President Barack Obama has appointed Alonzo Fulgham acting administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. Fulgham, who has served as the agency's chief operating officer and executive secretary since 2006, will also head the agency's transition efforts.

Fulgham, a Senior Foreign Service member, has been with the agency since 1989 and served in a number of different capacities, including acting deputy director for Serbia and Montenegro, mission director in Afghanistan and director for South Asian affairs in the Bureau for Asia and the Near East, according to a USAID press release.

Fulgham's clearly been around the development block. But the appointment raises the question: Why didn't the White House go all out and name a USAID administrator? Is the young Obama administration gearing up for the broad overhaul of U.S. foreign aid operations that many stakeholders have called for, and wants to nominate an administrator only after a reform strategy has been drafted? Or, perhaps less likely, is this a ploy to avoid Senate confirmation procedures by having Fulgham stay on as "acting" administrator for the forseeable future? Time will tell.

About the author

  • David Francis

    David is a Washington-based journalist and former Devex staffer who spearheaded Devex's "Obama's Foreign Aid Reform" blog. He has written for the Christian Science Monitor, Pittsburgh Post Gazette,, San Francisco Chronicle, Foreign Policy magazine, and the Washington Monthly. David holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and a graduate degree from Georgetown University.