Peace Corps Task Force, 2008 New Obama Administration

It is that time again….a new administration in January, and a “new” direction for the Peace Corps. This is the document written in the fall of 2008, shortly before President Obama took office. It is fascinating to see how few of these recommendations from the Task Force (not surprising, I’d say) were adopted by the Obama Administration. I have ‘pulled’ one of those suggestions out and highlighted it. How often have we heard about the increasing of PCVs?  This is a Word Document taken from a PDF.  (John Coyne)

During the Presidential campaign, President-elect Obama made the following comment in a speech at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa when introducing Senator Harris Wofford, a person with a close association to the Peace Corps since the days of John Kennedy: “It is an honor to be introduced by Harris Wofford – one of America’s greatest advocates for public service. Starting with the civil rights movement and the Peace Corps, Harris and a generation of Americans answered a call to service. At a pivotal moment in our history, they stood up; they changed America; and they changed the world ….”

Obama went on the say, “To restore America’s standing, I will call on our greatest resource – not our bombs, guns, or dollars – I will call upon our people. We will grow the Foreign Service to renew our commitment to diplomacy.  We will double the size of the Peace Corps by its 50th anniversary in 2011. And we’ll reach out to other nations to engage their young people in similar programs, so that we work side by side to take on the common challenges that confront all humanity ….”

Here is what the Transition Team wrote to guide the new President and the new Peace Corps Administration


PEACE  CORPS ROADMAP 1-peace-corps-office


 Key Issues The Challenge
Anniversary, can once again inspire a new The Peace Corps, on the threshold  of its  501 generation of Americans and play a highly significant role at this critical crossroad in American  and world history. President-elect  Obama singled-out the Peace  Corps in his presidential  campaign to play an important role in his pledge to restore American standing and leadership  in  the world. He is counting on the generosity and service of Americans  of all ages to join  hands  with the peoples of developing countries to fight hunger, disease, poverty, environmental degradation and natural and human disasters. Peace Corps also represents Obama’s vision that community service at home and abroad will help unite the country in these times of peril and economic crisis and renew a national  spirit of solidarity  and commitment  to regain the core  values of American society. The approximately 200,000 returned Volunteers have contributed enormously  to helping Americans  better  understand  other cultures in a fast changing   world.

Successful Volunteers also contributed in countless ways to the development of their host communities; and the  Peace  Corps by far has the most “graduates” of any other university  or  sector into the U.S. Foreign  Service, USAID,  and  international  development  organizations.  To this day, it remains an esteemed and respected institution. However, much remains to be done to further bridge the gap of understanding that separates us from the peoples of other nations, particularly as the United States itself is moving at a fast pace to become a truly multi-cultural society. Peace Corps’ contribution in this important area must be given new urgency and commitment.

A necessary step for Peace Corps to become an effective part of President-elect Obama’s reinvigorated  U.S. diplomacy  and  development  assistance  effort  is through  measured  growth over the next four years. Growth can come through expanding programs in the 76 countries with current Peace Corps presence  and starting Peace  Corps programs  in at least 25 additional  countries.   A firm commitment to growth must come from  both the Obama Administration  and    the Congress, and must remain steady over the coming years to ensure program continuity and effectiveness.  To be  an effective  people  to people  and development assistance organization, Peace  Corps must remain  independent  of other U.S.  diplomatic  and security agencies.

While Peace Corps continues to attract  and inspire generations  of Americans  and draw respect from  others,  to fully meet  President-elect  Obama’ s challenge  of  growth  and  renewed  relevance as an agency, Peace Corps must take urgent and resolute steps to renew many of its policies, procedures and practices. In a fast changing world Peace Corps has been slow to modernize its systems and programming.   The challenge  is to reform  those aspects of its institutional  composition that impede real innovation, foster insularity, fragmentation and top-down decision making. Under the Bush Administration, the selection of field country directors not only became more  laborious but  also more partisan  and does not  lend itself to attract the best possible professionals  for this key role.  In short, the new leadership  of the Peace  Corps must be prepared  to make  significant  improvements  to both grow and become  a more  effective agency.

The principal  areas for reform that Peace Corps must address  include:

  • Improve volunteer recruitment, processing and placement. In an era of information technology, Peace Corps continues to process applications by hand, despite the fact that 95 percent of applications are filled-out on-line. Medical processing needs to be reassessed, particularly if older volunteers  are to become  a larger part  of the  Volunteer
  • Revitalize Volunteer recruitment procedures. Recruitment systems have lagged behind changing demographics and new technologies. While universities continue to supply young college graduates, Peace Corps recruitment systems are increasingly unable to attract higher skilled individuals that are much in demand. Part of the reason  is that the one program Master’s International-which specifically recruits Volunteers  with  graduate  training,  never  has received priority attention. Diversity recruitment has not produced a mix of Volunteers reflective of U.S. society. Opening Masters International programs at Historically Black and Historically Hispanic Colleges and Universities would be one way to enhance recruitment particularly if it is linked to some loan forgiveness. Surprisingly Peace Corps does not have recruitment  professionals  on
  • Improve programming and training. Quality jobs are key to Volunteer effectiveness and satisfaction. What a Volunteer makes of ajob is also a function of both technical and language training, and building a Volunteer’s capacity to perform well in often unstructured situations. Peace Corps staff recognizes that the agency has fallen behind is this critical area, while offering few suggestions for improvement. Peace Corps will require rethinking, including the development of strong relationships with specialized organizations and universities. Field programming relies heavily on local staff, many of whom are excellent, but have been in their jobs continuously for many years with little programmatic

In all of these areas but particularly with respect  to site selection, program  assignment  and  staff performance, finding more  appropriate ways  to incorporate  the views  of current Volunteers and departing Volunteers is essential. Every country should have a Volunteer Advisory Committee (VAC) that is a partner with the country director and staff in enhancing Volunteer safety, living conditions and program  success. Volunteer  feedback, through  a revised, updated and effective annual Volunteer survey, through  ongoing informal  exchanges  on a regular basis with the country  staff and formal feedback  mechanisms  to regional  staff   and the director, and through more  comprehensive  close of service formats can be put into  place  immediately  to enhance  current and future Volunteer  opportunities  for  success.

