U.S. Department of State Foreign Assistance Resource Library
Welcome to the U.S. Department of State Foreign Assistance Resource Library. The Resource Library publishes information about the strategies that guide the Department’s foreign assistance, how foreign assistance programs are developed, and how we assess the extent to which they are meeting their intended objectives.
On this site you will find information about long-term goals for State Department bureaus and missions, and information about the tools and resources used by Department officials to “manage for results.” Managing for Results is the Department’s approach to planning, budgeting, program design, performance management, evaluation, and learning.
Managing for Results
The Managing for Results (MfR) framework improves where and how foreign assistance funding is provided by connecting professionals responsible for Planning (policy formulation), Budgeting (funding requests), Managing (program oversight), and Learning (using data to adapt).
Alignment between these functions strengthens decision-making, improves coordination, increases transparency, and helps us tell our story to Congress, the White House, and the wider public.
The Department of State conducts strategic planning at the department, bureau, and country levels. The budgeting for all department activities, including foreign assistance, is developed based on these strategies.
1. Per the Government Performance and Results Act Modernization Act of 2006, federal agencies develop four-year strategic plans that they make available to the public no later than February of the year immediately following a Presidential Inauguration. The Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) fulfill this requirement through the development of a Joint Strategic Plan (JSP) that sets forth the goals, objectives, and performance standards for both organizations in support of Administration priorities.
2. State regional bureaus, in partnership with their respective regional bureau at USAID, develop Joint Regional Strategies (JRS) and functional bureaus each develop their own Functional Bureau Strategies (FBS). All bureau strategies look out four years and are informed by the JSP, and in turn inform the development of Integrated Country Strategies (ICS).
3. U.S. embassies overseas use higher level guidance from all relevant strategies (such as the National Security Strategy) to inform the development of four-year Integrated Country Strategies (ICS). The goals and objectives described in the ICS reflect a whole-of-government approach to advancing U.S. priorities with the host country and apply to U.S. agencies engaging with the host country.
- Joint Strategic Plan
- Joint Regional Strategies
- Functional Bureau Strategies
- Integrated Country Strategies
Budgeting is the annual process that the Department of State and USAID use to connect funding and staffing resources with strategies that will further U.S. Government (USG) diplomatic and development goals. The budgeting process followings the steps below each year:
1. Bureaus and missions submit funding requests, which are considered and weighed against USG and Department goals.
2. These requests inform the development of the Department’s budget request, which is submitted to the Office of Management and Budget.
3. The request is then included in the President’s Budget submission to Congress and in the Congressional Budget Justification (also known as the CBJ). The CBJ is a publicly available document (see below).
4. The Department receives confirmation of the final budget when Congress passes an appropriations bill, the timing of which can vary from year to year.
5. The Department and USAID are then authorized to receive and spend funds accordingly.
The budgeting process is informed by the Department’s strategic plans. Following budget approval and authorization to spend funds, the Department begins to manage by first designing and then implementing and monitoring programs and projects.
Congressional Budget Justification
Managing at the Department of State is an ongoing activity that begins during the early stages of program design and continues throughout the life of a program. The Department’s intent is to continually improve the effectiveness and efficiency of U.S. foreign assistance resources and to ensure that there are logical links between the investments made and their ability to achieve broader foreign policy goals. Managing ensures that adjustments and improvements can be made as needed. The Department’s Program Design and Performance Management Toolkit guides the design and management of foreign assistance programs, and also serves as the basis for the interagency performance management framework for the security sector.
Program Design and Performance Management
- Program & Project Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation Policy
- Program Design and Performance Management Toolkit
- Program Design and Performance Management Tools
- Security Sector Assistance Performance Management Framework
Foreign Assistance Standard Indicators
Learning at the Department of State involves the collection, analysis, discussion, and use of information to determine how and why programs are progressing toward defined goals. Learning is used to understand what is and is not working and what might be changed or adjusted within other components of the Managing for Results cycle to achieve better outcomes. Lessons learned via monitoring and evaluation of programs inform the planning of future foreign assistance programs and strategy. Learning about what is working well, and understanding why, is critical to executing U.S. foreign policy efficiently and effectively.
Policy and Resources
- Evaluability Assessment
- Evaluation Design Matrix
- Evaluation Statement of Work Checklist
- Guidance for Monitoring
- Checklist for Assessing Evaluation Reports
- List of all Evaluations
Program Design and Performance Management Toolkit
Foreign Assistance Standard Indicators
Select a region below to view related strategy, budget, management, and evaluation information:
- Africa (sub-Sahara)
- East Asia and the Pacific
- Europe and Eurasia
- Near East (North Africa and Middle East)
- South and Central Asia
- Western Hemisphere