US senators call for national diplomacy and development strategy

U.S. Senators Todd Young and Jeanne Shaheen. Photo by: Indiana Public Media and U.S. Embassy Kabul Afghanistan

Two United States senators from across the partisan divide introduced legislation on Wednesday calling for the creation of a new strategy to guide U.S. diplomacy and development efforts.

Todd Young, a Republican from Indiana, and Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat from New Hampshire, want to see the Department of State periodically produce and submit to Congress a National Diplomacy and Development Strategy, which would directly support the National Security Strategy produced by the executive branch.

The strategy would resemble the quadrennial diplomacy and development reviews carried out during the Obama administration, but unlike the QDDRs it would be classified — accompanied by an unclassified summary. This would be to allow the exercise to include strategic planning around sensitive diplomatic interests, a congressional staffer told Devex.

“It’s impossible to implement optimal organizational or personnel reform at the Department of State or USAID without first conducting this kind of rigorous strategy development,” Senator Young said in a statement to Devex.

The bill arrives immediately on the heels of President Donald Trump’s Tuesday budget request, which describes a vastly reduced U.S. diplomatic and development presence in the world.

If enacted, the ‘‘National Diplomacy and Development Strategy Act of 2017’’ would compel the Secretary of State and U.S. Agency for International Development administrator to work together to describe: The “worldwide interests and objectives of the United States;” the threats and challenges associated with these interests; the diplomatic and development tools needed to meet those challenges; a plan to utilize those tools; and requests for congressional support or authorizations.

The bill is also aimed at improving interagency coordination, to better ensure that defense,…

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