  • Urgently modernize processes and procedures. A host of Peace Corps processes and procedures, from submitting volunteer requests from the field offices to matching applicants with volunteer requests do not make use of available software or technology that could help expedite and improve selection and placement performance. An internal Volunteer Delivery Systems committee, representing  relevant  agency  offices, has worked  to  define the life cycle process from volunteer recruitment to close of service. However, implementation has lacked resources  and priority interest from the   leadership.
  • Reverse current insularity from  the development  assistance Peace Corps has remarkably few partnerships and strategic alliances, either domestically or internationally. Current professional staff is forthcoming  in their recognition  that Peace Corps has  progressively  isolated  itself in the  development  community.   This has limited  its own capacity to best utilize its own material and intellectual resources, leveraging those of other institutions,  and creating synergies that  could  enhance  its development  impact  overseas. Peace  Corps has failed to make full use of the energy and enthusiasm  of returning volunteers   to bear witness to their experience and help Americans better understand other cultures. The  new leadership  is faced with the challenge  of reversing  this insularity and building  a new  array  of program-building  relationships.
  • Change overly centralized management structure and practices.  Presently, some  19 of Peace Corps’ functional offices and departments report to the chief of staff, who concentrates power and authority. The Deputy Director is virtually without  a specific role,  other than filling-in  for the Director during his absences.   This concentration  of power  in the hands  of  one individual has stifled creativity, hampered decision-making, and detracted from agency effectiveness. Field staff complains about  “bureaucratization” and concentration  of power  in the Headquarters.   While  staff morale  is affected, it also affects Volunteer  morale  and a feeling of dis-empowerment. Peace Corps struggles with an early termination rate that is disturbingly high. Over centralization and the proliferation of offices has contributed to the emergence  of multiple  “silos,” which  limit inter-office  communication  and  cooperation  and the resolution of cross-cutting challenges, such as volunteer and staff training. A serious examination of the organization and structure of the Peace Corps is highly recommended to determine if staff positions can be redeployed from headquarters to the country offices where they  are urgently
  • Address severe budgetary constraints. Dollar devaluation and inflation in FY 2008 had a severe impact on current Peace Corps operations. A needed budget increase did not materialize in FY2009 because of a continuing resolution pegged at last year’s level, forcing Peace Corps to cancel a new class of approximately 500 Volunteer trainees who had been recruited and selected for service. It has also meant staff cuts in headquarters and field positions and the postponement or elimination of needed infrastructure improvement investments. Hence, as the new administration is calling for an expanded Peace Corps, the agency has endured an actual reduction in size and capacity to effectively support current Volunteers.
  • Improve Peace Corps country director selection procedures and provide more and better support to country programs and Volunteers. While Peace Corps wisely, though belatedly, decided in 1988 that country directors should not be political positions, the past few years has seen a gradual re-encroachment of partisan political factors or non-merit consideration in the selection process. Moreover, this selection process is cumbersome and excessively long, discouraging qualified  candidates from. Without  question, the country  directors are the  most  important positions  in the  agency  from the perspective  of ensuring quality programs,  development  impact,  and sound Volunteer  support and satisfaction.  Country director selection must be greatly  improved to ensure the hiring  of quality professionals  through a process not based on personal politics. At the same time, country directors must be given greater authority (while increasing headquarters performance oversight) to creatively manage  field  operations,  establish  alliances,  leverage  host  country  resources,  and explore new programming opportunities. Volunteer support mechanisms for health,  security and programs require more  effectiveness  and  resources.
  • Expand the focus and rewards by putting greater emphasis on the civic roles of returned Volunteers. Over the years Peace Corps has paid relatively little attention to its Third Goal, which is to help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans. Usually scarce of resources, Peace Corps has focused its attention on on-going programs that center on the First and Second Goals (Helping people in developing countries  address social and economic needs; and Helping promote a better understanding of Americans among the people  they  serve;) Nonetheless,  returned  Volunteers  scattered throughout  the country have actively taken it upon themselves to disseminate among family and friends their  impressions  and experiences.   They have formed over  130 organizations  of returned Volunteers scattered throughout the country, including the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA). Returned Volunteers have been recruited in significant numbers  by U.S. diplomatic  and development assistance agencies, as well as international agencies and multilateral corporations. In the spirit of President-elect Obama’s call for public service and world understanding, Peace Corps must finds ways to lend far greater attention and resources to its Third.

It is time to actuate and demonstrate the power of returned Volunteer cultural and linguistic skills in the new multi-cultural America; show that Peace Corps service abroad helps solve problems here at home – completing the loop for Peace Corps; and create a re-employment stream for returned Volunteers. Taxpayers will see an impact at home (as teachers, public health workers and more). Over time, this grows into more support, first for overseas mission, and then for the domestic goal. It helps local officials meet challenges that some days seem insurmountable.

The Critical Choices for Peace Corps

Peace Corps faces one of the most important choices since its founding. It can rise to the occasion and become a key player in Barack Obama’s vision for change, public service and renewed U.S. standing in a world that has grown to distrust Americans, their motivation and institutions. On the other hand, it can continue to struggle with its own relevance in a rapidly changing world that has witnessed the emergence of new development assistance approaches (PEPFAR, MCC), innovative volunteer programs, powerful non-profit organizations and well­ endowed foundations. As the new Obama Administration ponders how to best rationalize its commitment to development assistance, Peace Corps must provide a fresh and dynamic response. It must also retool or re-engineer itself to streamline and improve its operations to embark on a growth path in line with the President-elect’s pledge.

A careful examination of Peace Corps’ current program and operations reveals an agency with multiple internal challenges. It is time for some paradigmatic and dramatic changes. In some countries Peace Corps has continued with the same programs for decades without significant changes. In a developing world that is progressively moving towards more democracy and decentralization, Peace Corps Volunteers continue sector approaches, which deny the essentially integrated, multi-sector nature of the development process. In recent years Peace Corps has recognized the importance of local government, but has been Jess able to creatively place Volunteers in positions to foster improved local governance from the grassroots. One of the greatest strengths of the United States is the capacity of its citizens and local authorities to resolve, democratically, the basic needs of the population. Peace Corps could harness this ingrained know-how of its citizen/volunteers to help emerging nations build stronger and more participatory societies, while resolving critical needs for potable water, food security, environmental protection, health and sanitation and economic development. Peace Corps also needs to explore new and alternative ways to tap the public service interests and possibilities of Americans, such as shorter-term service for disaster or crisis response, partnerships with other institutions, greater use of returned Volunteers for special assignments, and others. Peace Corps should encourage more Volunteers to extend for a third year, which is the best way to ensure greater development impact.  Finally, Peace Corps could play a significant role expanding models of public service in other countries, helping with volunteer programs in the host countries and exploring ways to welcome volunteers from other countries to serve in U.S. communities.

