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Diplomacy in Action

Management Challenges - USAID

Bureau of Resource Management
April 21, 2011


Every year, USAID’s OIG identifies management challenges that affect the ability of the Agency to deliver foreign assistance. The FY 2010 challenges relate to working in critical priority countries, managing for results, acquisition and assistance, human capital management, and IT management. The Agency takes immediate remedial actions in response to OIG recommendations, which are summarized below. See the FY 2010 USAID Agency Financial Report (p. 122) for the OIG’s October 15, 2010 memorandum on this subject, and the full Agency response.

OIG Challenge Security concerns, weak governance, and corruption are persistent problems as USAID implements its programs in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, and Haiti.
Actions Taken USAID established a Policy Task Team on counterinsurgency and hosted the “Development to Counterinsurgency” Evidence Summit. USAID/Sudan established procedures for security, medical emergencies, and communications. USAID/Afghanistan and USAID/Pakistan require Contract/Agreement Officer Technical Representatives to conduct site visits to verify the progress of activities. USAID led an interagency review of the U.S. Government response to the Haiti earthquake.
Actions Remaining Establish Agency Coordinating Committee on Reconstruction and Stabilization. In consultation with the Office of Security, designate posts as High Threat Environments and educate staff. USAID/Haiti will recruit a sufficient number of staff to plan and implement the large-scale reconstruction and development program.
OIG Challenge The OIG identified that program performance indicators needed improvement, and performance targets were inconsistent.
Actions Taken The Agency delivered four Managing for Results workshops, and piloted a new workshop called the Training of Technical Advisors in Managing for Results. The Administrator established the Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning to lead USAID’s efforts on enhanced monitoring and evaluation processes. The Agency’s guidance on the new Country Development Cooperation Strategy emphasizes the development of indicators and targets.
Actions Remaining Additional training is planned in Washington and regional hubs in FY 2011 and an effort to revise and improve the suite of foreign assistance indicators is underway in partnership with the State Department.
OIG Challenge The OIG noted that data reported by USAID Operating Units related to Iraq were misstated or not validated.
Actions Taken USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance in Iraq (OFDA/Iraq) developed step-by-step guidance for counting individual program beneficiaries. USAID’s Middle East Bureau Iraq Office (ME/IR) took steps to improve planning and results reporting, including hiring a full-time program-impact advisor.
Actions Remaining OFDA/Iraq will ensure the guidance on counting beneficiaries is disseminated and implemented as intended, and will document the results. ME/IR will test and implement its Mission-based system for integrating and strengthening program design, monitoring, analysis, and evaluation of program impact.
OIG Challenge USAID must set up appropriate mechanisms to ensure that local systems provide accountability for U.S. Government funds before the funds are provided to host-country institutions.
Actions Taken USAID has formed a Procurement Reform Group to explore possible changes in how USAID’s assistance is designed and delivered to build local capacity.
Actions Remaining The Group will propose reforms to increase competition, broaden the Agency’s partner base, and strengthen host-country financial, management, and procurement systems.
OIG Challenge USAID is facing challenges in the ongoing multi-year implementation and deployment of the Global Acquisition and Assistance System (GLAAS) including: meeting the system deployment plan and schedule, improving earned value management (EVM) processes, and developing a comprehensive disaster recovery plan.
Actions Taken The GLAAS project is completing deployment to all relevant Missions. A comprehensive recovery plan has been executed for GLAAS and is currently in effect.
Actions Remaining The EVM process is being evaluated to determine where adjustments may be required for GLAAS. GLAAS will continuously monitor earned value and its schedule through completion of the project.
OIG Challenge OIG audits reported that USAID has not incorporated all of the Federal Acquisition Regulation requirements for performance-based contracting in all of its procurements.
Actions Taken The timeline for implementation of performance-based objectives is under review. Meetings to discuss coordination, identification, and responsibilities for all the procurement reform initiatives, including elements of performance-based contracting, have been initiated.
Actions Remaining Action items related to greater emphasis and use of performance-based methodologies will be part of the procurement reform efforts in FY 2011.
OIG Challenge USAID commonly uses cost reimbursement contracts that place a heavy burden on Operating Units to provide the monitoring necessary to reasonably ensure that American taxpayer funds are efficiently and effectively spent.
Actions Taken It is now USAID policy to report to Congress the use of high-risk contracts prior to solicitation, including time and material-type indefinite quantity contracts. USAID established the Board for Acquisition and Assistance Review to support this effort.
Actions Remaining USAID intends to manage and monitor the use of high-risk contracting through the establishment of high-risk acquisition performance indicators.
OIG Challenge USAID needs to re-build expertise within its workforce.
Actions Taken USAID expanded the workforce-planning model to cover all types of staff and adjusted the consolidated workforce-planning model (CWPM) to add institutional support contractors. USAID now has a comprehensive, automated Competency Management System (CMS), and is developing a five-year Tactical Plan.
Actions Remaining USAID’s goal is to have the complete CMS operational by FY 2013. The five-year Tactical Plan will be updated on an annual basis. The web tool for CWPM will be deployed to the field in the winter of 2011. The migration to a more modern Shared Service Center is expected to be completed by the end of FY 2013.
OIG Challenge USAID has yet to implement the Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12’s (HSPD-12) capabilities to access USAID information systems.
Actions Taken Funding has been identified which will allow USAID to begin planning a solution for logical access controls.
Actions Remaining Full compliance for physical access controls overseas is contingent on Department of State implementation. USAID will use existing funding to begin defining requirements to meet HSPD-12 requirements.
OIG Challenge Should USAID and the Department of State decide to integrate their IT infrastructures and services on a worldwide basis, USAID could face significant management challenges.
Actions Taken Based on a USAID-State study of IT business requirements, the current IT status of both organizations, and the costs and benefits of alternative operational models, the agencies agreed to launch a new IT Transformation initiative in 70 co-located and non-co-located posts.
Actions Remaining Rigorous testing for USAID corporate and shared applications; targeted IT investments at each agency within the next six months; a Memorandum of Understanding detailing initial milestones and agreements; and an integrated human resources plan to refine the impact on personnel.

Photo showing Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. USAID

Partnerships in Action—Iraq: Roadmap to Future Development

USAID assisted the Government of Iraq’s Ministry of Planning in facilitating a constructive dialogue among all stakeholders in the formulation of Iraq’s first National Development Plan (NDP). The NDP calls for comprehensive development in Iraq with the goal of generating 9.8 percent annual GDP growth and 3.5 million new jobs over the next five years. “Never in Iraq’s recent history has everyone’s point of view been so represented and accounted for within one plan,” noted Iraq’s Minister of Planning.


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