The State Department carries out its mission in a challenging global environment, facing complex concerns about national security, global health, economic growth and other facets that touch on the lives of Americans at home and abroad. Like other U.S. Government agencies that operate in an increasingly constrained budget environment under pressure to "do more with less," the Department of State and USAID have taken steps to confront the challenge of how to address these problems effectively, of how to determine what works and what does not.
The implementation in February 2012 of the Department's Program Evaluation Policy represented a significant milestone toward creating a learning organization with a commitment to accountability and the sharing of lessons learned, and using performance information to improve the effectiveness of Department of State funded efforts by basing programming decisions on evidence about what works. Consistent with the findings and recommendations of the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), the new Managing for Results framework lays the groundwork for integrated planning, budgeting and performance management processes that will promote both the production of good evidence and the actual use of that evidence. A component of the new Department of State-USAID Managing for Results framework, the Department's evaluation policy provides a strategy for gathering feedback in the management and study of Department of State-funded programs and projects. The policy aims to optimize the impact of the Department of State resources by increasing the level of evaluation and strengthening evaluation rigor, and by developing and utilizing a more rigorous base of information to guide decisions about program design, funding, implementation, and management.
In addition to program evaluations, the Department promoted other initiatives to strengthen the ways in which information is generated, used, and shared within diplomatic and assistance programs:
In the next fiscal year, the Department will pursue these and other avenues to continue developing a more coherent and effective system in which we learn what works, address problems and more effectively, use reliable performance information to achieve policy and program goals.