USAID Gets a New Budget Office

Rajiv Shah, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. Photo by: USAID Afghanistan / CC BY-SA USAID AfghanistanCC BY-SA

The U.S. Agency for International Development will set up a new budget office to help manage its resources effectively, the agency’s chief, Rajiv Shah, announced in a letter to his staff.

Mike Casella, Shah’s senior advisor for budget, will lead the Office of Budget and Resource Management, which will have 35 to 40 budget specialists.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “is committed to enhancing USAID’s budget capabilities, and we are working with the [State’s] Office of the Director of Foreign Assistance (F) on ways that USAID can take on more budgetary responsibility,” Shah wrote in the letter published by Josh Rogin of “The Cable.”

USAID will have “increased responsibility” for implementing its development and humanitarian assistance budget starting next year, according to Shah. The agency will put together a comprehensive budget proposal  for its development and humanitarian assistance programs by fiscal 2013 and beyond. This budget proposal will be integrated into the joint State-USAID budget review.

“Our comprehensive budget proposal must reflect strategic priorities at the corporate and country level and result in the increased focus of our resources on countries and programs critical to the achievement of the President’s and Secretary’s objectives. This will require us to make difficult trade-offs, and to redeploy resources away from lower priority programs, and from activities that are not demonstrating meaningful results,” Shah wrote.

Shah said USAID’s new budget office will “work closely” with the State’s Office of the Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance. The State’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review is expected to specify exactly how these two offices will collaborate, according to Rogin.

The release of the QDDR findings still has no final date, as sources say some “contentious issues” have yet to be ironed out, Rogin reports, adding that Clinton “had been adamant” that the outcome of QDDR should be published before the report on the White House’s Presidential Study Directive on Global Development, or PSD-7, another major development review, which is managed by the National Security Council’s Gayle Smith.

“Tensions between State and the National Security Council have lingered as the two documents charted out conflicting views on some key structural issues, such as whether there will be an oversight mechanism governing overall development policy that would sit outside of the State Department,” according to Rogin.

About the author

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    Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.