State QDDR outlines new goals, strategy

Monday - 12/20/2010, 9:31am EST

Jon Allen and Cheryl Steele, senior associates, Booz Allen Hamilton

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By Olivia Branco
Federal News Radio

The State Department's first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review is now completed, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is ready to make changes to the way the U.S. approaches international development, and the changes start at home.

The review assessed the roles of the State Department, Defense Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, and cited a need for more collaboration among agencies and an increased role for USAID.

Jon Allen and Cheryl Steele, senior associates at Booz Allen Hamilton, joined the Federal Drive this morning to talk about what may come of the increased partnership.

"By having this Quadrennial Review and this reference document was really operating in a concerted and across the board effort to identify emerging priorities and to set a vision of where the Department of State needed to go," Steele said. "So, from almost the first day from when Secretary Clinton came into her position she set this out as an objective."

Steele said there was a need for diplomacy and development in order to "look above organization divides or cultural aspects to come up with a unified vision of where do these two instruments of power need to be going."

"What are some of the near and medium term objectives and, quite frankly, what are some of the things that might not best be done by diplomacy and development as formal organizations but can be turned to other government and non-government resources to perhaps more effectively deliver the outcome that the President is looking for."

The overall goal of the review is to further define the relationship between the Defense and State departments. The increased collaboration and coordination may impact the balance of what each department does with foreign countries.

"If you read the document, it refers back to the Defense Department but also other agencies across the government," Allen said. "One part of the document that was most interesting that the Pentagon would be most interested in is the creation of the new Bureau for Crisis and Stabilization Operations. Also the ability for the State Department to move resources quicker within the complex zones."

Allen pointed out that a challenge for both departments is being able to mobilize quickly around the world. The Defense Department can be fully set up within 18 hours anywhere in the world because of their quick reaction force.

"How can you have a State Department arm that also can deploy with them for the typical stabilization and reconstruction mission?" Allen asked. "I think that's one piece of the document that does highlight quite a bit to be more responsive to those quick turn missions that we see Defense Department do."

So how exactly will these changes be able to take place? Steele pointed out that the State Department will start from within.

"There will be some changes in terms of how the Department is looking to organize itself," Steele said. "For the most part, I think a lot of this is a matter of realigning some resources, some changes of titles to improve the upward collaboration within the building and sort of find a little bit easier way. The belly button, if you will, on some of these transnational type issues."