Growing Peace Corps will be an effective and low-cost way for the United States to increase its humanitarian  presence  in the world.  Required  funding increases  for program  growth,  compared to past Peace Corps budgets, represent a fraction of other development and military assistance programs. Overtime, doubling the size of the Peace Corps could require sustained yearly appropriations of $700 million. However, to be effective, growth needs to be incremental taking place  in parallel  with an intense  modernization  and reform  effort.  Growth without reform  will not achieve the desired results. Yet, even without increased  funding, Peace  Corps must  still urgently  pursue  comprehensive  reform to maintain  its relevance.

Peace  Corps’  challenge is both domestic as well  as international.  Attention  to the domestic  front  is needed to expand and revitalize the pool of potential Peace Corps applicants, establish creative partnerships with universities and other organization, and to foster the Third Goal in new and  creative  ways.   The new leadership  of the Peace  Corps must  see and understand  the opportunities, move with determination and intelligence to improve  operations,  and build  an effective  roadmap  for solid program growth.

A.        Strategic  Questions  and  Options  for the First 90 days.


How  to launch  a revitalized  mission  for the Peace Corps combined with  program  growth?

Peace Corps reform  needs to start on January   201

Under  ideal circumstances  a new director will have been named by that time. It is our understanding that current law requires that Peace Corps be headed by an individual who has received Senate confirmation. By necessity, this means that, unless the Obama administration is able to name a Senate confirmed person to head Peace Corps on an interim basis, it will need to accept the continuation of either the current Director or Deputy Director to remain on an interim basis. We recommend that the Transition Team look into this matter at the earliest possible moment. Ifsomeone from the current leadership must remain until a permanent Obama Administration Director is appointed and confirmed by the Senate, we recommend that this person be current Deputy Director Jody Olsen. Absent new permanent leadership, it is critically important for the Obama administration to signal to whoever is the Acting Director and any other transition team member assigned temporarily to the agency, to move ahead expeditiously with a number of excellent proposals that come from various professional staff committees, particularly those that have been working on growth plans and improving the Volunteer Delivery System. These initiatives represent months of discussion and careful planning and should be given the green light to move ahead, although obviously they will need to be reviewed by the incoming Director.

Critical vacancies should be filled for both field and headquarters  staff to ensure program  continuity  and adequate  Volunteer  support.   Of particular  importance  is the position of Associate Director for Volunteer Recruitment and Selection (YRS). We recommend that the incumbent political  appointee,  Rosie Mauk, be kept  until  a replacement  is found.   With her planned departure  on January 201

there  is no other senior staff person  (the current chief of operations who would normally fill in is on extended sick leave) who can continue current operations and implement  a series of planned  innovations  that require  leadership. Normally,  the bulk  of new Vol unteer entries (referred to as trainee-inputs given their condition as trainees during the first  three months followed by  their 24 months  of service) occur during the third  and  fourths quarters of the year. To not lose momentum in 2009, recruitment efforts must enter high gear to produce enough candidates to fill field requests  and undergo  the medical  clearance process  in time to begin training.

While significant Volunteer growth cannot occur during FY2009 given the long lead time for job development, recruitment, selection and training, some growth could take place this fiscal year provided additional funds are available very early on. We recommend that $90 million be made available over the current continuing resolution amount of $330 million to restore harmful cuts; re-invite the 500 new volunteers entries that had to be cancelled; begin paying for the critical infrastructure and program improvements needed to put the program on a sound footing; and lay the groundwork for sustained growth in FY2010 and beyond. Immediate growth can also take place by lifting the restriction on third year of service Volunteer extensions. This action will increase numbers without additional Volunteer inputs and strengthen the development impact.

Within the first 90 days, the new Peace Corps leadership must move swiftly to name key personnel, such as the Regional Directors for the Inter-America and Pacific, Africa, and Europe, Mediterranean and Asiaregions, and the heads of the offices of Volunteer Support and Volunteer Selection and Recruitment. While speed is of the essence, it cannot be done at the expense of quality and experience. The reform process must start as soon as possible to ensure that future growth is based on a solid foundation. Building on some existing plans, reforms must also be infused with new ideas and “out of the box” thinking.

Peace Corps should expand Volunteer diversity by increasing  minority  applicants and by removing the obstacles to recruiting and programming  50+ Volunteers.  Currently  some  17 percent  of Volunteers  come from minority  backgrounds.  More  can be  done with  a concentrated recruitment effort. One of the past recruiting tools–the Master’s  International  program  needs intense work  with targeted  Historically  Black  or Hispanic-serving  colleges and universities. Course work  takes place  the first year and then the next two years  are serving as Volunteers  in   lieu of their normal second “clinical” year of the  graduate program.  A  strong effort could make  it  a particularly useful way of attracting trained minority Volunteers, particularly if it comes with a provision reducing loan repayment obligations after completion of service. Reviewing those guidelines  to be  sure that they  are current  and reimbursing  for medical tests required  by  the Peace Corps is one set of actions.  A second set involves removing financial constraints,  for  instance, insuring that senior Volunteers can leave their  current  private  insurance program  and return when they complete service. Similarly longer lead-time has to be built-in  so senior  Volunteers  can deal with renting  or selling their  home.

What will it take for Peace Corps to meet the challenge of growth while increasing its effectiveness  as a  people-centered  development  agency?

Sustainable growth in numbers cannot come before Peace Corps conducts a rapid and thorough review of its program policies and procedures. Several good road maps exist from the cadre of highly experienced professional staff currently working for the Peace Corps. Country directors, if given the opportunity, can come up with numerous suggestions for change and innovation to increase program effectiveness. It will be important for the new leadership to quickly create an internal environment that fosters and rewards creative thinking and opens channels of communication. A process of empowerment of the regional offices, and in turn the country field offices, should start as soon as possible. Peace Corps staff, many of whom are former Volunteers and/or served previously in staff positions, can be energized to meet the important challenge of the moment. Most are highly enthused by President-elect Obama’s call for service and an expanded role for the Peace Corps.

