Following President Obama’s nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) for Secretary of Defense, preparations for what is sure to be a nasty (but from both sides of the aisle!) confirmation hearing are in full swing.
In addition to budget woes, a pivot to Asia, continued crises in the Middle East, and the unknowns the next few years will bring, the new secretary is also likely to play a role in shaping US development policies and efforts.
So here are a few suggestions of what I’d like to hear members of the Senate Armed Services Committee ask Hagel on issues related to development and DOD:
- You have said that the United States government needs to do a better job of using all the instruments of American power around the globe. As Secretary of Defense, how would you use development and diplomacy alongside defense in pursuit of American interests?
- Since 2001, the military has increased the number of its activities that look a lot like development, as reflected in DOD’s expanded budget and authorities that allow it, for example, to run HIV/AIDS prevention programs out of AFRICOM. If confirmed, would you to continue or limit this trend and if so, how? In war zones? Outside of war zones?
- DOD has been a leader for years in acknowledging climate change as a national security threat and in planning for the destabilizing impacts of climate change. What role does DOD have in helping developing countries prevent climate-induced conflicts and in improving their resilience to impacts from climate change? What capabilities and capacities might DOD require as the threats from climate change increase?
- The Obama administration has created a Foreign Assistance Dashboard to gather all US government spending on foreign aid, which is currently dispersed among twenty-some different federal agencies, including DOD. If confirmed, will you ensure DOD reports all of its foreign assistance activities, including security assistance, to the dashboard?
But most importantly:
- Will you continue the War on PowerPoints?