By J. Brian Atwood, M. Peter McPherson, and Andrew Natsios (Foreign Affairs)
Washington's foreign aid programs have improved in many ways during the Bush presidency. Official development assistance has increased from $10 billion in 2000 to $22 billion in 2008, funding two dozen presidential initiatives, many of them innovative and groundbreaking. At the same time, however, the organizational structures and statutes governing these programs have become chaotic and incoherent thanks to 20 years of accumulated neglect by both Republicans and Democrats in the executive and legislative branches. The president has elevated development to a theoretically equal place with defense and diplomacy in what is considered the new paradigm of national power: "the three Ds." But this vision has not been realized because of organizational and programmatic chaos. The Defense Department's massive staff has assumed roles that should be performed by the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Pentagon's $600 billion budget has eclipsed those of the civilian agencies.