USAID Restructuring Should Separate Agency’s 4 Primary Objectives

The American Interest: Curing USAID
Jeffrey Cochrane, writer and former USAID economist

“In a recent TAI article, ‘Making Diplomacy Great Again,’ former Ambassador James Jeffrey argued for a simplification of the State Department’s mission. … Where State arguably has two competing diplomacies [– state-to-state realpolitik diplomacy and ‘transformational’ diplomacy –] USAID has four very different types of assistance programs [– security assistance, humanitarian assistance, public health assistance, and development assistance]. … [A]ll four of USAID’s objectives address real needs that in one way or another also serve the security interests of the United States. The problem is that they are all so different, yet are housed within a single organization. … [T]he best bet at USAID is to reorganize so that each of the four important but competing, or at least highly dissimilar, objectives is housed in a separate organizational structure, thereby affording each a better chance to succeed. … Positive results are much more likely to follow. … USAID’s historic mission will be terminated if Congress approves the president’s [FY 2018] budget, and yet that historic mission remains as valid today, when poverty and despair continue to breed terrorism and extremist ideologies, as it was in 1961 when the principal fears were Cuba, Vietnam, and nuclear proliferation. The vote should take place sometime before December. A lot is riding on it” (11/14).

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