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Sec. Of State Clinton Begins Discussing QDDR Draft With U.S. Lawmakers

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton “began rolling out her long-awaited revamp of U.S. diplomatic strategy on Wednesday, meeting lawmakers to discuss the ‘Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review’ (QDDR) that is expected to be formally announced later this year,” Reuters reports.

“An initial overview of our proposed recommendations was presented to members of Congress and we’ve asked for their feedback,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said (Quinn, 11/17).

The Washington Post obtained a copy of the QDDR draft, which is marked NODIS, indicating that it is not intended for distribution, Foreign Policy’s blog “The Cable” notes. “To advance American interests and values and to lead other nations in solving shared problems in the 21st century, we must rely on our diplomats and development experts as the first face of American power. We must lead through civilian power,” the draft says (Rogin, 11/17). “The plan’s centerpiece is a strengthening of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which Clinton hopes to revitalize as the world’s premier development agency,” Reuters writes (11/17).

It proposes increasing USAID’s control “over its own budgeting and policy planning” and recommends tripling the agency’s mid-level hires, the blog writes. USAID would also “assume leadership and accountability for the Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative right away, as well as eventually assuming control of the Global Health Initiative, according to the draft document,” reports “The Cable” (11/17).

U.S. ambassadors abroad will function like “CEOs” in charge of several projects carried out by USAID in addition to a number of other U.S. agencies, Reuters reports. It calls for a reform of operations in Washington to encourage cooperation. The draft proposes “a new Bureau for Crisis and Conflict Operations to take the lead on crisis response and prevention, and says the State Department and USAID must in [the] future develop joint strategic plans to cope with long-term challenges such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan,” the news service writes (11/17).

“The document also proposes a host of new organizations to be established within the State Department: These include an Office of the Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and Environmental Affairs, which will include a new Bureau of International Energy Affairs; a Special Coordinator for Sanctions and Illicit Finance; and an Office of the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights,” according to “The Cable” (11/17).

“Conflict prevention will become a core mission, the draft report said. The State Department will also build ‘a new global architecture of cooperation’ and engage more intensely with regional blocs,” Bloomberg reports. “Building ties to multilateral institutions is another priority, in part to deal with such new transnational tensions as the competing energy claims in the South China Sea,” the news service adds (Gaouette, 11/18). “The Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review is an ongoing commitment,” the draft states. “Some of these recommendations are already underway; many will be launched in the next year; and some require a longer period to implement and achieve,” it says (November 2010). 

“State Department officials offered no estimate of the cost [of implementing the QDDR], saying an analysis was still being prepared,” the Associated Press/Washington Post notes (Lee, 11/17).

Todd Shelton, senior director of policy for InterAction, discussed his response to the document with the Washington Post’s “Checkpoint Washington” blog. According to Shelton, “diplomacy and development should be coordinated and complement one another, but the two should not be confused as the same thing.” He added that the draft “appears to give with one hand but take away with the other. It talks about building USAID’s capacity in a variety of ways. For example, it formally recognizes the new budget office at USAID, but then makes clear its recommendations will be subject to review and final approval by the Deputy Secretary of State” (Kessler, 11/17).