The Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), released by the State Department last December, provides a road map for the future of U.S. diplomacy and development. But in a political climate dominated by fiscal and budgetary constraints, the QDDR focuses on the need for new investments in civilian power when it should have focused on trade-offs, according to a new article in The Washington Quarterly by CNAS Vice President and Director of Studies Dr. Kristin M. Lord and Bacevich Fellow Brian Burton.
Lord and Burton praise many of the initiatives set forth in the QDDR but suggest that if the QDDR does not help produce real change, it could create disillusionment with the broader effort to strengthen civilian power in support of U.S. national interests. The United States will risk entering a period of “smart power fatigue” that will only further sap the strength of the agencies upon which U.S. foreign policy relies.
Former State Department Director of Policy Planning and co-director of the QDDR Anne-Marie Slaughter agrees with the article’s call to set priorities in a resource-constrained environment, noting, "Leading through civilian power means directing and coordinating the resources of all America’s civilian agencies to prevent and resolve conflicts. In this constrained economic environment, we will have to make tradeoffs, but diplomacy and development cannot fall by the wayside."
The Washington Quarterly article caps a year-long CNAS project on U.S. diplomacy and development designed to help inform the QDDR process.
Other publications in this series include:
Did the State Department Get the QDDR Right?, by CNAS Vice President and Director of Studies Dr. Kristin M. Lord and Bacevich Fellow Brian Burton, Spring 2011
Managing 21st-Century Diplomacy: Lessons from Global Corporations, by CNAS Vice President and Director of Studies Dr. Kristin M. Lord and Senior Fellow Richard Fontaine, December 2010
Beyond Borders: Developing Comprehensive National Security Policies to Address Complex Regional Challenges, by CNAS Senior Advisor Dr. Patrick Cronin and Bacevich Fellow Brian Burton, December 2010
Eye to the Future: Refocusing State Department Policy Planning, by CNAS Senior Fellow Richard Fontaine and Bacevich Fellow Brian Burton, August 2010
Planning Diplomacy and Development: Force Planning Applications for the State Department and USAID, by CNAS Bacevich Fellow Brian Burton, August 2010
Contractors in American Conflicts: Adapting to a New Reality, by CNAS Senior Fellow Richard Fontaine and President Dr. John A. Nagl, June 2010
Engaging the Private Sector for the Public Good: The Power of Network Diplomacy, by CNAS Vice President and Director of Studies Dr. Kristin M. Lord, January 2010
Learning from Experience: Lessons from the QDR for the QDDR, by CNAS Bacevich Fellow Brian Burton, January 2010
The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) is an independent and nonpartisan research institution that develops strong, pragmatic and principled national security and defense policies. CNAS leads efforts to help inform and prepare the national security leaders of today and tomorrow.