The Cable

The Cable goes inside the foreign policy machine, from Foggy Bottom to Turtle Bay, the White House to Embassy Row.

State Department policy review? Not until April

Hey, wasn’t the State Department’s preliminary report on its comprehensive strategic review supposed to come out this week? Well, looks like it’s going to be another couple of weeks, at least, the official leading the review at the State Department told some people Thursday. Anne Marie Slaughter, policy-planning chief at State and executive director of ...

Hey, wasn't the State Department's preliminary report on its comprehensive strategic review supposed to come out this week? Well, looks like it's going to be another couple of weeks, at least, the official leading the review at the State Department told some people Thursday.

Anne Marie Slaughter, policy-planning chief at State and executive director of the review, know as the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), emailed some interested parties to give them a QDDR update. That email found its way to The Cable (Sorry, Anne Marie!). Here's an excerpt:

Hey, wasn’t the State Department’s preliminary report on its comprehensive strategic review supposed to come out this week? Well, looks like it’s going to be another couple of weeks, at least, the official leading the review at the State Department told some people Thursday.

Anne Marie Slaughter, policy-planning chief at State and executive director of the review, know as the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), emailed some interested parties to give them a QDDR update. That email found its way to The Cable (Sorry, Anne Marie!). Here’s an excerpt:

I wanted to update you on the release of the Interim Report. We had a very good DC [deputies’ committee meeting] on the report on Tuesday and are now in the process of getting comments from all the agencies represented at the DC and reaching out to other agencies.  This is the normal process for quadrennial reviews; we are also benefiting from inter-agency reaction. We are also continuing to work as closely as possible with the PSD-7 process.

We are expecting to be able to release the report in early April. We will be doing pre-briefs on the Hill before any public release. After release we will be doing lots of outreach with all interested stakeholders. The Interim Report itself invites reactions and input as we move forward with the process.

So what does it all mean? Well, in Washington a delayed report is about par for the course, although this QDDR process does seem to be getting dragged out further and further. The target date of full release in September may be optimistic considering the interim report has taken so long.

There could be some other consequences as well. The PSD-7 process, an NSC review that overlaps State’s review, is said to be waiting on the QDDR. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wants to get her ideas out there first, we’re hearing, and has convinced the NSC to hold off releasing anything until State makes its play.

The same dynamic surrounds the Kerry-Lugar foreign aid reform bill, which could clash with a lot of what we’re hearing the QDDR will say about the role and stature of USAID. The two senators are also holding off until State releases some QDDR details and conclusions.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman also has a bill calling for a new overall strategy for foreign assistance. He spoke about it Thursday at the Center for American Progress.

"U.S. foreign assistance laws and the system that implements them are significantly outdated and poorly suited to meeting the challenges of the 21st century," he said. "Over time, the agency created to execute and distribute our foreign assistance and alleviate the worst manifestations of poverty, USAID, has lost its vast cadre of experts and its ability to serve as a leading center of expertise and innovation."

Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at josh.rogin@foreignpolicy.com.

Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.

A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.

Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin

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