S. 1524: USAID Reform Bill Scheduled for Mark Up

The Kerry-Lugar foreign aid reform bill is scheduled for mark up today at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. John Rogin of The Cable has some background on this here. Rogin reports that the State Department leadership “has been asking Kerry to slow-walk the bill, not wanting the legislation to preempt State’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR).” But apparently, Senator Lugar wanted this to move along and “It’s important for Kerry to maintain his arm-link with Lugar, so he pushed back.” Rogin quotes one development expert close to the discussions.

S.1524 also known as the Foreign Assistance Revitalization and Accountability Act of 2009, amends the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to establish in the United States Agency for International Development (USAID):

(1) an Assistant Administrator for Policy and Strategic Planning to assist in matters related to policy planning, strategic planning, program design, research, evaluation, and budget allocation and management;

(2) a Bureau for Policy and Strategic Planning whose primary duties shall include policy and long-term strategy development, evaluation of program effectiveness, and establishment of resource and workforce allocation criteria. Establishes:

  • (1) in the Bureau for Policy and Strategic Planning an Office for Learning, Evaluation, and Analysis in Development;
  • (2) the Council on Research and Evaluation of Foreign Assistance and the Council on Research and Evaluation of Foreign Assistance Advisory Board.

The bill directs the Administrator of USAID to: (1) develop a comprehensive workforce and human resources strategy and a related task force to support the objective of promoting development and reducing global poverty; and (2) establish career guidelines for Foreign Service officers and civil service officers that incorporate interagency, intergovernmental, or international organization rotational assignments.

It also directs the President to require all federal departments and agencies to make publicly available on their Web sites comprehensive and accessible information about U.S. foreign assistance on a program-by-program and country-by-country basis. Sets forth USAID program fund guidelines.

If you are currently with USAID, you might want to read Section 7 of this bill as it relates to workforce planning requirement for the agency. Section 8 covers rotations, promotions, including promotions into the senior ranks and external training and educational opportunities for USAID personnel.


SEC. 7. COMPREHENSIVE WORKFORCE AND HUMAN RESOURCES STRATEGY FOR THE UNITED STATES AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT.

(a) Comprehensive Workforce and Human Resources Strategy for the United States Agency for International Development- The Administrator shall develop and implement a comprehensive workforce and human resources strategy for the Agency to support the objective of promoting development and reducing global poverty.

(b) Scope- The strategy required under subsection (a) shall be a strategy for modernizing the workforce of the United States Agency for International Development in support of foreign assistance and policy priorities, and shall–

  • (1) determine long-term Agency personnel priorities, including priorities over 5- and 10-year time periods;

  • (2) identify career professional development programs for all personnel, including training, language, and education, interagency and intergovernmental rotations, and assignment opportunities outside the United States Government;

  • (3) include an assessment of future development and foreign policy priorities and the implications of such priorities for technical and policy expertise, including how to meet future unanticipated demands brought about by manmade and natural disasters;

  • (4) include an overseas facilities and security assessment examining the implications of such facilities and security for personnel increases;

  • (5) include the appropriateness of regional platforms to perform necessary Agency functions and to provide services to other donors and organizations;

  • (6) consider structural reform options to professionalize the human resource capacity of the Agency, including options to outsource the entirety of the human resource capacity of the Agency; and

  • (7) address the means to enable the Agency to access cutting-edge technical and managerial expertise.

(c) Factors To Consider- In developing the strategy required under subsection (a), the Administrator shall, among other things–

  • (1) examine the objectives the Agency is mandated to fulfill, and assess whether its current workforce model effectively supports the goals of the Agency;

  • (2) review the Agency’s workforce evolution and identify the additional program demands that have been placed on the workforce in the past 10 years;

  • (3) examine different personnel and workforce management models from other United States Government agencies, international organizations, and the private sector and determine the comparative advantages the models might offer and whether they would allow the Agency to better structure its workforce to carry out its responsibilities and meet the challenges of a changing environment;

