USAID Missing Person

November 02, 2009
My guest this week is Sheila Herrling, director of CGD’s Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance Program. With November upon us and still no USAID administrator, Sheila introduces us to some possible candidates who have already been vetted for other jobs (learn more and pick your favorite here).In the Wonkcast, Sheila explains the poll and offers a quick run-down on three development-related initiatives underway in Washington: Obama’s Presidential Study Directive, the State Department's first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, and a new effort to re-write the badly out-dated U.S. Foreign Assistance Act (a short video we produced last year remains relevant!)During our interview, Sheila argues that President Obama's foreign policy process is sorely lacking the strong development-focused voice that a USAID administrator would provide. "[Given] the fact that he is struggling with Afghanistan in a very public way right now," she tells me, "really having a voice 24/7 on the development perspective of that strategy is more critical than ever." While Secretary of State Clinton cares about development, "she has a full-time job on a purely foreign policy dimension, on the diplomacy side."She explains that there is virtually no way a USAID administrator could be in office by the administration's 1-year mark unless he or she is nominated by next week."The only way I see getting a candidate this year is if they took someone who's already through the vetting process," she explained in the interview.What’s Sheila’s preference between selecting among those already vetted for other jobs or enduring the wait for a nominee with greater name recognition? And who would Sheila like to see in the job? Find out on the Global Prosperity Wonkcast!Like the Wonkcast? Hate it? Comments or suggestions? Ideas for future interviews? Leave a comment below. If you use iTunes, you can subscribe here to get new episodes delivered straight to your computer every week.


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