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Diplomacy in Action

Sidebar on The Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review

Bureau of Resource Management
April 21, 2011


The Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) is a sweeping assessment of how the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) can become more efficient, accountable, and effective in a world in which rising powers, growing instability, and technological transformation create new threats, but also new opportunities. At its core, the QDDR provides a blueprint for elevating American “civilian power” to better advance U.S. national interests and to better partner with the U.S. military.

Civilian power is the combined force of civilian personnel across government and civil society. It is the power of diplomats in 271 Missions around the world, development professionals in more than 100 nations, and experts from other U.S. Government agencies working together to advance America’s core interests. Leading through civilian power means directing and coordinating the resources of all America’s civilian agencies to prevent and resolve conflicts; help countries lift themselves out of poverty into prosperous, stable, and democratic states; and build global coalitions to address global problems.

The QDDR calls for the Department and USAID to change the ways they do business in four broad areas.

Adapt to the diplomatic landscape of the 21st century by:
  • Leading the implementation of global civilian operations overseas by empowering and holding accountable Chiefs of Mission as Chief Executive Officers of a multi-agency effort
  • Reorganizing the Department of State structurally to meet new challenges: an Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment and an Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights; a new Bureau for Energy Resources and a Chief Economist; and a proposed Bureau for Counterterrorism
  • Engaging beyond the state and leveraging the technological tools of 21st century statecraft
  • Integrating a focus on women and girls in everything the Department does
Elevate and modernize development to deliver results by:
  • Focusing U.S. investments where they have a comparative advantage: food security, global health, climate change, sustainable economic growth, democracy and governance, and humanitarian assistance—with an emphasis on the wellbeing of women and girls
  • Practicing high-impact development by building partnerships with host nations, investing in innovation, and strengthening monitoring and evaluation
  • Building the necessary technical expertise and organizational structures, immediately transitioning the leadership of Feed the Future to USAID, and setting a target to also move the Global Health Initiative to USAID at the end of FY 2012
Strengthen civilian capability to prevent and respond to crisis and conflict by:
  • Recognizing that civilians are the first line of defense abroad and making conflict prevention and response a core civilian mission
  • Building conflict prevention and response capabilities by creating a new Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations at State and strengthening the Office of Transition Initiatives at USAID
  • Integrating an effective capability to reform security and justice sectors in fragile states
Work smarter to deliver results for the American people by:
  • Ensuring the U.S. Government has the expertise to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow by building technical expertise and innovative problem solving
  • Managing contracting and procurement to achieve goals effectively and efficiently by drawing more upon expertise within the Government
  • Planning and budgeting for impact, and using the best evidence available for program design to ensure high value for money

The QDDR process is an ongoing commitment that began when Secretary Clinton took office, and will continue through the launch of the next Review. The Department and USAID have already begun to implement many of the reforms described in the Report. Some are complete; others will follow. The Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources and the USAID Administrator will oversee the implementation of the QDDR.


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