Scope of the Position:

The Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the head of a group of more than 10,000 federal personnel at the forefront of American efforts to address extreme poverty, create economic growth, and foster democratic societies throughout the world. The Administrator operates with a budget of $27.1 billion and is committed to sustaining USAID's work to lift up the world's most vulnerable people through promoting innovative partnerships, emphasizing science and technology, engaging with and strengthening local leadership, and maintaining a relentless focus on evaluating, measuring, and delivering results.

Illustrative Management Challenges:

According to a report released in October 2015 by the Office of the Inspector General, there are nine challenge areas that present management and performance obstacles to the Agency. Three of these areas are: weak management of human resources, a lack of organizational focus, and decentralized management of information technology and information security.1 The IG has found that there have been significant human resources issues across different USAID project and initiatives. An audit of a project in Bangladesh revealed that employees at three health clinics that received grants through the project had not been paid in two months. Another example is that the IG's audit of the contract for monitoring and evaluation of Agency activities in Somalia identified weaknesses in oversight by contracting officer's representatives (CORs) responsible for monitoring implementers' performance. In order to combat the limitations that have caused the organization to lose focus on its core mission, USAID took action to improve the scope of its operations by reducing the number of program areas from 785 in FY 2010 to 461 in FY 2015, although it is too early to tell whether these changes will bring sufficient focus to Agency programs. As for information technology and information security challenges, the IG's audit relating to the privacy program for information technology divulged new weaknesses and risks related to potential noncompliance with major privacy laws, including the Privacy Act of 1974. Even though some of these challenges are being currently addressed, it is imperative that the Administrator continues to push for improvements to the Agency's management practices.


      1Most Serious Management and Performance Challenges for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID);; October 15, 2015.

USAID Administrators:

Experience working across international borders is a necessity for USAID Administrators. This experience, however, has manifested itself in a variety of different ways in past Administrators, including Ambassadorships, work with international humanitarian organizations, service as executives of global companies, and academic studies.

Current Incumbent:

Gayle E. Smith (2015-present): Smith's previous positions included Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Development and Democracy at the National Security Council, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, Co-Founder of the ENOUGH Project, Co-Founder of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network, Senior Advisor to the Administration and the Chief of Staff for USAID, and a journalist in Africa for more than 20 years.

Previous Administrators:

Rajiv Shah (2010-2015): Shah is currently a Distinguished Fellow in Residence at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. Shah's previous positions included Under Secretary and Chief Scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a member of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where he worked on projects related to global health, agriculture, and financial services. He is a Graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. Henrietta H. Fore (2007-2009): Fore is currently the Chairman and CEO of the investment and management company Holsman International. Her previous positions have consisted of serving as the Under Secretary of State for Management (COO) and the Director of the U.S. Mint in the Department of the Treasury.

Randall L. Tobias (2006-2007): Tobias most recently held the position of Director of Foreign Service, which granted him the rank of Deputy Secretary of State. Tobias was also appointed to serve as the United States Global AIDS Coordinator with the rank of Ambassador. He also served as the Chairman, President, and CEO of Eli Lilly and Company; Chairman and CEO of AT&T International; Vice Chairman of AT&T; and Chairman and CEO of AT&T Communications.

Andrew Natsios (2001-2006): Natsios is currently serving as Executive Professor and Director of the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs. His previous positions included Distinguished Professor of Diplomacy at the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan, a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, CFO and Chief Administrative Officer for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves for over 20 years.

J. Brady Anderson (1999-2001): Anderson currently serves as the Vice Chair on the Board of Directors for the Institute for Global Engagement (IGE). His previous positions included former U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania, translator for multiple publications in African dialects, Special Assistant to Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton, and an advisor and contributor to many different IGE initiatives and projects.

J. Brian Atwood (1993-1999): Atwood is currently the Dean and Professor Emeritus of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Atwood's previous positions have included Under Secretary of State for Management, Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations, Dean of Professional Studies and Academic Affairs at the Foreign Service Institute, a position on a United Nations Peace Operations Panels, and a member of the Foreign Service with the American Embassies in Cote d'Ivoire and Spain. He received an Honorary Doctorate of Law from American University.

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