Today, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton addressed the staff of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). In remarks, Secretary Clinton said:"I wanted to come here today with a very simple message: I believe in development, and I believe with all my heart that it truly is an equal partner, along with defense and diplomacy, in the furtherance of America’s national security.
I don’t think it is at all unexpected to look at the feelings that people have toward our country in sub-Saharan Africa, and to see the positive attitudes toward the United States because of the work that is being done through PEPFAR, through the Malaria Initiative; tangible results that make a difference in people’s lives, linked to the heart and the enthusiasm of the American people, has been a critical element of our being able to further our national interests and exemplify our values. As we look toward the future, it is essential that the role of USAID and our other foreign assistance programs be strengthened and be adequately funded and be coordinated in a way that makes abundantly clear that the United States understands and supports development assistance.
Now, there are many new missions that many of you have undertaken in the last several years: the reconstruction and stabilization missions, the kinds of post-conflict missions, the role working hand-in-hand with our military colleagues. And in every instance where we look at what the United States is doing abroad, we will find someone, maybe from this very room or colleagues of yours across the world, who is there. Time and again, when I speak to my friends over at the Defense Department, they will confess that they very often have to turn to you to determine how best to spend the money they’ve been given for development, reconstruction, and stabilization. Our diplomats who believe in the development mission, but whose primary goal is to serve our diplomatic function, will also make clear that they look to you to be partners in how we advance America’s role in the world.
What I’m hoping to do as your Secretary of State is to work with USAID to provide the kind of leadership and support that will give you the tools you desperately need in order to fulfill the missions we are asking you to perform. We are asking you to do more and more with less, and my goal is to make sure we match the mission and the resources. It will be very difficult for us to expect you to perform at the very high level of professionalism that we will expect, without providing you the resources to do the job we ask you to do.
As I said yesterday in the State Department, we are going to work toward robust diplomacy. And I challenged my colleagues in the State Department to think more broadly, more deeply, outside the proverbial box, to let us know the ideas you have that will make what you do more effective for us. And I offer the same challenge to all of you here at USAID. I know that for some of you, this has been not just a career, but a labor of love, and that sometimes it hasn’t been easy, but that you have stayed with this mission because of your conviction of its importance. But I am asking you now to help us help you to be more effective."Read Secretary Clinton's full remarks here.