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    by Robert C. Orr
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    Wars, Guns, and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places
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    The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-first Century
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett
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    State-Building: Governance and World Order in the 21st Century
    by Francis Fukuyama
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    When States Fail: Causes and Consequences
    Princeton University Press
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    Building States to Build Peace
    Lynne Rienner Publishers
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    Making States Work: State Failure And The Crisis Of Governance
    United Nations University Press
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Entries in Senate Foreign Relations Committee (1)

Thursday
Jan282010

The Hollowing Out of USAID

Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) during the recent confirmation hearings for new USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah . . .

 

“During the last two decades, decision-makers have not made it easy for USAID to perform its vital function.  Reorganization initiatives resulted in the agency’s loss of evaluation, budget, and policy capacity.  There is a broad consensus among development experts that the loss of these functions at USAID is inhibiting the success of our development programs. Our development efforts will never be as effective as they should be if the agency that houses most of our development expertise is cut out of relevant policy, evaluation, and budgetary decisions.”

 

Senator Lugar went on to reference (S.1524), the new Foreign Assistance Revitalization and Accountability Act, which has made it out of committee but has not yet been voted on by the Senate or House.  The bill seeks to give USAID more autonomy and authority while making it more accountable. 

 

According to Senator John Kerry (D-MA), the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee . . .

 

"S.1524 intends to strengthen the capacity of USAID to more effectively undertake development programs in support of the Secretary [of State's] priorities.  We believe that diplomacy and development can and should be mutually reinforcing.  To that end, this bill will provide appropriate tools so USAID can function at the highest level and achieve key foreign policy priorities under the guidance of the Secretary.  I would also like to point out that maintaining institutional distinction between our diplomatic agenda and our development programs is essential.  Quite simply, development and diplomacy often operate on different timelines, assumptions and objectives requiring specialized expertise and capabilities.  We must ensure that our development programs coordinate effectively with our diplomatic programs, but this does not mean we should merge the two functions into one entity.”

 

Based on certain hyperbolic news reports, there seems to be a bit of a "war" brewing between the Senate and State Department over how to manage development assistance (a recent showdown between Defense and State over assistance funding was just settled . . . in DOD's favor).  There's also word that the "Development Community" is worried "the policy center of gravity seems to be forming" over in Foggy Bottom, thereby weaking the development community's mandate and interests. 


It'll be interesting to see how things unfold when the upcoming Quadrennial Diplomacy & Development Review and the Presidential Study Directive on Global Development are released later this year.

 

Finally, for those interested in Defense matters, which make up the largest of the "Ds", Inside Defense has a preview (read: leaked) copy of the QDR, which is supposed to come out next week.