Soft Power: A “Mission Critical” Component of National Security
Innovative ideas and technologies are driving the future of global development, and nowhere is this more evident than at Development Innovation Ventures (DIV), a flagship program at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) that is leveraging innovation to meet today’s most pressing development challenges. A recent analysis of DIV’s grants found an incredible rate of return of $5 in social benefits for every dollar spent on innovations. Now, policymakers on both sides of the aisle—and practitioners alike—are focused on the role of innovation and technology in scaling development progress.
In 2020, the global economy took a major hit with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that is expected to reverse course, with the global economy projected to grow 6 percent by the end of 2021—growth that reflects additional fiscal support in several large economies and the anticipated vaccine-powered recovery. These projections were one of the main topics of discussion at the virtual Spring Meetings of the IMF and World Bank Group, where the institutions met to discuss their progress on the COVID-19 pandemic response and economic recovery—and the urgent needs that still must be addressed.
Wednesday, March 10th might have seemed like a typical day in the City of Dayton—but it actually marked our first-ever Global Engagement Day. Mayor Whaley issued this proclamation in celebration of our unique connection to the world and if you look at our city’s rich history, you’ll understand why.
In early March, the Biden administration released its Interim National Security Strategic Guidance—a framing document released ahead of the National Security Strategy (NSS) that serves as an early signal of U.S. foreign policy priorities in the Biden Administration. By using diplomacy and development to connect the administration’s domestic priorities to America’s foreign policy priorities, the president has clearly signaled the significant role these tools will play over the next four years.
Whether they served four years or 40 years, most military members have had an up-close look at American foreign policy during their years of service, providing them with a unique perspective on America’s global engagement in action. This perspective is so critical to America’s global leadership that we highlighted it in the second session of USGLC’s Next Gen Global Leaders program, where military veterans in the class were able to share some of their invaluable stories and perspectives from their military service.
When people think about U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF), they might envision romanticized scenes from television or the movies. But what they don’t see is what goes on behind the scenes. While SOF plays a lead role in defending our country, U.S. national security also relies on the strength and support of our civilian forces—particularly our diplomatic corps and development personnel—in countries around the world.
From climate change to COVID-19, experts from around the country and from both political parties recognize the importance of U.S. development and diplomacy programs in tackling our greatest challenge – as revealed in a brand new analysis, the USGLC’s 2021 Report on Reports.
Indonesia is one of six countries whose waters lie within the Coral Triangle, an area in the western Pacific Ocean that is under threat from overfishing and illegal fishing as well as climate change, land-based pollution, and the wildlife trade—all of which is putting a strain on Indonesia’s economy and threatening the livelihoods and food security of Indonesians. That’s why the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) partnered with Tetra Tech, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and others on the USAID SEA Project.
We recently asked Barbara Humpton, President and CEO of Siemens USA, how the company is responding to COVID-19 at home and abroad, and how technology and innovation are helping to build resilience in a crisis and put the world on the path to recovery.