Pentagon lobbies for more State/USAID funding

Via Josh Rogin at Politico:

Mullen goes to bat for State Department budget

"The Pentagon is actively lobbying for the State Department and USAID as next year's budgets get formed, and now we can add Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to the list of Defense Department leaders who are going out on a limb to support money for diplomacy and development.

In separate letters to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, Mullen criticized the $4 billion cut that Sen. Kent Conrad, D-ND, proposed for the fiscal 2011 budget request in his budget resolution. That cut has already been criticized by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the entire development community.

"We are living in times that require an integrated national security program with budgets that fund the full spectrum of national security efforts, including vitally important pre-conflict and post-conflict civilian stabilization programs," Mullen wrote. "Diplomatic programs are critical to our long-term security."

But the Pentagon isn't just writing letters. Hill sources say that Pentagon officials of various stripes are actually lobbying foreign affairs appropriators while making the rounds on Capitol Hill. Traditionally, the Pentagon guys talk to the defense appropriators, leaving the foreign affairs lobbying to the State Department.

There's also new traction on Gates's idea for a $2 billion jointly managed fund to handle issues that overlap the security and diplomatic spheres. The Pentagon is actively pushing the idea, Hill sources say, while the pushback is actually come from the State Department, which is still skeptical the funds could be jointly managed in a fair and uncomplicated way.

Regardless, Gates's push to actually take money from his own department and giving it to State is real, despite some bureaucratic wrangling over the assistance. And the Pentagon's lobbying will no doubt have an effect if and when Conrad's budget resolution makes it to the Senate floor. We're hearing that a bipartisan effort led by Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry, D-MA, is preparing to try to roll back Conrad's cuts. Then again, Congress might not even tackle the issue directly this year."

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FP Mag: Five Primaries where the World Matters

From Foreign Policy Magazine:
It's political season once again in the United States of America, with midterm elections due in the fall and a series of fierce primary battles already underway this spring. Most voters are clearly concerned with the state of the U.S. economy above all, but in a few key races, foreign policy is making a showing. And it's appearing in often surprising ways.
Read more here.

VA's Jim Moran new to Foreign Operations Appropriations

via Politico, see the original here.

For all you readers who love to follow (or need to follow) the appropriators who dole out the foreign operations funding, this is big news: Virginia Democrat Jim Moran is now a member of the House State and Foreign Operations Appropriations subcommittee.

The outgoing chairman of the full committee, David Obey, D-WI, announced the changing musical chairs on the committee last night and put out a press release. Moran replaces Betty McCollum, D-MN, who is no longer on the subcommittee.

Although Moran will technically be the lowest-ranking member of the subcommittee, as a long-time appropriator with other top subcommittee postings, he's sure to have influence. In March he was named chairman of the interior and environment subcommittee and he is the third ranking Democrat on the ultra-powerful defense subcommittee as well.

Importantly, Moran is close to defense subcommittee chairman Norm Dicks, D-WA, who is widely expected to take over the chairmanship of the full committee next year when Obey retires. In fact, it was Dicks who handed over the interior subcommittee gavel to Moran.

And now, as both a defense and foreign ops appropriator, Moran sits at the intersection of the congressional debate over how to rebalance the tools of national statecraft from the military to the diplomatic core, which is raging inside the government now. The foreign ops community will be watching to see if he ends up siding with those who support the president's requested budget increase (Gates, Clinton, Bono, etc.) or those who want to cut foreign ops funding to pay for domestic needs (Kent Conrad).


Big news! Leaked NSC doc suggests AID become independent of State

White House proposed taking development role away from State

Posted By Josh Rogin  


The White House is moving closer to finishing a sweeping review of U.S. development strategy that aims to put development on par with diplomacy and defense as a "central pillar" of U.S. national security, according to sources familiar with the issue.

The Cable has obtained a draft copy (pdf) of the review, which is titled "A New Way Forward on Global Development" and is known internally as the Presidential Study Directive on Global Development or PSD-7.
"The Obama Administration recognizes that the successful pursuit of development is essential to our security, prosperity, and values," the draft document reads. It promises a "new approach to global development that focuses our government on the critical task of helping to create a world with more prosperous and democratic states."

Sources cautioned that the draft document was presented at a deputies committee meeting two weeks ago and has been updated since. But they said that certain key passages have already exacerbated tensions between the National Security Council and the State Department, which is finalizing the interim report for its own wholesale policy review, the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR). The NSC declined to comment.

One important section of the seven-page document would establish an interagency "development policy committee"  -- moving the responsibility for coordinating U.S. policy on development out of the State Department.

At issue is whether Foggy Bottom should have the ultimate authority over development policy or whether oversight should be done by the new interagency body, which reports up to the president.

The draft document also calls for an overall review of U.S. development strategy every four years (separate from the QDDR), and the design of country and/or regional strategies to "organize U.S. engagement and inform resource allocation."

The idea of a government-wide, independent committee to oversee development is one that Senate Foreign Relations Committee heads John Kerry, D-MA, and Richard Lugar, R-IN, also support.

The draft also outlines of how the relationship between State and USAID should work  -- and those outlines don't jive with how we hear the QDDR is shaping up. For example, the document says that USAID should have "responsibility and accountability for a core development and humanitarian assistance budget," as well as a robust policy planning staff, a leadership role in setting strategies and the "mandate, where appropriate, to lead U.S. government development efforts in the field."

USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah would "be included in NSC meetings where  appropriate" if this draft document's recommendations were adopted, but he would also still report up to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, not directly to the White House as some might hope.

Officials have indicated that in State's QDDR, USAID would also get its own policy planning staff but would probably not control its own budget. State Department officials argue that by keeping control over USAID's budget, they would be in a stronger position to advocate for it.

"You can see many things here that try to establish more balance and reorient the authority over  development back toward the NSC and the White House," said one development leader closely observing the process. "Each of those things could invite some pushback from State."

Overall, the document is a good draft, this observer said, noting that it could go through several revisions before being finalized. "We're not hugely supportive of the USAID administrator reporting to the secretary of state, but a lot of this is largely positive in terms of strategy and overall direction."

The QDDR is led by Shah and Deputy Secretary Jack Lew, with heavy input from Policy Planning chief Anne-Marie Slaughter. The PSD-7 is led by top NSC aides Gayle Smith, Michael Froman, and Jeremy Weinstein.

The interim report of the QDDR is expected to be released soon. There has never been a promise from the White House that the PSD-7 would be released publicly.