Gordon Adams

Articles by Gordon Adams

1 February 2010

The Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review: Separating the U.S. civilian and defense missions

Gordon Adams

The State Department and USAID are in the midst of conducting an unprecedented Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), which is intended to bolster the civilian capabilities of U.S. statecraft. It is taking place in the context of calls by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mike Mullen to enhance our civilian capabilities in order to avoid the "militarization" of U.S. foreign policy. This, of course, is a positive step forward.

8 October 2009

Afghanistan and Pakistan: The graveyard for U.S. foreign policy planning?

Gordon Adams

The foreign policy machinery in the Obama administration is finally grinding away on a difficult long-term policy and institutional problem: What should the U.S. development and foreign assistance strategy be? Such an examination raises a seemingly endless set of questions: What roles should the Defense Department, State Department, and USAID play in the development, security, and foreign assistance mix? How should these agencies tackle their responsibilities in fragile and post-conflict states? What should be the long-term structure of the U.S.

30 July 2009

Strategic planning comes to the State Department

Gordon Adams

Can the State Department do a strategic plan and link it to setting budget priorities? We're about to find out. Tucked away in the month's news was a small, but important, announcement: The State Department and USAID are about to do something the Pentagon has done every four years since 1993--a quadrennial review. In this case, however, it will be a review of U.S. diplomatic strategy and development priorities, dubbed a Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR).

25 June 2009

Budgeting for national security

Gordon Adams

When taking into account the costs of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. defense budget has more than doubled since fiscal year 2001. And yet, despite this growth, the appetite for more defense funding has continued unabated, and our security dilemmas appear to grow.

28 April 2009

Evaluating the Obama administration's national security budget and planning process

Gordon Adams

In its first 100 days, the Obama administration has had to confront a series of pressing foreign policy and national security issues--North Korean missile launches, a revamping of the war strategy in Afghanistan, the Taliban's continued rise in Pakistan, and, of course, the Iranian nuclear program. As with all new administrations, the issues have come faster than the Obama administration can cope with them. Thus, improvisation has been a major feature of the administration's response--especially with only part of the team in place.

17 March 2009

Obama's first budget test

Gordon Adams

During his campaign, President Barack Obama promised to end funding national security programs, including the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, through emergency budget requests. He was especially critical of supplemental requests for programs and activities unrelated to Iraq or Afghanistan or that clearly belonged in the regular defense and foreign affairs budgets.

10 February 2009

Increasing the U.S. defense budget won't stimulate the economy

Gordon Adams

The next war--the battle for even more defense spending--is now under way. Major weapons program manufacturers are worried that Defense Secretary Robert Gates may be serious about looking for "hard choices" that need to be made in the Pentagon's procurement program.

26 January 2009

Obama's test: Bringing order to the national security policy process

Gordon Adams

During the Bush administration, funding for the Defense Department, State Department, and Department of Homeland Security more or less doubled. But in all three cases, the goal of the budget increases wasn't to create functioning, efficient, and effective bureaucracies. Instead, it was to push a political agenda--at the cost of effective management. As a result, all three departments emerge from the last eight years less focused, less disciplined, and less effective.

8 September 2008

Establishing the next president's national security agenda: Strengthening the civilian instrument

Gordon Adams

The next president will inherit a severe and growing imbalance in the tool kit he has available for dealing with the national security challenges of the early twenty-first century. In the first three parts of this series, I described these challenges and recommended steps to strengthen the White House's capability to define policy and provide guidance to agencies. I have also underlined the importance of getting defense planning and budgeting under control.

4 August 2008

Establishing the next president's national security agenda: How to confront the defense budget morass

Gordon Adams

When we think about controlling the budget, we think about things like Medicare, Social Security, and urgent domestic needs such as education and alternate minimum taxes. But the most urgent fiscal and planning challenge the next president will face is the defense budget.