A new organizational structure will be needed to build leadership in key areas and eliminate overlapping functions, ineffective programs or low priority activities.  Careful  scrutiny must  be given to resource heavy headquarters offices such as the Office  of the  Informational Officer and the Office of Program Assistance and Training Support. These offices appear overly large, siphoning off agency resources and becoming  veritable  bureaucratic  barriers  that hinder  rather than  help program  effectiveness  and change.

The issue of Volunteer health, safety and security must remain  a priority.  These are areas where  the new leadership cannot cut corners. However, new thinking must be brought to bear in these  areas to strike a better balance between legitimate  concerns  for Volunteer  health,  safety and security and the best  way to achieve them  and avoid   unnecessary risk-aversion. These issues cannot  become  the  driving  force for agency  decision-making,  but  must  constitute essential factors to be taken  into consideration  in the best  possible  manner.

How can Peace Corps retool itself with new approaches for service, while retaining its core values?

While Peace Corps remains a highly esteemed and iconic organization in the minds of the American  public,  it has experienced  minimal  change  in its programs,  systems and approaches since its founding in 1961. Every decade or so, Peace Corps seems to rediscover what it did earlier under the guise of innovation. Peace Corps was launched by President Kennedy as a challenge for public service to a post World War II and Korean War generation of young Americans at a time of growing world polarization. Peace Corps was a call to spread American idealism among developing countries tom between opposing ideologies. It became an opportunity to share with other cultures and work hand in hand with the poor of the world. For those who heeded Kennedy’s call for service and successive generations of Americans since that time, Peace Corps has been a transformational experience.

Over the past 50 years, the world has seen dramatic changes, particularly represented  by the collapse of communism  and the emergence  of the United  States as the sole superpower.  It has also witnessed the steady growth of democracy in its various forms as the best way to ensure the happiness and well being of a nation. Yet, today powerful  new challenges  are emerging that threaten the survival of the planet: cultural divides and fanaticism; global  warming  and environment degradation; the exhaustion of non-renewal  sources of energy; new diseases;  persistent poverty for over half the world’s population; and persistent conflict within and among nations.   To this we must  now add the current world  economic collapse.

It is in this context that the leadership of Barack Obama emerges and captivates the hopes and aspirations of the world. His call for service echoes those of his predecessor of a half  century  ago. While the context has changed, the underlying message and theme remain universal: the hopes for humankind are predicated on the ability of people to reach out to each other to form bonds  of friendship and understanding  and to work together, hand  in hand, to build better   comm unities  and fight poverty  and disease.

What should be the role and approach of the Peace Corps in this new and complex world? It is a world of instant communication flowing even to the most remote places on earth; massive  movement  of peoples  searching for new opportunities;  and mixing bowls  of cultures and ethnicities occurring  at an increasingly  fast pace.  The opportunity  and challenge  for Peace  Corps is to reexamine many of its traditional  ways of conducting  business.  New  approaches to service  are needed, including rethinking the potential contribution of returned Volunteers who will come home to an increasingly diverse and multi-cultural United States with mounting problems at the national and local levels, and eroding living standards as of result of the current global economic crisis. Peace Corps is in a unique position to embrace the “global community” and build a strong linkage between its service in other countries and its contribution to service at home.  One of the  great challenges of the new Peace Corps leadership will be to find ways to build mechanisms to bridge  overseas  and domestic  opportunities  for service.

What will be required financially for Peace  Corps to increase  its numbers while increasing  its effectiveness  to achieve  its  three goals?

The financial cost of growing the Peace  Corps is not  only represented  by increased  funds to pay  for Volunteers.   Fresh resources  are also required  for retooling  investments  and to pay for the   cost of building the necessary programmatic and institutional  infrastructure  capable  of improving and supporting the full gamut of steps and processes that entail placing Volunteers in meaningful  jobs  overseas, ensuring  their  health  and well-being,  and supporting their repatriation  in a new and productive way. The traditional paradigms that have served Peace Corps over the years will require  a fresh look to bring them  in line with current needs and challenges both in other    countries  and in the United  States.

Both the Obama  administration  and Congress should be mindful  of the fact that  growing the  Peace Corps must be viewed as a long-term commitment  and endeavor that will require  incremental appropriations over the next four years and  sustained funding once optimal  size has been reached. Peace Corps over the years has experienced growth spurts, followed by funding reductions that have severely damaged  operations,  cut short the aspirations  of many  service oriented Americans and harmed relations with host countries. Country closings due to budgetary constraints  have  not served the Peace  Corps and U.S. interests  well.

To fulfill President-elect Obama’s pledge to double the size of the Peace Corps will require the political  will  to  prioritize  this  expenditure  and enlist  solid congressional  support. While  it will be the duty of the new Peace Corps leadership to build strong support in Congress and a solid constituency for the Peace Corps and its increased  funding,  Administration  backing  (Department  of State, OMB and White  House) will be  of paramount  importance.  The  Obama Administration will need to view the Peace  Corps at its optimal  operating level  as a $700 million  or more agency.


The Bush Administration leaves an organization of approximately 2000 employees and 7500 volunteers serving in 76 countries with 71 Peace Corps country field offices (some offices cover multiple countries, as in the cases of the Eastern Caribbean and Micronesia). A combination of yearly budget shortfalls, recent agency-wide budget reductions and a highly centralized organizational and management structure have left the Peace Corps in desperate need of policy, program  reform  and reengineering  and with serious staff morale  issues.

In recent  years even the Peace  Corps under the Bush Administration  has realized  that major  reform and modernization are necessary to improve operations  and efficiency.  But very  little actually has taken place. Initiatives are barely underway that can or could improve the volunteer delivery system.  They remain  in the planning  stages, and will  require  early review by a new  Peace Corps leadership to determine which have the potential to increase Volunteer  effectiveness and  lay the  foundations  for program growth

Past efforts  to expand  numbers.

Three years ago and with program strength of just over 8000 Volunteers, Peace Corps reached its highest  level in 37 years.  However, this growth was  short-lived, as the financial  and  staff resources required to sustain this growth were not provided, forcing Volunteer levels to drop, and once again straining the capacity of field staff to maintain adequate support  for Volunteers.  Past calls for Peace Corps growth have not been  followed  by  funding increases,  nor by improvements  in management systems, programming at the country level, or in empowering Volunteers, thus, creating false starts and frustration both on the part of Volunteers and staff and host country counterparts.

