The Department often seeks proposals for grants to perform international engagement, like election monitoring in Afghanistan, or supporting women's rights in Iraq. Often the most innovative proposals come from small, new organizations with little experience with the Department's proposal process. These organizations don't have access to complete, published proposals that have won previous grants. They either flounder with the Department's sparse guidance to produce a poor proposal, or they partner with a large, established grant recipient. This process stifles innovation.
For all Department grants, the winning proposals should be published in full as they were submitted to the Department.
A brief 1-3 year embargo period could be imposed for sensitive programs, so that grantees can perform their work without interference. For classified programs, an embargo no longer than 25 years per the Freedom of Information Act norms could be imposed.
This move would cost the Department very little, and would encourage a race-to-the-top mentality among grantees.
Large, established grantees would likely oppose this proposal, as it would force them to continually innovate and they would be held accountable for what they state and promise in any given proposal. However, by limiting this publication regime to those proposals that have won Department support, the Department does not expose any trade secrets.