The US Department of Defense (DOD) is not a development agency, but it does manage millions of dollars of development assistance.
Meeting today’s foreign policy challenges requires a new vision of American global leadership based on the strength of our core values, ideas, and ingenuity. It calls for an integrated foreign policy that promotes our ideals, enhances our security, helps create economic and political opportunities for people around the world, and restores America’s image abroad. We cannot rely exclusively or even primarily on defense and security to meet these goals. CGD senior policy analyst Sheila Herrling and senior fellow Steve Radelet argue instead that we must make greater use of all the tools of statecraft, including diplomacy, trade, investment, intelligence, and a strong and effective foreign assistance strategy.
New Day, New Way: U.S. Foreign Assistance for the 21st Century calls on the next American president, Congress, policymakers and the American people to overhaul how the U.S. helps poor people in developing countries. Among the recommended steps: a new national foreign assistance strategy and a new Foreign Assistance Act to replace the outdated framework that President Kennedy signed nearly 50 years ago. CGD senior fellow Steve Radelet is a co-chair of the authoring group, the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network.
The recent creation of AFRICOM, a U.S. military command for Africa, is but one manifestation of the Pentagon's growing role in development. One-in-five dollars that the U.S. spends on development assistance is now handled by the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Pentagon share of U.S. development spending has increased three-fold in the past five years, to some $5.5 billion annually. In a new CGD working paper, research fellow Stewart Patrick and program associate Kaysie Brown find that while the vast bulk of Pentagon development aid is for Iraq and Afghanistan, the department is also increasingly involved in new initiatives that civilian agencies could undertake. They warn that DoD's growing role in foreign assistance could undermine a broader U.S. approach to development support, and they offer specific recommendations for restoring a more appropriate balance.
Billions for War, Pennies for the Poor: Moving the President's FY2008 Budget from Hard Power to Smart Power
President Bush's FY2008 budget request provides a first glimpse into how the administration's new foreign assistance framework and transformational diplomacy agenda translate into who gets how much for what. In this CGD essay, authors Samuel Bazzi, Sheila Herrling and Stewart Patrick, show that the U.S. continues to devote a tiny fraction of national wealth to alleviate poverty and promote growth in the developing world. They recommend reform of U.S. development assistance include: a comprehensive national strategy for global development; a hard look at the top recipients; impact evaluation; a cabinet-level development agency; and rewriting the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. Learn more
In U.S. Foreign Aid Reform: Will It Fix What Is Broken? CGD research fellow Stewart Patrick says the U.S. foreign aid regime is broken, and it is not clear that the Bush administration's reform plan will fix it. Patrick proposes a total overhaul of the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act and the creation of an independent, cabinet-level department for international development.Learn more