It's hard to understand what the announcement meant yesterday when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released her first Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review.
Clinton first had to explain to a nervous group of NGO's, USAID administrators and field workers today what QDDR was.
The QDDR is a blueprint for how we can make the State Department and USAID more nimble, more effective, and more accountable, a blueprint for how our country can lead in a changing world through the use of what I call “civilian power” – the combined force of all of the civilians across the United States Government who practice diplomacy, carry out development projects, and act to prevent and respond to crisis and conflict.
After soft pedaling about advancing democracy and the need to work together, she dropped in some foreshadowing phrases about fiscal responsibility. Then came her Donald Trump moment
The QDDR will help the State Department and USAID adapt to, shape, and stay ahead of these trends. This is a program of reforms that will fundamentally change the way we do business.
In the end Clinton didn't exactly fire anyone, but described restructuring in a "sweeping effort." The Kaiser Family Foundation summarized the major changes will be in reporting structure with the Global Health Initiative ultimately transitioning to USAID and the State Department
Yesterday, fellows from the Council of Foreign Relations weighed in. They were in equal parts confused, elated and worried. The confusion surrounds the potential for an even more bureaucratic organizational structure. The worry is that USAID is ill-equipped to handle more responsibility and ultimately, elated for the attention to global health efforts and the positive health effects seen as a result of the increase in public and private funding. Isobel Coleman, senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy believes that QDDR, if fully implemented, would begin to chart a new course for how the United States carries out development.