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Statecraft Fall Roundup
A brief editorial note: it’s been two months since we launched Statecraft, and it’s received far more interest than I’d hoped or expected. As a result, we’re going to be moving to three interviews a month, rather than two, and we’ll send out a roundup of interviews every so often as well.
We’re always looking for more potential interviewees or interesting programs to profile, so please reach out via email or in the comments if you have a potential Statecraft interviewee in mind.
In Introducing Statecraft, we laid out our goal: to interview policy entrepreneurs about what it took to get one big thing done.
In How to Save Twenty Million Lives, Mark Dybul explains how he developed and championed PEPFAR, the incredibly successful US-funded program to fight AIDS in Africa.
“The interagency fights were blood on the floor. Hatchet work. It was the president that stopped all that.”
In How to Reverse a Coup, Todd Moss describes how the interagency process actually deals with foreign policy crises.
“When you declare it a coup, you immediately have to stop certain kinds of cooperation, basically anything that's not humanitarian. So there's an interest in not declaring a coup. Also, if you just declare it a coup, you've lost some of your initial leverage. But if you're not declaring it a coup, you're potentially covering for the coup makers.”
In How to Salvage the VA, Marina Nitze highlights her work modernizing the agency and convincing state child welfare systems to coordinate their rules.
“User experience and user surveys were not even really a concept back when PRA came out… The thinking was that if the VA talks to more than nine veterans in a year, it would be breaking the law.”
In How to Secure Weapons-Grade Uranium, Andy Weber tells the gripping story of how he discovered and extracted nuclear materials from a run-down Kazakh warehouse.
“It was snowing that day. We went out into the courtyard and he said, “Andy, I have a message for you from Vitaly Mette,” the factory director. We were walking, and he discreetly passed me a very small piece of paper, folded in half. I took it out of his hand and I kept walking, and I looked at it, and I gulped, and put it back in my pocket.”
In How to Procure Advanced Military Tech, David Rothzeid explains how he helped pioneer the Commercial Solutions Opening (CSO), a process for the rapid acquisition of military technology.
“When CSO first launched, we would receive about 10 solution briefs for each solicitation. Soon, we started receiving 60+ solution briefs per solicitation, because word got out about how simple the process was.”