Grading the QDDR with the Five ‘A’s

EDITOR’S NOTE: Though believing the release of the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review’s findings will be anti-climactic, Todd Moss says he is still keen to see what the report contains. The vice president for corporate affairs and senior fellow at the Center for Global Development intends to judge QDDR on five A’s: answers, authority, autonomy, access and appointments.

After an 18-month process, the QDDR, laying out U.S. capabilities and the roles of the State Department and USAID, is due “soon.”  After so much anticipation and drama, I suspect the release will be an anti-climax. Nevertheless, I’m still keen to see what it says.  I’ll be judging the results based on a few broad questions: Does the QDDR move U.S. development policy toward the high bar set by Secretary Clinton’s rhetoric of “elevating development” within the so-called 3Ds?  Are the steps outlined likely to make USAID, as promised, the “world’s premier development agency”? How faithful is the QDDR to the strategy laid out by the PPD?  In particular, here is my report card, the Five “A”s:

  • Answers. Does the QDDR provide specifics on who really does what or does it punt on the tough decisions?

  • Authority. Are the authorities of USAID enhanced, like control over its own budget or (patently development) initiatives like Feed The Future?  Or does the QDDR just expand State Department colonization of even more areas where USAID should logically be the lead?

  • Autonomy. Does USAID gain any additional space to set priorities and provide development perspectives (like how to promote economic growth) within the interagency?  Or is USAID left stuck implementing decisions by other agencies?

  • Access. Is USAID really given a seat at the adults’ table in the national security process or is it just an invited guest at the whim of State?

  • Extra credit: Appointments. I know the QDDR won’t say anything specific about the shameful management vacancies some 24 months after the election, but while they are rolling out such a high profile report and (I’m guessing) declaring the resurrection of USAID, can Shah get some staff, please?

Related CGD entry: 

Will the QDDR Recognize that Development and Diplomacy are Distinct Disciplines?

Re-published with permission by the Center for Global Development. Visit the original article.

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