Continuing the last two Presidents’ calls to double the Peace Corps, OMB asked Congress in 2004 for $359 million (20 percent increase) and in 2005 $401 million (26 percent increase) to carry out that mission. However, little priority or political capital was attached to secure those increases by the Administration and Congress appropriated only $310 million in 2004 and $320 million in 2005. These false starts were very damaging to Peace Corps and underscored the importance of sustained Presidential support for any Peace Corps growth plan.

Safety  and Security

In March 2003, the position of Safety and Security Coordinator that was established during the Clinton Administration was given more stature by establishing a separate Office of Safety and Security. Its purpose was to foster improved communication, coordination, oversight, and accountability for the safety and security of Peace Corps Volunteers. This new office was  established with the rank of Associate  Director  and with a mandate  that encompassed  all aspects of Volunteer safety and well being, such as the capacity to track crime statistics, identify crime trends  and pinpoint  potential  safety risk to Volunteers.  Legislation  enacted  in 2003 authorized the Peace Corps Director to make appointments without regard to the five-year rule when they involve the safety of Peace Corps Volunteers. In November 2003, the Peace Corps Director designated  25 positions  in the Office of Safety and Security as safety-related  and exempt from   the five-year rule. Incumbents and new appointees to those positions have been given indefinite appointments, thus introducing for the first time a new category of Peace Corps employee not subject to limited term  appointments.    The events of 9/11 have had an important  and long­ lasting  impact  on the Peace Corps.

Office of AIDS  Relief

Expanding efforts to  combat  the HIV/ AIds  pandemic  began  during the  Clinton Administration that included a requirement that all Volunteers serving in Africa be trained  as HIV/AIDS prevention educators even if that was not their primary assignment. Peace  Corps established  its own Office of AIDS Relief to provide policy  guidance,  leadership and general  supervision to Peace Corps HIV/AIDS activities. Additionally, the Office of AIDS Relief is the link for the agency’s  involvement  in the President’s  Emergency  Plan  for  AIDS  Relief (PEPFAR).

Peace Corps has been an active partner in global PEPFAR programs in 34 countries, having received  $50 million over five years  for Volunteer  support  and individual  projects.

Incoming  leadership must  examine utilization  of PEPFAR  funding for core Peace Corps functions. PEPFAR funding, intended to provide posts with the additional resources to enhance activities and support in the area of HIV/AIDS, has been increasingly used to fund core post functions  (such  as  staff salaries,  administrative  expenses  and Volunteer  allowances),  especially in the Africa Region.   For example, three  quarters  of the Ethiopia post  budget  and  sixty percent of the Rwanda budget, are funded with PEPFAR money. This situation, while  understandable  in tight financial times, makes the Peace Corps country programs that use PEPFAR resources vulnerable to changes in PEPFAR policies and priorities. Peace Corps must use its own appropriations  to fund the basic costs of running its program  operations  and use external resources,  such as PEPFAR,  only to enhance  or complement  its  operations.

Peace  Corps Response Program

The Peace Corps Response Program builds on the work of its predecessor  “Crisis Corps.” It  deploys returned Peace Corps Volunteers and active Peace Corps Volunteers who are completing their tours of service to help countries address critical needs in the areas of disaster response, disaster preparedness and mitigation, humanitarian assistance, HIV/AIDS, and post conflict assistance,  on a short term basis.  Peace Corps Response also oversees the United Nation  Volunteer (UNY) program, which helps place highly trained U.S. citizens in the UNY technical assistance programs to provide technical assistance to developing countries. Growing the Peace Corps Response program is an ideal way to increase the pool of “experienced” men and women eligible for Peace Corps service.  This program  could consider reaching beyond  former and  current Volunteers to increase the pool of qualified candidates for disaster or crisis response  service.  Peace Corps Response  could also be utilized to expand Peace Corps’ presence  in  countries in transition  following the Liberia model. (Peace Corps recently returned to Liberia after an 18 year absence by opening a Peace Corps Response “stand alone” program. Relying on experienced volunteers allowed Peace Corps to field technically and cross-culturally experienced volunteers during the late post-conflict  reconstruction  period  in Liberia).  A Peace Corps Response approach could also help expedite new country entries as Crisis Corps did earlier.  As   the host country moved from a reconstruction to a development phase, the program could be expanded to include regular Peace Corps   Volunteers.

Volunteer Delivery  System  Steering Committee

Over the past year, Peace Corps established a Volunteer Delivery System Steering Committee that is focused on three goals of Peace Corps, and is concerned with the task of optimizing the Volunteer Delivery and Support System by leveraging the full force of the agency’s   organization, management, technology, and fiscal operations capabilities. The VDS SC is  charged with overseeing these activities to better address the ever-changing needs and expectations of future generations of Volunteers and host countries.  The utility of the  Committee should be examined, particularly in terms of whether its recommendations over the past year have led to positive  agency  reforms.

Office  of Strategic Information,  Research,  and Planning (OSIRPS)

The Office of Strategic Information, Research and Planning (OSIRPS) was established May 14, 2007 as a result of recommendations by the Strategic Information & Research Team (SRI). This Team was created  in the fall of 2006 to address the need for the Peace Corps to improve its ability to measure the impact of the work of the Volunteers. OSIRPS is also concerned with  returned Volunteer impact in the U.S. While considerable time and effort has gone into the elaboration of an agency strategic plan that is part of the GRPA requirements, the new leadership should review this office, its size and budget and determine how much of the office can be eliminated in order to meet country staffing needs.  It remains  a challenge for Peace Corps to  devise methods to measure its impact, which cannot rely on traditional  quantitative approaches   and must focus on changing attitudes and measuring the increased  capacity of the communities   and organizations  with  which Peace Corps Volunteers  commonly  work.  Traditional development assistance results oriented yardsticks not only cannot normally be applied to Peace Corps, but they fail to capture the richness  of the Peace Corps contribution  to   development.


During the Presidential campaign, President-elect Obama made the following comment in a speech at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa when introducing Senator Harris Wofford, a person with a close association to the Peace Corps since the days of John Kennedy: “It is an honor to be introduced by Harris Wofford – one of America’s greatest advocates for public service. Starting with the civil rights movement and the Peace Corps, Harris and a generation of Americans answered a call to service. At a pivotal moment in our history, they stood up; they changed America; and they changed the world ….”

