QDDR: Are You Putting Lipstick on a Very Old Pig?

First Public Dialogue on the State Department’s QDDR

That’s a question thrown in during the first public dialogue on the State Department’s QDDR. Acting USAID Administrator Alonzo Fulgham disagreed with the premise that this is putting lipstick on a pig. He cited Jack Lew as an advocate for AID, and how this process is a way of breaking up the old model. In response to the same question, State Department Director of Policy and Planning Anne-Marie Slaughter said this one is “connected to the money;”that “we’re going to have results by January that will be used already for the 2012 budget guidance.” She also added that all working groups in the QDR are being run by undersecretaries/assistant secretaries … that this will be quadrennial… can’t put this in a shelf … and that this will be an ongoing process.

The first public dialogue on the State Department’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), “Putting Smart Power to Work,” was hosted by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition on October 14. The Deputy Secretary of State and QDDR Chair Jacob Lew, along with his co-chairs, State Department Director of Policy and Planning Anne-Marie Slaughter and Acting USAID Administrator Alonzo Fulgham, spoke at the event. Deputy Secretary Lew provided an overview of current U.S. development and diplomacy efforts. He took two questions during the panel discussion but had to leave early; the two other co-chairs continued the QDDR panel discussion with Judy Woodruff as moderator.

The most applauded question is probably the one about the appointment of a USAID administrator, and whether the QDDR is a process to elevate development in diplomacy or is it a process to have State more fully absorbed USAID …the way it had absorbed USIA. Anne-Marie Slaughter responded that “The vision that the secretary has coming out of the QDDR is of a much stronger, much better-resourced USAID … it’s not about absorbing AID.”

The USGLC website says it will continue to gather input in the coming months for the State Department’s QDDR staff, and if you have questions or comments, please send them to my2cents@usglc.org.

The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) describes itself as “a broad-based influential network of 400 businesses and NGOs; national security and foreign policy experts; and business, faith-based, academic and community leaders in all 50 states who support a smart power approach of elevating diplomacy and development alongside defense in order to build a better, safer world.” Coalition members include some top government contractors like Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Raytheon, Chemonics International, Inc., companies like Caterpillar, Microsoft, Motorola, Procter & Gamble, NGO’s like CARE, Save the Children, Mercy Corps and many more. See the full list of coalition members here.

Video of the event is posted below. Starts slow and not the best image/sound quality from where I am but you may get better quality with better internet connection. I’m looking for the transcript of the Lew speech and of the panel discussion but none seem to be available at the moment. I’ll add the links here when they become available online. Click here for the previous briefing on the QDDR at the State Department back in July 2009.