  • (4) examine different bureaucratic and legislative constraints facing the Agency in implementing a comprehensive workforce planning and management system and how these constraints can be addressed, including–

    • (A) which limitations, if any, currently exist that prevent the Agency from hiring the right people for the right positions in a timely manner, including mid-level hires and reentry of mid-level professionals into the Agency; and

    • (B) how this compares with other organizations, such as the Department of State and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), and how the Agency compares to the Department of State and the MCC in its ability to attract and retain high caliber professionals;

  • (5) examine the advantages and disadvantages of the Agency’s use of contractors in the last 10 years to carry out its core mission and management responsibilities;

  • (6) assess the scope and effectiveness of training, including the availability of language training, for Agency personnel, and the extent to which available trainings support carrying out Agency objectives; and

  • (7) present a cost analysis for using a contracting model versus a direct hire model and determine the cost savings and consequences that could result from the elimination of institutional contractors and the hiring of the same professionals as personal services contractors.


SEC. 8. PERSONNEL AND HUMAN RESOURCES.

(a) Career Professional Development- Chapter 2 of part III of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2381 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 630 the following new section:

SEC. 630A. INTERAGENCY AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION ROTATIONS.

(a) Rotations-

  • (1) CAREER GUIDELINES- The Administrator shall establish career guidelines for Foreign Service officers and civil service officers that incorporate interagency, intergovernmental, or international organization rotational assignments. The guidelines established under this paragraph shall include–
    • (A) selection;
    • (B) professional education and training;
    • (C) types of relevant interagency, intergovernmental, and international organization assignments; and
    • (D) such other matters as the Administrator considers appropriate.
  • (2) PROMOTIONS TO SENIOR RANKS- Not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall establish additional guidelines that consider participation by relevant officers in at least 1 interagency, intergovernmental, or international organizational rotational assignment of at least 6 months as a factor for promotion into the ranks of the Senior Foreign Service or Senior Executive Service.
  • (3) PROMOTION POLICY OBJECTIVES FOR ASSIGNMENTS TO INTERAGENCY, INTERGOVERNMENTAL, AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS-
  • (A) QUALIFICATIONS- The Administrator shall ensure that promotion precepts and promotion panels do not penalize officers who have been assigned to interagency, intergovernmental or international organizations.
  • (B) REPORT- The Administrator shall provide an annual report to the appropriate congressional committees that–
  • (i) specifies the aggregate number of officers and the promotion rates of officers who are serving in, or have served in, interagency, intergovernmental, or international organization rotational assignments; and
  • (ii) details efforts to meet the objectives described in paragraph (1).

(b) External Training and Educational Opportunities- It is the sense of Congress that–

  • (1) the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development should augment and expand external training and educational opportunities for Foreign Service and civil service personnel and expand opportunities for work assignments to entities outside the United States Government;
  • (2) a strong development agency should have a knowledgeable and capable workforce that is familiar with and has access to cutting edge development practices, methodologies, ideas, work experience, and programs; and
  • (3) the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development should ensure that personnel of the Agency have opportunities during their careers to obtain a range of knowledge-building work experiences and advanced education and training in academic and other relevant institutions in the United States and abroad to increase the capacity of the Agency to fulfill its mission.’.

Read the whole text of the bill here.

In a related item — Anne-Marie Slaughter, the State Department’s Director of Policy Planning Staff and one of the leads in the QDDR process at State was over at the Center for American Progress yesterday as keynote speaker for its event on “Integrating the Instruments of National Power.” She was quoted as saying that “the overall aim of the QDDR is to integrate and elevate development and diplomacy across the spectrum of the American foreign policy.” […]”You still need to integrate the power of development professionals, the ideas and the expertise, with the political clout and strategy and reach of diplomacy. That seems to me to be the perfect example of integrated power … and that is what Secretary Clinton would like to see as one of her legacies.” Rogin reports that she had the “whole development world scratching their heads.”

Sorry, brain freeze here; I don’t know how to translate what she said. I must point out that she was previously on the record with the “M” word as in — “no merger,” so I imagine integrate means incorporate, mix but …