He went on the say, “To restore America’s standing, I will call on our greatest resource – not our bombs, guns, or dollars – I will call upon our people. We will grow the Foreign Service to renew our commitment to diplomacy.  We will double the size of the Peace Corps by its 50th    anniversary in 2011. And we’ll reach out to other nations to engage their young people in similar programs, so that we work side by side to take on the common challenges that confront all humanity ….”


  1. Priority Policy  and Legislative Issues Requiring Immediate Attention
  • Reaffirm pledge to double the number of Peace Corps Volunteers and follow that with an increased budget request that will begin the process of raising the number of annual enrollments. While doubling the numbers responsibly will require at least four years, immediate action following the Presidential inauguration is required to start the process of laying the groundwork for growth and increasing Peace Corps’ operational capacity and effectiveness. The pledge should preferably commit the new administration to grow, and to double as soon as possible, ideally with  sufficient  reforms across-the-board  and resources  to enable that to occur over the next four years. That goal for the Peace Corps should be contained within the Inaugural Address  as part of a national call for service and an increased  commitment to meeting the needs  of developing
  • Hold meeting at the White House with Peace Corps stakeholders followed by a press conference on future plans for the Peace Corps. As part of the launching of an expanded role for the Peace Corps to fulfill President-elect Obama’s vision for re-energizing public service and humanitarian  assistance around the world, the Transition Team   recommends  that President Obama host a meeting at the White House that would gather important Peace Corps stakeholders, such as the Kennedys, the Shrivers, former Peace Corps directors, representatives of the returned Peace Corps community, notables such as Harris Wofford, Senator Chris Dodd, Congressman Sam Farr and other return volunteer  members of  Congress, Bill Moyers, Bill Novelli (CEO/AARP), Governor Jim Doyle, Lt. Governor John Garamendi,  Chris Matthews  and author Paul

A meeting of this nature early in the Obama Administration could be an opportunity to underscore to the United States and the world the seriousness and  importance  ascribed by the Obama administration to the need to commit ourselves to public service and the public good at home and abroad.  It would  be a symbolic gesture to signal a profound  change in  how the new leadership in the United States views its role in the world by embracing the highest values in American society (exemplified by Peace Corps) embodied in respect and service to others. Such a meeting  could also announce the designation of the new Peace  Corps Director  and plans  for program growth.

  • Early issuance of directives by the Secretary of State to insure independence of Peace Corpsfrom day-to-day foreign policy and intelligence operations of S. government is highly recommended. Since the first days of the Peace Corps, as a people to people   program, it was deemed of paramount importance that it remain separate from short-term foreign policy considerations and, above all, visibly disconnected  from any form of intelligence operation. Early in their tenures, successive Secretaries of State have sent instructions to U.S. Ambassadors around the world in countries with Peace Corps programs reaffirming this independence. It is highly recommended that Secretary of State designate Hillary  Clinton  again  inform  and  instruct  ambassadors  to be  mindful  of the  independence of the Peace Corps. They should be reminded that Peace Corps is not to be viewed as an instrument  for short-term  U.S.  foreign policy,  and that  all U.S.  agencies  are barred  from any attempt to request, direct or attempt to use Volunteers for intelligence gathering. This policy  of independence  is absolutely essential.  It not only lends credibility  to Peace  Corps as a genuine and transparent humanitarian organization, but is also a key element for the protection  and  security of Peace  Corps Volunteers  and  staff who  interact  daily with the local  population  at the provincial  and community levels.

In recent years, this separation has been somewhat eroded by the pressures of security considerations, which have had considerable impact on Volunteer site placements and have forced the adoption of security policies and procedures that may run counter to the best interests  of a program  such as the Peace  Corps.   Without  question,  security must  be a matter of the highest priority.  Decision  makers responsible  for Volunteer  safety must exercise balanced judgment in their decisions, consulting broadly before making  determinations that might have far reaching consequences  for the program.  Recently,  the Bush administration  withdrew  Peace  Corps from Bolivia  following the expulsion  of the U.S.  Ambassador  to that  country.   Peace  Corps was  ordered to almost immediately evacuate from Bolivia – in part because of the violation of the independence of the Peace Corps. While U.S./Bolivian relations  are strained  and an eventual  withdrawal  might have been necessary, the manner in which Peace Corps withdrew conveyed the message that the withdrawal was in retribution  for the expulsion of the Ambassador.  A return to Bolivia,  South America’s  poorest  country,  should be sought  as soon as conditions  permit.

  • Consider pros and cons of  White House send-off  of new group of Peace  Corps Volunteers who will re-initiate the Peace  Corps Program in    Peace  Corps is set to return to Rwanda following an absence of 19 years due to the genocidal war between the Hutu and the Tutsi nations.   The 35 new volunteer-trainees,  who will be working in a HIV/Aids program  with PERFAR  funding, will  gather in Washington  DC January 26-28  for their final processing  prior to departure to Rwanda. A White House  send-off with newly inaugurated President Obama would be a powerful message to the United  States and  the world  regarding the new administration’s  commitment  to service, development assistance and an increased humanitarian role for the Peace Corps. This type of Volunteer send-off was practiced by past Presidents, starting with President  Kennedy  in the earliest  days of the Peace  Corps.

Obviously a decision to hold a public gathering that will attract world-wide  press coverage also commits the prestige of our new President. The current Rwandan government’s widely reported support for marauding rebels in the Eastern  Congo might  give some pause  for concern regarding the wisdom  of hosting a White House gathering centered  on Rwanda and  its government  at this time.   The new  administration  must weigh this decision  carefully.

The scheduled Washington  process  of other new Peace  Corps groups during the first month  in office of President-elect  Obama could be  explored  as an alternative to a Rwanda send off.

•     Name  a high level commission  to collaborate with on-going  nationwide  efforts to commemorate the Peace  Corps’ 50th anniversary  in 2011. The 50th Anniversary  of the founding of the Peace Corps will  occur during President  Obama’s first term  in office.  Some 200,000 returned Peace Corps Volunteers have high expectation for this historic milestone. Advanced planning  is underway  for what  will  be a major event  in Washington D.C. and around the country.  Discussions  are underway  with a variety  of organizations,  such as the Smithsonian Institution  and universities  to plan for the celebration.  The University  of Michigan,  where  President  Kennedy  first issued his call for service is ready  to host events commemorating their role in Peace Corps history. Given President-elect Obama’s proposal to foster a national spirit of public service and increase the role of Peace Corps in international  humanitarian  assistance efforts, it is extremely important  for the new administration  hopefully  will want to play  a leading role  in planning  and  sponsoring Peace Corps’ 50 th anniversary  celebration.

