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New Day, New Way

U.S. Foreign Assistance for the 21st Century

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SOURCE: report cover

Read the full report (pdf)

"New Day, New Way" Report Launched on Capitol Hill, Center for Global Development

"Coalition Seeks Cabinet-Level Foreign Aid,"  Politico

Meeting the global challenges facing the United States—climate change, poverty, weak and failing states, a worldwide food crisis, and armed conflict—will demand more than military might and skillful diplomacy. It will require that we invest in global development.

Led by CAP Senior Fellow Gayle Smith and Steve Radelet of the Center for Global Development, a new network of leading think tanks, NGOs, advocacy groups, and academics this week released a report that sets the stage for giving development a seat at the foreign policy table and modernizing America’s foreign aid system.

The Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network calls for a national development strategy, a new Foreign Assistance Act, streamlined organizational structure and capacity, and increased funding and accountability for foreign assistance. The launch of the “New Day, New Way” report was attended by Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, as well as Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE), who all spoke of the urgent need to modernize foreign assistance to enhance our security and strengthen the moral foundations from which we lead. According to Congressman Berman:  “It is my firm belief that this won’t just be another process of stating how we want the world to be. It will be a pick-up-and-run-with-it report.”

Executive Summary

U.S. foreign assistance—the rationale behind it, the amount we give, its orientation and organization—has changed dramatically in the last decade. These changes have challenged its efficacy but have also created new opportunities to modernize U.S. foreign assistance. The importance of supporting development and reducing poverty abroad are understood now as never before to be both moral imperatives and prerequisites for sustained U.S. national security.

Since its origins after World War II, U.S. foreign assistance has served our national interests in three fundamental ways: enhancing national security, expanding global economic opportunities, and promoting American values. These interests are mutually reinforcing, and when the United States pursues them each strategically and in tandem it positions itself as a pragmatic and principled world leader.

The international and domestic challenges of the 21st century— including transnational threats such as economic instability, terrorism, climate change, and disease—cannot be met with a foreign assistance apparatus created to confront the challenges of the 20th century. America’s reputation abroad cannot be restored without a fresh, smart approach to U.S. foreign policy and engagement in the world. Our defense and diplomatic tools must be strengthened and modernized, and they must be complemented by equally robust tools for development. U.S. global leadership is based not only on our military clout or economic power, but on our moral stature, which derives from helping others improve their lives and those of their communities and societies.

America’s foreign assistance system is badly outdated, poorly organized, and generally ill-equipped to meet today’s global challenges. This consensus document identifies the challenges and opportunities confronting U.S. foreign assistance and offers recommendations on how best to seize them.

Core Principles for Modernizing U.S. Foreign Assistance

  • Elevate global development as a national interest priority in actions as well as in rhetoric.
  • Align foreign assistance policies, operations, budgets, and statutory authorities.
  • Rebuild and rationalize organizational structures.
  • Commit sufficient and flexible resources with accountability for results.
  • Partner with others to produce results.

Priority Actions for Modernizing U.S. Foreign Assistance

  • Develop a national strategy for global development.
  • Reach a “grand bargain” between the executive branch and Congress on management authorities and plan, design, and enact a new Foreign Assistance Act.
  • Streamline the organizational structure and improve organizational capacity by creating a Cabinet-level Department for Global Development, by rebuilding human resource capacity, and by strengthening monitoring and evaluation.
  • Increase funding for and accountability of foreign assistance.

Read the full report (pdf)

"New Day, New Way" Report Launched on Capitol Hill, Center for Global Development

"Coalition Seeks Cabinet-Level Foreign Aid," Politico

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education, poverty)
202.478.6331 or apreiss@americanprogress.org

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, health care, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or tcaiazza@americanprogress.org

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues, Legal Progress, Half in Ten Education Fund)
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi (immigration, race and ethnicity)
202.741.6258 or tarditi@americanprogress.org

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or rrosen@americanprogress.org

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org