Managing for Results: Planning, Budgeting, Managing, and Learning

Bureau of the Comptroller and Global Financial Services
November 15, 2016




Strategic planning is a forward-looking management tool to set priorities, focus resources, strengthen operations, and ensure all are working toward shared objectives.

The first Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) articulated the need to elevate and improve strategic planning, to align budget requests to plans, to create better monitoring and evaluation systems, and to integrate and rationalize these components into a cohesive planning, budgeting, program, and performance management framework. In April 2015, the Department of State and USAID released the second QDDR, which furthered the commitment to strengthen strategic planning and performance management. Building on progress since the 2010 QDDR, the Department will continue to develop the training, technical assistance, and planning and management tools available to our employees. The 2015 QDDR includes recommendations to:

  • Strengthen information-sharing and collaboration. Collaboration is essential to the success of strategic planning and programming. At overseas posts the Department will create networks that share information on strategic planning, budgeting, programming, and performance;
  • Institute senior-level bureau and mission reviews. Senior Department bureau leaders and chiefs of mission will institute regular reviews to assess progress against strategic objectives, and ensure alignment of policy, planning, resources, and program decision making;
  • Deepen expertise in planning and performance management. Each bureau in the Department will assign at least one full-time, qualified, mid- to senior-level Civil Service employee to bureau planning and performance management, including monitoring and evaluation; and
  • Advance adaptive planning and assistance. We will make our strategic planning, program and project design, and monitoring and evaluation processes more adaptive in challenging environments.
Diagram showing the QDDR Managing for Results Framework used by the Department of State and USAID for day-to-day performance management that integrates strategic planning, budgeting, program management, and performance management.

The Department’s Managing for Results Framework is a step-by-step integrated process, managed by State and coordinated with USAID, by which State links strategy to resources and supports program activity with strengthened management guidelines and use of performance management in decision making. The Framework shows how the Agency employs four primary steps of strategic planning, budgeting, program management, and performance management to effectively carry out our business. These are integrated and inter-related processes that should inform and facilitate one another. The Department sets objectives before determining the appropriate funding level, rather than combining strategic and resource planning. The Department’s and USAID’s strategic planning documents include the following:

  • The Joint Strategic Plan – Four-year strategic plan that outlines Department of State and USAID overarching goals and objectives, and guides bureau and mission planning.
  • The Joint Regional Strategy – Three-year strategic plan for each region that sets joint State and USAID priorities and guides key partner bureau and mission level planning.
  • The Functional Bureau Strategy – Three-year strategic plan that sets priorities for each State functional bureau and guides key partner bureau and mission level planning.
  • The Integrated Country Strategy (ICS) – Three-year strategic plan that articulates whole-of-government priorities in a given country and incorporates higher-level planning priorities. As directed by the Presidential Policy Directive on Security Sector Assistance, the ICS also represents the official U.S. Government strategy for all Security Sector Assistance in its respective countries. Additionally, and in line with the whole-of-government scope of each ICS, each USAID mission’s Country Development Cooperation Strategy is nested within the ICS.