Our recommendation to the Transition Team is to convey to the Obama White House as  soon as possible after the inauguration the possibility of naming  a high level  commission that can guide the planning and lead the series of events that will culminate in the 50 th anniversary celebration. Important stakeholders should include the National Peace Corps Association and Peace Corps organizations of returned Volunteers throughout the United States with Peace Corps agency as a partner. Planning to date envisions a budget of approximately  $2 million that will need  to be raised  from private donations.

This event can have international bearing, as it will be an opportunity to invite heads of state and other  world  dignitaries.

  • Consider the proposal pending for a Peace Corps Foundation.  Ron Tschetter, the outgoing Peace Corps Director has actively promoted the passage of legislation to create a Peace Corps Foundation, modeled after similar foundations of other government agencies. The Fish and  Wildlife  Foundation  serves as an example. This proposed  Foundation  would have the ability to raise private funds to support a host of activities that Peace Corps as a federal agency  cannot support with appropriated funds.

The idea to create a Peace Corps Foundation has been drawn-up as a proposal, but has not been introduced as legislation. While Director Tschetter has received positive bi-partisan reaction, he considered that a new leadership in the Peace Corps needed to study this  initiative  and decide whether  it should be given  further  consideration.

In principle, we consider that it is an interesting idea for Peace Corps to have a closely  related, private, non-profit partner with the capacity to raise private funds and broaden the scope of the Peace Corps’ work.   While this initiative is not urgent,  it could be included in a package of initiatives for immediate consideration in the context  of increasing the size of  the Peace Corps program and establishing  new mechanisms  or bridges  for closer cooperation with the public  and organized returned  Volunteers.

  • Peace Corps Volunteer Empowerment Act 732 pending in Congress should address needed reforms in Peace Corps operations without creating unnecessary constraints and rigidities that may not be in the best interest of the agency.
  • Two pieces  of legislation that were presented in the last Congress could  emerge once again.  One was sponsored  by Sen. Chris Dodd and the  other by Cong. Sam Farr. Both seek to reenergize  Peace Corps by proposing growth and addressing needed  reforms.  While these actions are intended to be in  the best  interests of the Peace  Corps and the Volunteers, any legislation  should be careful  not to set a precedent that reverses a long-standing tradition in the Congress not to dictate management issues to the Peace Corps. The proposed legislation is the result of persistent concerns voiced  by former Volunteers  and  staff regarding  needed  changes  and improvements in agency operations and a greater voice for Volunteers  to improve the  program. It will up to the new Peace Corps leadership to provide convincing arguments to supporters in Congress that these changes are forthcoming and that programming  and  volunteer  support concerns  are being addressed.     After consideration  by  the new Director and his team of the legislation, as much of the legislation as possible should be instituted through  executive  action. Similarly  in close consultation  with  the  Senate and  House authors, the new Director should support the legislation that provides additional budgetary authorities  and those other measures  that  are deemed  likely to strengthen the capacity of  the Peace Corps to grow and more effectively achieve the reforms that are critical to that growth.

B.Priority Regulatory and Litigation Issues Requiring  Attention

The Five-Year Rule. This provision, written into the Peace Corps legislation, was intended  to prevent Peace Corps from developing an entrenched bureaucracy of functionaries that would lose touch with the freshness and creativity of a Volunteer  corps. We believe the five-year  rule has  served the Peace Corps well and should be preserved.  However,  over the years exceptions have  been introduced  that have tended  to create a sense of inequity  and affected  staff  morale.

The five-year rule has undoubtedly created some problems for Peace Corps. With constant staff rotations,  the agency tends to lose its institutional  memory  and is prone  to “reinventing the wheel”. It produces gaps in staff coverage, both at the headquarters and field levels that affect performance and slowdown decision-making and affect Volunteer support. The office of Human Resource Management (HRM), charged with staff recruitment, is perennially behind in its work, trying to fill the constantly  vacating positions  that are the logical result of limited term  appointments. Support and specialist positions in HRM and other offices such as Finance, Management, Medical Processing, and Recruitment are themselves affected by a constant staff tum-over. Some support employees from other federal agencies view Peace  Corps as a stepping stone for career advancement. Shortly after securing a position in the Peace Corps (and a raise or promotion),  they begin  searching for their next move.  Staff in some offices has tenure  of nine to  18 months.

The five-year rule also has a negative effect on field staff. Living and working overseas makes it difficult  for them to find new employment  at the end of their five-year term.  Often, they must  begin the process of job search a year before their departure from post, distracting  them  from the  job at hand. This situation affects Peace Corps’ capacity to recruit qualified individuals who are rightfully  concerned about the  limited nature  of their tenure.

Peace  Corps  does have  some flexibility  with the  five-year  rule, particularly  for senior professional positions  that are needed  in positions  of higher responsibility.  Limited to  15 percent of the to American hires, the Peace Corps Director is able to grant a sixth year, a third tour of 30 months,  or both.   After  completing the maximum  of a sixth year and three tours for a total of eight and a half years of employment, Peace Corps is still able to retain  employees  on contract or  as “expert consultants”. While this has enabled the agency to retain valuable  persons,  it is also viewed as a reward for certain employees that detracts from a policy requiring fairness and consistency.

Special legislation recently exempted certain positions in the Peace Corps Safety and Security Office, creating for the first time a cadre of permanent employees who must rotate positions throughout their careers within  a relatively narrow  set of jobs.  The Office of the Inspector  General also received authorization from the Peace Corps Director to hire  staff for a guaranteed five years, instead  of two thirty  month tours.

The new Peace Corps leadership must review the application  of the five-year  rule to determine  how to best implement  it, and how to manage the current flexibility that is provided  to the  Director, in the best interest of the agency. There may be a need to request additional flexibility from  Congress, but  without  changing the essentially positive nature  of the five-year rule.

