Expanding the Workforce. The Agency is expanding its overseas workforce, increasing existing staff capacity through training and development, and improving personnel and information technology systems. Under the Agency’s Development Leadership Initiative (DLI), USAID has set a goal to double its permanent Foreign Service Officer (FSO) corps over the next several years – an increase of 1,200 new positions in total. To date, the Agency has selected 543 candidates, sworn in 374 officers, and sent 165 DLIs to post, strengthening USAID’s technical and leadership capacity. New FSOs hired under the DLI will work in more than 90 countries around the globe to promote stability, reduce crises, and allow the Agency to take a more direct role in the design, implementation, and evaluation of development programs. This strengthened FSO corps will provide USAID with greater depth and breadth across technical areas, bringing a wider range of foreign language expertise, more partnership activities, enhanced capacity to ensure accountability, and better-targeted and more tailored local programming. The Agency will be able to assign officers to work directly with their counterparts at all levels of government.
Promoting Diversity. The Agency made increasing diversity a priority. For example, DLI recruitment is explicitly targeted to under-represented minority groups by recruiting at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and through the League of United Latin American Citizens. The Agency also established a new Office of Civil Rights and Diversity (OCRD). The OCRD will promote diversity throughout the Agency and attend to a broad range of diversity issues such as promotions, outreach, accountability, and attention to historically overlooked groups.
Enhancing Crisis Response. USAID is providing leadership on behalf of the U.S. Government in response to the new challenges in the developing world. Under the Civilian Stabilization initiative, the Agency is recruiting specialized Civil Service personnel to enhance its development-oriented crisis response capacity. The Agency projects a total of 91 Civilian Response Corps active staff. Currently, nearly a third of these are on board. USAID is also posting officers as development advisors to combatant commands and conducting joint planning exercises with the Department of Defense. A total of 65 DLI officers will be Crisis Response, Humanitarian Assistance, and Democracy and Governance officers.
Critical Priority Countries. USAID continues to show leadership and results in the critical priority countries in which it works, from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Iraq and Sudan. The Agency’s surge efforts in Iraq in 2006 and 2007 have been successful and, as a result, it is now reducing its footprint in these countries.
Acquisition, Assistance, and Other Systems. Expansions in USAID’s workforce need to be supported by robust management tools and systems, one of which is the Global Acquisition and Assistance System (GLAAS). Funded with the $38 million USAID received under ARRA, GLAAS is a new worldwide integrated procurement system that will help to reduce dependence on outside contractors. To date, GLAAS has been deployed to 21 Missions and all or part of six Washington bureaus.
Private Sector Partnerships. Since 2001, USAID has leveraged substantial private sector resources, and has established 900 Global Development Alliances with over 1,700 partners to leverage $9 billion in resources. The Agency has made over $1 billion available to underserved markets though the Development Credit Authority, bolstering the capacity of host countries to finance their own development. Also, in keeping with its vision of development partnership, it has prioritized the establishment of cost-sharing agreements with emerging donor governments.
State and USAID are supporting the Strategic Framework Agreement (SFA), the foundation for a long-term bilateral relationship with Iraq. This support includes: bolstering Iraq as it strengthens rule of law; enhancing educational and technical training; promoting academic linkages; and, promoting economic opportunities and job creation through expansion and diversification of the economy, principally through private sector development and foreign direct investment. Activities to achieve normalization also support the implementation of the SFA, including assistance with: the political process; national unity within the framework of a unified federal Iraq; and, the development of a diversified, advanced economy that is integrated into the international community.