Town Hall Meeting on the First Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development (QDDR) Review

Remarks at Town Hall Meeting on the Release of the First Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, “Leading Through Civilian Power”

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State
Anne-Marie Slaughter, Director
Patrick F. Kennedy, Under Secretary for Management
Rajiv Shah, USAID Administrator

Dean Acheson Auditorium, Washington, DC, December 15, 2010

Video length: 1:01:59

Transcript of the town hall meeting is here.

QDDR Fact Sheet

QDDR Executive Summary

QDDR Full Report High Res (242 pages)

QDDR Full Report Low Res (242 pages)

Excerpts of interest from the townhall:

On mid-level gaps:

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’ll start, and then Raj wants to add.

Look, we want to take advantage of the experience that is available. And our first preference is, of course, to take advantage of Foreign Service experience. And we will look at ways of reaching out and attempting to do so. But we will not stop there if we cannot find the experience. And I just think you need to recognize that we are very respectful and – (applause) – and deeply grateful for the level of experience, expertise, and dedication that we have in our Foreign Service family, but we also have a job to do. And so we will give every effort to try to find people, whether they’re willing to come out of retirement or what else we can entice them to do. But at the end of the day, I’m responsible for making decisions that are in the best interests of the United States of America, and that’s what I will do. (Applause.)

ADMINISTRATOR SHAH: I’ll just add that that question, obviously, was specific to the State Department Foreign Service, but the same issue, of course, is something we’ve tried to be very thoughtful about, at the Secretary’s guidance, with respect to USAID. And we’ve had a chance to both quantify the needs at mid-level and explore how what we’ve learned from the Development Leadership Initiative, which has now brought in 625 new Foreign Service officers at USAID over the last several years. And we have proposed this – a limited but focused and skill-based targeted increase with the mid-level career hiring. And – but we want to do it in a way that’s respectful of all the points you raised, that allows for training, that protects the career growth opportunities for especially new entrants into the Foreign Service, and that enhances our capacity to deliver the types of results the Secretary spoke about. So thank you.

On inclusive and collaborative leadership

So in all of these areas, part of it is organizational, part of it is operational, part of it is funding, but a lot of it is attitude and mindset. And it doesn’t take anything away from State or AID or DOD or HHS or anybody else if we recognize the value added that everybody brings. And so that’s my goal. Because frankly, we – if you look at sort of the problems we face and the challenges we will have in funding our responses, we’ve got to work together and we also have to create this partnership, as Steve was saying, with DOD to kind of enhance what each of us can do more effectively.

the concept of inclusive leadership. So to give you a very specific example, we just completed – we’re in the process of doing the senior management group assignments for USAID. We restructured how we do that process so that each senior manager gets evaluated on their interagency performance and skill. That’s basically how we interpret inclusive leadership. And the resulting set of recommendations I got for the top priority mission leadership posts were substantively different. Different people were chosen because we changed the criteria, and the group that came together to debate who’s going to perform well against these new criteria came up with different answers.

We’re going to take that even further by building that criteria into actual performance reviews for the Foreign Service and the SES Civil Service. And we’ve actually had a lot of great conversation at different levels of the agency and amongst the new Development Leadership Initiative members of the Foreign Service about what that means and how that – how we need to have a shift in our mindset as it relates to that point. So I would just add that it’s a very clear aspiration in the document. No document gets you the outcome. We have to manage to that in very specific and concrete ways.

A changed world …. “everyone a potential leaker”  (teh-heh!)

Otherwise, as we now know, it’s not the world of 10 years ago, let alone 50 or 100 years ago. Everybody is a potential source. Everyone is a potential blogger. Everyone is a potential leaker. (Laughter.) And therefore it would be, I think, beneficial for American foreign policy if we demonstrated as strong a presence as possible in a country after having worked through all the various and sundry jurisdictional turf problems that we know exist. This is a work in progress. It’s not going to happen overnight. But we have had enough examples in the past whereas if we don’t have that unified U.S. Government position, we are working at cross-purposes to our own ends, and that is just not going to cut it in the 21st century.

No reward for good infighters:

MR. STEINBERG: Just to be very specific, we’ve been – Anne-Marie and I have been talking with all of our ambassadors around the world and all of our mission directors together, and we’ve done it specifically together to communicate the same message. And one of the things that we’ve been communicating to all of our AID mission directors is you will no longer be rewarded for being a good infighter. It’s not about fighting for turf. It’s not about AID-centric activities. It’s about the results that you produce; and recognize that in order to produce those results, you need to be working as an inclusive leader with the interagency process. And one of the clear messages that the QDDR communicates is that the AID mission director is the development advisor within the missions overseas. But it also says, with that designation, comes the responsibility for changed behavior. (Applause.)