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Prioritize, Integrate, and Coordinate Development

It will take presidential leadership to elevate development, a strong hand to integrate the concept of human security across the range of our foreign policy agencies, and high-level action to coordinate the myriad foreign aid agencies, instruments, and initiatives now spread across the executive branch.

It will take presidential leadership to elevate development, a strong hand to integrate the concept of human security across the range of our foreign policy agencies, and high-level action to coordinate the myriad foreign aid agencies, instruments, and initiatives now spread across the executive branch. There are four key steps that the next president can take to lay the ground for progress in all three areas.

First, the president should use the administration’s first National Security Strategy to lay the ground for a sustainable security approach by focusing on traditional national security, collective security, and human security. Though required by law, National Security Strategies are often boilerplate documents that provide little other than a narrative list of foreign policy priorities. The next president should use his first NSS as a tool for pivoting to sustainable security.

Second, the president should appoint a third Deputy National Security Advisor for long-term strategic planning. A designated Deputy NSA mandated to think and plan ahead will not only allow the administration to make up for the time lost by the Bush administration on issues like climate change, but will also allow an administration to get out ahead of future threats like resource scarcity and new global pandemics.

Third, as the first step toward formulating a government-wide policy on development and crafting a whole-of-government development strategy, the president should issue a Presidential Directive providing initial guidance to the multiple agencies, departments, and offices that are now pursuing their own individual agendas.

Fourth, the president should create a directorate, led jointly by the National Security Council and National Economic Council, to initiate and oversee the coordination of all foreign aid agencies, initiatives, departments, and programs. Given the growing role of non-governmental organizations, philanthropic groups, and corporations in humanitarian and development efforts overseas, the directorate should also ensure that the U.S. government is in regular consultation with these prominent partners.

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