USAID & DOD: Analysis and Recommendations for Enhancing Cooperation

  • Mister Benjamin D Kauffeld

The United States Department of Defense and United States Agency for International Development have interacted for 50 years to advance national security interests. With origins in the Marshall Plan, and through joint efforts in the Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the two have developed policies, liaison systems, and joint programming to advance practical coordination. After closely-combined defense, diplomatic and developmental (3D) efforts, USAID and DOD have never appreciated each other’s capabilities better. Despite this, significant challenges exist that impede sustained coordination, including resource imbalances, conceptual gaps, and personality-based rather than institutional relationships. As war efforts conclude, is a window of time closing on development-military coordination? What are the implications for unity of effort between military and development actors? This report analyses the history, policies, coordination structures, and experiences of USAID and DOD interaction; identifies trends and challenges; and recommends continued interagency engagement, particularly through joint planning, field programming and broader staff exchanges.