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Washington Independent Examines QDDR Process, Implications For State Dept., USAID

The Washington Independent examines the State Department’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, or QDDR, announced in June by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Anne-Marie Slaughter, the State Department’s director of policy planning; James Michael, a senior USAID official; and Deputy Secretary of State Jack Lew are “in charge of creating the document — a process of managing five working groups chaired by top-level agency heads to produce an interim report in January and a final document by next September.”

During “an expansive interview” with the Washington Independent, Slaughter said the QDDR is “not an abstract planning exercise … It’s a planning exercise that does connect to the budget, that’s very important, but the implications go far beyond the budget. The budget is the tool to implement what we’re going to come up with. This is really what I think secretaries of state should be doing, which is a kind of farsighted look into how the United States is going to implement its foreign policy agenda in the 21st century.” In response to a question about whether the document “will result in institutional changes at the State Department and USAID, Slaughter answered simply, ‘Yes.’”

The article outlines how Slaughter and the other QDDR leaders are evaluating the question, “What do we need?” According to the Washington Independent, “The presence of senior officials from both” the State Department and USAID “in the QDDR process ensures that it doesn’t remain confined to Slaughter’s policy-planning shop.” The Washington Independent writes, “Slaughter indicated … that the State Department and USAID need to strengthen their partnerships with different multilateral institutions, but also different U.S. agencies and departments, military and civilian – but not replicate their existing strengths.”

The publication continues, “Only one policy option has been ruled out: dissolving USAID and moving development work to the State Department. ‘There will be no merger,’ Slaughter said. ‘Secretary Clinton has made clear she wants a strong AID, a well-resourced AID, [and] wants diplomacy and development well-integrated’” (Ackerman, 10/22).