be complementary?

– How can the US best rationalize and streamline field operations of multiple agencies

3. Investing in the Building Blocks of Stronger Societies

This group is examining how best to implement 21st century approaches to achieve sustainable progress in development and security. Both development and security assistance are used to confront instability; however, the solution to building stronger societies often cuts across multiple areas of assistance.

Questions to consider:

– What enhanced capabilities are needed to effectively implement security programs?

– What new capabilities are needed in foreign and development assistance to contribute to poverty reduction and long-term development?

– How should the US engage the need to strengthen governance in weak states?

4. Building a Strong Civilian Capacity to respond to Crisis

This group is considering how to build a civilian crisis-response capacity while defining the best possible balance between civilian and military action in the relief and rebuilding process.

Questions to consider:

– How can near-term crisis response be linked to long-term development? How does the US build capacity to engage in the longer-term task of stronger governance in weak and fragile states?

– Is it appropriate for the US to develop a large civilian capacity that could handle another Iraq or Afghanistan?  Or, is it more appropriate to plan for smaller engagements?

– How does state effectively partner with the military and lead in areas where civilian action is appropriate?

– How can the US most effectively tap into a non-traditional workforce to expand capacity quickly in specialized areas where the need arises?

5. The management and organization of the foreign policy agencies

This group is considering what capabilities the US needs in the Foreign, development, and civil services of the 21st century.  It focuses on contracting and question of contracting out, human resources and career development, and the management of the policy and resource planning processes at State and USAID.

Questions to consider:

– When is it appropriate to outsource and how can State and USAID manage outsourcing more effectively?

– What skill sets and career path should the diplomats of the future have?

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Comments»

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