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Organizing U.S. Foreign Aid

Confronting the Challenges of the Twenty-First Century

Carol Lancaster and Ann Van Dusen

Publication Year: 2005

Overwhelmed by a proliferation of foreign aid programs, the U.S. government is attempting to reorganize itself in order to manage them more effectively. This raises several critical issues that will shape U.S. foreign aid policy for the 21st century: Should existing foreign aid agencies be combined into a cabinet-level agency, ensuring a voice for development concerns during policy discussions, or should they be placed in the State Department to strengthen their foreign policy focus? How should aid agencies manage the planning, implementation, and evaluation of their aid? Is "managing for results" as currently practiced appropriate for what is often a highly experimental task of bringing about beneficial changes in foreign countries? How should the U.S. government educate its citizens on the issues of foreign aid and development as expenditures rise and as the ambitious goals driving aid—including nation building—expand? In Organ izing Foreign Aid, Carol Lancaster and Ann Van Dusen call for a fundamental reorganization of U.S. aid programs. They recommend a major increase in efforts at development education. The authors also provide insights into how other donor governments have dealt with these challenges. With the future of U.S. foreign aid policy at stake, this book will be essential reading for anyone interested in development, foreign aid, and the organization of government programs in these areas.

Published by: Brookings Institution Press

Front Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

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Lael Brainard

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pp. vii-x

With a reinvigorated administration starting to define its priorities, the time is ripe to shape the debate over U.S. foreign assistance. The recent tsunami tragedy in the Indian Ocean, the war on terrorism, and instability in the Middle East have created an environment where the nation’s leaders are willing to consider afresh the organizational framework and strategic purpose of U.S. foreign aid. ...

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A New Urgency: International Development and U.S. Foreign Policy

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pp. 1-4

In September 2002 the White House published a new National Security Strategy for the United States. It was the first fundamental restatement of American foreign policy since the end of the cold war and highlighted three major U.S. goals in the world: defense (especially against terrorism), diplomacy, and development. ...

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The Nature of Development

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pp. 4-5

Surely one of the reasons there have been so many debates about development and foreign aid is that these terms mean different things to different people. “Development,” when applied to societies and countries, has usually included the idea of sustained improvement in the human condition and the changes required to bring about that improvement. ...

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What Is Foreign Aid?

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pp. 6-7

The principal tool for promoting development abroad has long been foreign aid. “Foreign aid” (used interchangeably here with “international assistance”) is another term that means different things to different people. Some think of it as a policy. Others regard it as any public resource transferred abroad. ...

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The Mission and Purposes of U.S. Foreign Aid

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pp. 7-9

People often complain that the mission of American foreign aid is unclear. In fact, the missions of public policies and programs are often unclear because they tend to be so general. For example, the closest thing to a statement of mission on the U.S. Agency for International Development website is the following: ...

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A Short History of Aid

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pp. 10-13

U.S. foreign aid has always been a multipurposed instrument. Foreign aid as we know it today began in 1947 as a tool of early cold war diplomacy to stabilize the governments and economies of Greece and Turkey in the face of communist pressures at home and abroad. ...

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Organizational Landscape of U.S. Foreign Aid

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pp. 13-31

U.S. international assistance is highly fragmented in terms of both the location of aid programs as well as responsibilities for policy and implementation. The accompanying box lists these various aid programs under the administering agency with actual budget levels for 2004. ...

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Structure and Processes of the U.S. Agency for International Development

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pp. 32-36

Any organization that directs programs “in the field”—that is, distant from headquarters—and finances activities in different technical areas, must find a balance between the authorities of headquarters and the field as well as between management and programs or, more precisely, between management personnel (to oversee activities and manage agency activities generally) and technical experts ...

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The Political Context of U.S. International Assistance

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pp. 37-43

Institutions matter, including the political institutions through which key decisions are made about international assistance. Of all major aid-giving countries, the U.S. government has the only fully presidential system, with clearly separate legislative, executive, and judiciary branches. ...

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Alternative Approaches: Other Aid-Giving Donor Countries

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pp. 43-45

Because aid programs of other donor countries developed in a manner similar to those of the United States—a mix of planning, history, and improvisation—no single major aid-giving government has organized itself exactly like any other. There are, however, some broad organizational models. ...

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Foreign Aid in the Twenty-first Century

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pp. 45-50

The context of aid giving in the twenty-first century will be very different from that of the last. The world of international assistance in coming years promises more diversity in the organizations involved in development as well as in the sources of aid. ...

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Challenges and Opportunities: Recommendations and Options for Organizing U.S. Foreign Aid

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pp. 50-64

This essay has identified promoting development abroad as an essential priority for U.S. foreign policy in the twenty-first century. It has described the principal instrument for realizing that goal—foreign aid—and has identified several prominent problems associated with U.S. foreign aid, ...

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pp. 64-66

The opportunities to reduce the burden of poverty and disease and to integrate even the poorest countries into the international community have never been greater. The consequences of neglecting to do so have, at the same time, never been more obvious. ...


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pp. 67-72


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pp. 73-78

E-ISBN-13: 9780815797821
E-ISBN-10: 0815797826

Page Count: 78
Publication Year: 2005