The Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review released by the U.S. State Department in December fails to justify U.S. President Barack Obama’s pledge to double the country’s foreign aid budget, research fellows of a conservative U.S.-based think tank say.
While the QDDR promises to change the way the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development do business, it relies heavily on “old-fashioned government expansion” and appears to “make more bureaucrats less accountable by further diluting and expanding the government’s development bureaucracy,” Helle Dale and James Roberts of the Heritage Foundation explain.
Dale and Roberts further note that the QDDR fails to address the turf war between the State Department and USAID over accountability and authority lines. It also barely mentions the Millennium Challenge Corp. and barely reflects on the need for reforms on U.S. public diplomacy tools, the two add.
Dale and Roberts outline a list recommendations on how the 112th Congress should response to the QDDR, including de-funding the USAID’s policy planning and budget offices, which they say would strengthen the agency’s independence. Congress should insist on one budget office for State and USAID, the two argue. Their other recommendations include designating MCC as the U.S.’s premier development agency, demanding that the Obama administration produce a study exploring the feasibility of creating a separate public diplomacy and strategic communication strategy, and highlighting the importance of private-sector-led investment and trade.