The recently published Inspector General’s Report, Final Evaluation Report: Impacts of the Five-Year Rule on Operations of the  Peace Corps (IG-12-05-E)  focused on the problems caused by the so-called Five Year Rule.  But the report did acknowledge the effect of the Peace Corps’ political appointment structure. I think the observations are critically important. Do you?  From the IGO report:

Staffs’ concerns regarding the Peace Corps’ political appointment structure

Throughout the course of this evaluation many interviewees expressed their beliefs and attitudes regarding the effect that political appointees, particularly appointees with no previous Peace Corps experience, were having on the operations of the agency. Many respondents insisted that it was important for our evaluation to consider the combined effect on the agency’s operations of constant staff turnover and the agency’s political appointment structure. The commonly expressed reasoning respondents articulated was that these two features of the agency’s personnel structure—high turnover created by the FYR and the high number of political appointments managing the agency had combined to create a vicious cycle that harmed the strategic direction of the agency, as well as the ability of staff to function effectively in carrying out whatever strategy was in place at the time. Assessing the merit of this sentiment was outside the scope of our evaluation.

(Note: The highlighting is mine)  To read the entire report;