Smart Power Momentum Continues to Grow

October 14, 2009 By Tod Preston

More than 500 representatives of businesses, NGOs, faith-based communities, along with national security and foreign policy exerts, packed the Willard Hotel in Washington this morning for the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s launch of our “Putting Smart Power to Work” campaign and the first public dialogue on the State Department’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR).  Deputy Secretary of State and QDDR Chair Jacob Lew, along with his co-chairs, State Department Director of Policy and Planning Anne-Marie Slaughter and Acting USAID Administrator Alonzo Fulgham, spoke at the standing-room only event.

This morning’s forum highlighted the growing consensus across the political and civilian-military spectrums about the need to bolster the smart power tools of development and diplomacy, including strengthening the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).  Just yesterday, the Senate weighed in once more with a resolution on this matter as concern continues to grow over the lack of a nominee to head USAID.

Sponsored by Senators Dodd (D-CT), Durbin (D-IL) and Cardin (D-MD), S. Res. 312 calls for a “highly capable and knowledgeable individual” to be nominated “with all expediency and exigency” to be USAID Administrator.  It also recommends that USAID “serve as the principal advisor to the President and national security organs of the U.S. Government” and that the number of full-time Foreign Service Officers at USAID “substantially and transparently increase.”

In introducing the measure along with his Senate colleagues, Assistant Majority Leader Durbin noted that “As our development assistance grows, so does the need for an influential and transformative Administrator at USAID. Military and civilian leaders both agree: a strong development strategy is critical for our long term success.”