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Policy Memos and Open Letters

Amendment to Presidential Policy Directive 1 (PPD-1): Add the USAID Administrator to the National Security Council

3/27/09
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To: General James Jones, National Security Advisor

cc: Rahm Emanuel, Chief of Staff to the President;
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton;
Michael Froman, Deputy National Security Advisor;
Gayle Smith, Senior Director, National Security Council;
Senator Judd Gregg;
Senator John Kerry;
Senator Patrick Leahy;
Senator Richard G. Lugar;
Congressman Howard L. Berman; Congresswoman Kay Granger;
Congresswoman Nita Lowey;
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

From: Sheila Herrling,* Senior Policy Analyst

RE: Amendment to Presidential Policy Directive 1 (PPD-1): Add the USAID Administrator to the National Security Council

The Opportunity: Today the administration launched its revamped strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, calling for increased aid and deployment of military and civilian—both diplomatic and development—resources. This offers a concrete moment to turn into reality the President’s campaign promises to reinforce development as a key pillar of national security and foreign policy.

The Action: In order to elevate development alongside diplomacy and defense as a “smart power” national security tool and to empower a 21st-century U.S. development agency, Presidential Policy Directive 1 should be amended to add the USAID Administrator as a permanent member of the National Security Council. This will give development policy its own representation at the highest policy-setting table, distinct from diplomacy and defense but complementary to both, enabling a truly comprehensive policy approach to national and global security matters.

Three follow-on actions by the White House would help elevate global development and enhance the impact of U.S. foreign assistance:

  1. Appoint as soon as possible a strong, reformist USAID Administrator to exert leadership on development policy, allocate development resources more effectively in pursuit of U.S. development objectives, and transform USAID into a 21st-century development agency. A seat at the NSC would help recruit a high-caliber and high-profile individual.
  2. Prepare a National Strategy for Global Development to define U.S. global development goals and devise a modernized whole-of-government plan for the resources, staff, and coordination and evaluation mechanisms necessary to meet those goals.
  3. Work with Congress to rewrite the Foreign Assistance Act to bring the goals, objectives, and modalities of foreign assistance programs into the 21st century, reduce the costs and inefficiencies of many of our foreign assistance programs, and provide the foundation for a strong and effective development agency.