Global Governance | Other Publication

Improving US National Security: Options for Strengthening US Foreign Operations

Anne C. Richard and Paul Clayman | September 2008


The need to renovate and reinvigorate US foreign operations has been highlighted by the leading presidential candidates, although none of them has laid out a well-developed plan to do so. This essay builds upon the nascent campaign debate to identify the top policy options for the next administration and evaluate how difficult the various proposals would be to implement.

Because US foreign assistance programs have been so prominent in the debate, the authors focus on two prominent options: the call for a new Cabinet-level agency for development and the recommendation to use the State Department’s “F process” to improve interagency coordination. Based on their assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of each idea, the authors propose a “hybrid model” that combines the best aspects of both. It consolidates some development agencies without creating major new departments.