In new directive, Obama signs off on development review

In new directive, Obama signs off on development review

President Barack Obama has signed a Presidential Study Directive authorizing a U.S. government-wide review of global development policy, according to sources briefed on the review by the White House. The review, expected to be completed by January, is being formally co-led by National Security Advisor Gen. Jim Jones and chairman of the National Economic Council Larry Summers.

Development hands say the new PSD is important because it signals the intent to reach across government agencies to think through a more coordinated and strategic approach to development policy, to include (beyond the State Department and USAID) the Defense Department, Treasury Department — which handles U.S. assistance to multilateral assistance organizations, the Overseas Private Investment Corps, agriculture departments, etc. 

The State Department announced in July that it was launching its own major development strategy review, in the form of a Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review process, co-led by Policy Planning chief Anne-Marie Slaughter and Deputy Secretary of State Jack Lew, with assistance from acting USAID coordinator Alonzo Fulgham.

The NSC’s senior director for development issues, Gayle Smith, who reports to both Jones and Summers, is supposed to take a key role in the development review authorized by the new Obama Presidential Study Directive. Smith has recently been joined at the NSC by Jeremy Weinstein, who came on earlier this month as the NSC’s director for democracy. Weinstein, previously at Stanford University (along with the NSC’s Senior Director for Russia Michael McFaul and NSC Senior Director for Europe Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall), assisted Smith in coordinating the Obama campaign’s expert advisory group on development and democracy issues. The White House didn’t immediately respond to a query.