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POLICY November 2008


A Call for a Comprehensive
National Development Strategy
Under the direction of a deputy national security advisor for stabilization and
The U.S. Govern- development, develop and approve a national development strategy with the goal
ment’s system for of unifying the administration and operation of all U.S. Government foreign assis-
allocating, managing,
tance. The Administration’s effort should be coordinated with the Senate and House
delivering and moni-
toring foreign assis- Authorizing Committees’ efforts to draft and pass a new Foreign Assistance Act.
tance is fragmented This recommendation is made in close coordination with the Modernizing Foreign
and lacks strategic Assistance Network and ConnectUS.
direction. There is no
centralized manage-
ment or oversight of
United States gov- • Nominate early a USAID Administrator to be sworn in as part of the national security
ernment programs.
team (Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and National Security Advisor) on
The proliferation of
Presidential Direc- January 20, 2009 to ensure a smooth transition and provide direction and vision
tives, Congressional for U.S. assistance programs throughout the world including Afghanistan, Iraq, and
earmarks, new as- other potentially crisis prone areas;
sistance structures • Create a deputy security advisor position at the National Security Council (NSC)
and funding streams, and staff it comparably to other directorates at the NSC. Charge the new deputy to
stymies the achieve-
coordinate the effort to lead and write a government-wide national development
ments of America’s
foreign assistance strategy;
goals of peace and • Write and promulgate a national development strategy which would be updated
stability. every two years which would, in clear concise terms, define the overarching goals in
major areas of the U.S. foreign assistance program;
• Rewrite and authorize a Foreign Assistance Act which would harmonize priorities
among U.S. Government agencies, multilateral institutions, and recipient govern-
ments to assure the best use of limited U.S. Government development resources; and
• Submit a budget in March 2009 which would decrease the military development
budget and re-allocate development funding to a centrally empowered U.S.
Department for Global and Human Development.

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Suite 210
Washington, DC 20036
The national development strategy will bring cohesion and coherence to the multi-
202-667-8227 faceted foreign assistance programs sponsored by the U.S. government. It will identify
overlapping agendas, programs working at cross purposes and gaps in U.S. government
development assistance programming.
AS IDENTIFIED IN THE 2002 NATIONAL SECURITY STRAT- tors including: agriculture, civil society, economic growth,
egy and, reaffirmed in the 2006 version, the U.S. national se- education, environment, good governance, health, and rule
curity relies on three pillars: diplomacy, defense and devel- of law. Gender equality is essential for meaningful progress
opment. But U.S. foreign assistance (the development pillar) and would be a guiding principle for DGHD activities in all
is broken and needs to be fixed. This will require a serious sectors. InterAction proposes all functions relating to devel-
administration-lead and congressional bipartisan effort, opment and humanitarian assistance presently under the
addressing a number of major initiatives including agree- Department of State’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and
ment on our goals in foreign assistance and the principles Migration housed in the DGHD. Department of Agriculture
that should guide those efforts, rebuilding and rationaliz- programs relating to food aid would move to the DGHD, as
ing budgets and organizational structures, and new legisla- would smaller programs currently located in the Depart-
tion to reflect these priorities. All are major tasks and must ments of Commerce and Labor and elsewhere. Recently cre-
be undertaken together. Each is critical for the success of ated programs that give the Department of Defense (DoD)
the others. To that end, an effort undertaken at the direc- a large role in development promotion would move to
tion of the President by the newly created position, deputy the DGHD. However, under the overall coordination of the
national security advisor for stabilization and development, DGHD, DoD would continue to play a key role in many com-
would look at and bring together the fragmented foreign plex international humanitarian relief operations.
assistance programs under one all encompassing national The Department for Global and Human Development
development strategy. The development of the strategy would receive its budget from Congress and make deci-
would include the incorporation of the Millennium De- sions on the proper allocation of funds across countries and
velopment Goals (MDG) as a framework for the delivery, sectors. It would have a direct relationship with the Office
monitoring and evaluation of U.S. foreign assistance. It is of Management and Budget on budget issues; its budget
our belief that when this stock-taking is completed, it will would not be vetted by the Department of State. The De-
become clear that a major a re-organization and consolida- partment of State would play an important role in provid-
tion of foreign assistance programs should be undertaken. ing advice to the DGHD on important diplomatic consider-
In cooperation with Congress, the national development ations to take into account when considering allocations,
strategy process would support and align itself with the re- but ultimate decisions on budget levels would be based
authorization of the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act, a broken, fundamentally on development and humanitarian criteria.
unwieldy instrument of the Cold War era. Economic Support Fund (ESF) levels would be set by the De-
With the consolidation of various foreign assistance partment of State after examining DGHD allocation levels.
structures including the Millennium Challenge Corporation
(MCC), the President’s Malaria Initiative, and the President’s
Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), InterAction be-
lieves, at the heart of the organizational restructuring, there
will be recognition of the need to create a new Cabinet-level
Department for Global and Human Development (DGHD).
Its mandate would be to promote people-centered, sustain-
able development and provide humanitarian assistance. It
would effectively coordinate the use of U.S. foreign assis-
tance funds and give development the seat at the table it
needs to be an strong and effective counterpart to the De-
partments of State and Defense. The Secretary of the DGHD
would be the lead voice within the U.S. Government, below
the President, on development assistance and humanitar-
ian issues and a member of the National Security Council.
After a government-wide assessment and evaluation of the
myriad of U.S. foreign assistance programs has been under-
taken, numerous development assistance and humanitarian
programs presently scattered across various departments
and agencies, would naturally be placed in the DGHD. The
DGHD would manage programs in key development sec-