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The US Agency for International Development: A lack of leadership

A number of previous posts have discussed the need to fill critical leadership positions in the Executive Branch. One agency that is woefully understaffed is the US Agency for International Development. A quick look at USAID’s website reveals a most unfortunate situation. Note the amount of positions that are listed has “vacant” or being occupied by an “acting” person– highlighted in blue below:

USAID Organization

The U.S. Agency for International Development is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and has field offices in many of the countries where we have programs. For a graphical representation of this structure, please see the USAID Organization Chart.


USAID is headed by an Administrator and Deputy Administrator, both appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The current Acting Administrator is Alonzo Fulgham; and the Acting Deputy Administrator is (vacant), and the agency’s Counselor is James Michel, and USAID’s Chief Operating Officer is Alonzo Fulgham.


In Washington, USAID’s major organization units are called bureaus. Each bureau houses the staffs responsible for major subdivisions of the agency’s activities.

USAID has both geographic bureaus (which are responsible for the overall activities in the countries where we have programs) and functional bureaus (that conduct agency programs that are world-wide in nature or that cross geographic boundries.) The agency’s geographic bureaus are:

  • Sub-Saharan Africa (AFR) | Earl Gast, Acting
  • Asia (A) | Margot Ellis, Acting
  • Latin America & the Caribbean (LAC) | Janet Ballantyne , Acting
  • Europe and Eurasia (E&E) | Gene V. George, Acting
  • Middle East (ME) | George Laudato, Acting

USAID’s functional bureaus are:

  • Global Health | Gloria Steele, Acting
  • Economic Growth, Agriculture, and Trade | Michael Yates, Acting
  • Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance | Susan Reichle, Acting

In addition, certain major headquarters functions are also assigned to bureaus. Headquarters bureaus are:

  • Management (M) | Drew Luten, Acting
  • Legislative and Public Affairs (LPA) | Vacant

Each bureau is headed by an Assistant Administrator, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

Independent Offices

In addition to these bureaus, USAID has several independent offices that carry-out discrete functions for the agency. These offices are headed by directors who are appointed by the USAID Administrator. USAID’s Independent offices are:

  • Office of the Executive Secretariat (ES) | Vacant
  • Office of Equal Opportunity Programs (EOP) | Jessalyn L. Pendarvis
  • Office of the General Counsel (GC) | Arnold J. Haiman
  • Office of Small Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) | Mauricio Vera, Director
  • Office of Security (SEC) | Randy Streufert , Director
  • Office of Development Partners (ODP) | Karen Turner, Director

Inspector General

The Office of the Inspector General reviews the integrity of Agency operations through audits, appraisals, investigations and inspections.

  • Office of the Inspector General | Donald A. Gambatesa

Isn’t it about time to get an Administrator and begin filling other senior positions?

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Welcome! Who am I?

Anthony Clark Arend is Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the Director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Commentary and analysis at the intersection of international law and politics.