The Foreign Service Journal - January/February 2017
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ing at other agencies—and make coordination easier. There

are some exceptions such as military assistance programs,

since the Department of Defense has robust capacity to imple-

ment these in coordination with State’s Bureau of Political-

Military Affairs. The U.S. military should also continue to

deliver a narrow set of emergency humanitarian and relief

operations. But its recent uneven efforts to directly administer

other types of foreign aid and its discomfort in so doing are

another argument for a more robust USAID. This will require

greater coordination between the two agencies, which has

already begun.

Exactly how the MCC, the Trade and Development Agency,

the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the func-

tions of several State bureaus should be rejoined with USAID

needs careful analysis, but the trend must be toward har-

monization rather than fragmentation. The next administra-

tion, moreover, should examine whether Treasury’s carefully

guarded management of the U.S. government’s relationship

with international financial institutions should not more

appropriately be managed through USAID, as well.

4. Integrate foreign assistance and foreign policy.


involved in defining policy at State and USAID need to be

better integrated at all levels. Ideally, State and USAID desk

officers would be located near each other and jointly par-

ticipate in planning with DOD and other counterparts. And

the respective State and

USAID policy shops need

to work to ensure that their

approaches are mutually


State officers need to

better understand how

foreign assistance really

works; and USAID’s officers

need to be kept abreast

of our changing political and economic goals by country and

region. This needs to be done both in Washington and abroad.

Exchanges of officers would be useful in this regard, but State

officers have been reluctant to go on detail to USAID for fear

that such service would not be career-enhancing. One way to

accelerate such details would be to take a page from the Gold-

water-Nichols Act on DOD’s joint assignment requirements

and require interagency experience, including at the National

Security Council, for promotions to FS-1 and GS-15 and above

for career officers in State, USAID and DOD.

When smart, knowledgeable people put their heads

together, good policy is made, but this takes a lot of time and

effort to achieve. More training designed to foster this type of

coordination is needed. How will the budgeting and alloca-

tion of funds be handled with this type of coordination? There

are many ways and models, but this should be left up to the

Secretary of State to ultimately decide, in consultation with

Congress. Above all, however, senior foreign policy officials

need to make sure that the views of assistance professionals

are taken into consideration.

5. Get USAID a regular seat at the National Security


As a non-Cabinet agency, USAID often struggles to

get its development perspective heard at the most senior poli-

cymaking bodies. While a full-fledged seat for USAID at the

NSC might not be in the cards, we at least need to eliminate

Feed the Future, the U.S.

government’s world food

security initiative that is led

by USAID, helps empower

women in Guatemala

to increase agricultural

production and earn more

for their families.