The seventh installment in MFAN’s QDDR blog series comes from MFAN Principal Liz Schrayer, executive director, and John Glenn, policy director, both of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC). To see other posts in the series, click on the following names – George Ingram, Noam Unger, David Beckmann, Ritu Sharma & Nora O’Connell, Ray Offenheiser, Jennifer Potter.
By Liz Schrayer & John Glenn
Last year, in the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s “Report on Reports: Putting Smart Power to Work,” we highlighted several key expert consensus points for the incoming Administration, including – first and foremost – the need to formulate a comprehensive global development strategy. Since then, both the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) and Presidential Study Directive on Global Development (PSD-7) have set out to tackle many of these points: elevating and streamlining U.S. foreign assistance structures, integrating civilian and military instruments to deal with weak and fragile states, and considering the appropriate balance of authorities and resources between the State and Defense Departments.
The need for more resources for our civilian-led agencies and programs was another of the key consensus points in the USGLC’s Report on Reports. Lawmakers and national security experts continue to agree. Last December, a bipartisan letter calling on the President to make a robust International Affairs Budget request was signed by 247 members of Congress, and three weeks ago, a letter from 49 retired three and four star generals and flag officers called on Congress to support the President’s request. The President’s $58.5 billion budget request constitutes a 2.8% increase over FY10 assuming this year’s supplemental for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq is enacted. While Congress begins to work on the FY11 budget, it’s worth asking, how do these strategic reviews support the budget process?
The QDDR has been intended from the outset to be more than another well-intentioned strategic review, but one that ties State Department priorities to its budget, making it clearer how our foreign policy priorities translate into resources. Both the QDDR and PSD-7 present a great opportunity to help lawmakers who review the President’s request each year better understand how and why our vital resources are committed to meeting the pressing global challenges we face.