C.       Priority  Budgetary  and Management  Issues  Req uiring Immediate Attention

  • Immediate action  on the FY 2009 funding  level and  the  FY 2010 budget   Peace Corps is currently operating on a $330 million continuing resolution that is pegged at the FY 2008 level. This level is several million dollars lower than both Senate and House of Representatives marks for the FY 2009 appropriation  that has not been  acted upon.  The current funding level has imposed severe hardship at all levels, forcing the cancellation of almost 500 new trainees scheduled for this year, staff cutbacks, and the postponement of needed  investments  for improved  systems.   Given  programming  and recruitment lag-times, and the need for widespread modernization and reforms as prerequisites for growth, fresh resources are needed immediately if Peace Corps is to start showing increased numbers in FY 2010. For growth to continue into FY 201 I and FY 2012, significant funding increases are required for those years. Program, and particularly country staff, considers that before real growth can take place, significant investments must be made to develop quality Volunteer placements and jobs and construct the necessary institutional  infrastructure  to adequately support them. We strongly agree.

A FY 2009 increase of $90 million would restore cuts, rescue the training class that was cancelled, pay for planned modernization activities, and provide for the additional staff and program  development  for the new Volunteer  placements. For the growth path to continue, Peace Corps would need a budget  in the range of $550  million for FY 2010, and a further increase  in FY 2011 . As OMB has not  submitted the FY 2010 budget to Congress pending the arrival of the New administration,  it will  be of  critical  importance  for OMB to include  a $550 million mark   in President’s  Obama’s request to Congress  in March 2009.

  • Consider reestablishing no-year spending authority for the Peace Corps. As most federal agencies over the past few years, Peace Corps was given two-year spending authority for its yearly appropriations. Given the 27-month life cycle of a Volunteer and the likelihood of unforeseen events that force cancellation of programs and the withdrawal from countries experiencing turmoil, two-year spending authority imposes severe constraints on Peace Corps’ capacity to adequatel y manage its resources and program. Providing Peace Corps with no-year spending authority, as is the case with PERFAR and the MCC, would help Peace Corps to better function in an uncertain environment, taking advantage of opportunities without protracted
  1. Priority Personnel Issues Requiring Immediate Attention

 Management Plan (keep head of VRS; Name  3 regions, Safety  & Security).  As mentioned earlier, it may be legally necessary for the Obama Administration to accept the continuation of current Deputy  Director  Jody  Olsen as Acting Peace  Corps Director until  a new director  is named.   For operations to continue  without  interruption  in another critical area, we also recommend that Rosie Mauk, the current Associate Director for Volunteer Recruitment (VRS) also be permitted to stay beyond January 20th until her replacement is  No current senior staff in the VRS Office can readily fill this position in an acting capacity. The current Director of the Office of Safety and Security, who is a career senior  Foreign Service officer, is scheduled to retire in March, 2009. He should either be asked to remain  for a transitional  period,  or the  new Peace  Corps  leadership  should move expeditiously to find a replacement. Finally, while the three Regional  Offices (Inter-America  and Pacific – IAE, Africa, and Europe, Mediterranean and Asia – EMA) that oversee field operations have good professional staff that can serve in an acting capacity, it would be an important step to move expeditiously to find highly qualified individuals  to fill these key positions.

  • Define transition team role until the arrival of new appointed leadership. Absent further instructions, the current co-leads for the Peace Corps transition team, C.D. Glin and David Valenzuela will conclude their assignments Monday December 29 following the submission of this document. Nevertheless, we and the Peace Corps transition team advisers highly recommend that the National Security Transition Team that oversees Peace Corps consider naming  one or two  individuals to maintain  transition  continuity through  January  2010 and then to work closely with any Acting Director until such time as new permanent  leadership is named. Both professional Peace Corps staff and Volunteers are looking to the transition  team  for leadership as the  agency  prepares  for the future.
  • Strive to name the new director prior to January 20, 2009. Given the important  role that President-elect wishes to entrust to Peace Corps, naming the new Director prior to the inauguration would send an important signal to the Peace Corps community that change is coming and time  for meeting the  new  challenge is of the

Peace Corps should be populated with highly skilled and experienced development assistance professionals. While recruiting former Volunteers and persons with former Peace Corps experience is highly desirable, relevant international development and volunteer management experience is of paramount importance. The director and deputy director must share President-elect Obama’s broad vision for the Peace Corps as a means to restoring America’s standing in the world. They should also be qualified to lead significant streamlining and modernization of Peace Corps’  operations, ensuring the development  of high quality  placements for an expanded Volunteer force, and possess the necessary diplomatic skills to negotiate  multiple new country entries over next  four  years.

E.     Budget Opportunities

Potential/or including $90 million in budget stimulus package /or FY 2009 The Obama Transition Team that  is preparing  the stimulus package  that will be  announced  shortly after the Inauguration approached the Peace Corps transition co-leads to determine if this package could contain needed resources for immediate use. We suggested that this would be an alternative mechanism for funding current program shortfalls; reestablishing the group of trainees that was cancelled; open the door for increased third year extensions for Volunteers;  pay  for growth  investments  in staff and systems; and increase  the readjustment  allowances for returning  Volunteers  that has remained  unchanged  for  10 years.

F.     Organizational Structure

Reduce the number of political appointees /or technical and administrative positions given the small size of the agency and the need/or greater programmatic continuity. Peace Corps has approximately 32 positions, including the Senate confirmed Director and Deputy Director positions, that are listed as political appointments. We believe this is far too many. A great many of these positions are of a technical or administrative level. This is the opportunity for change in this respect.  It would be a way to immediately boost staff and Volunteer morale by signaling to them that Peace Corps is an agency that should be guided primarily  by technical  and professional  considerations. It would  also help  smooth the way for future transitions  by avoiding the  sudden departure of the entire  leadership  of the   agency.


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  • John, Thank you for reposting the report of the Transition Team to President-Elect Obama. A quick review of the last eight years (!) reveals that a few of the recommendations were implemented, most were not. This is what has happened:
    -The Revitalize Volunteer Recruitment Procedures This was done and the streamline application procedure has increased.
    -The Five Year Rule was modified so that appointments are not for 30 months at a time, but rather a one time five year appointment.
    -Expanding Peace Corps Response beyond former or current Volunteers was done.
    -Expanding the focus of rewards by putting greater emphasizes on the civic roles of Returned Volunteers was further by the Memorandum of Understanding with NPCA.
    -Reverse the then current insularity from the development assistance has occurred with the 40 or more partnerships the Peace Corps has developed.
    But other recommendations never were considered. The Transition recommended that the changes begin January 2009; but the new Peace Director was not even nominated until July of 2009. When Aaron Williams resigned two years later, it was a year before Carrie Hessler-Radalet was nominated to replace Williams and another year before she was confirmed. The recommendation that the agency have a continuing budget of $700 million a year was never even considered.

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