The Peace Corps takes a very small “hit” in CBJ Budget

 

Congressional Budget Justification: Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs

 

Portion of report regarding the Peace Corps:

1/ The FY 2017 Estimate reflects funding from the annualized Continuing Resolution.

The FY 2018 Budget request for the Peace Corps of $398.2 million of which $5.5 million is for the Office of Inspector General, will allow the Peace Corps to meet its core goals: to help countries meet their development needs by building local capacity, to promote a better understanding of Americans around the world, and to bring the world back home by increasing Americans’ knowledge of other cultures. This request supports a cost-effective investment in strengthening the nation by advancing sustainable development and promoting a positive image of the United States. The Peace Corps also helps develop the next generation of American leaders who return home and leverage their leadership and entrepreneurial skills to shape communities across the United States. This request will enable the agency to place 3,960 Americans into new Volunteer positions across 65 countries and support nearly 7,400 Volunteers by the end of FY 2018.

The Peace Corps’ FY 2018 request will allow the agency to innovate and improve, with a focus on strengthening support to Volunteers and maximizing the efficiency of agency operations. In FY 2018, the Peace Corps will strengthen support to Volunteers by enhancing the functionality of the electronic medical records system and advancing a data-driven initiative aimed at improving Volunteer health outcomes. The Peace Corps will also continue to work toward meeting its strategic IT goals by maintaining its focus on retiring legacy IT applications and beginning efforts to transition its data center infrastructure to an offsite facility in 2018. Pending Congressional approval, the agency’s FY 2018 Budget also includes $15.0 million planned for costs related to a potential relocation of the Peace Corps’ headquarters office.

The Peace Corps takes a unique approach to meeting its development and outreach goals. The agency selects, trains, and supports American Volunteers who live and work in areas that other government programs are often unable to reach. Most Volunteers serve for 27 months, integrating into local communities and using their skills and experience to build capacity at the community level so that communities are empowered to solve their development challenges long after the Volunteers have returned home. In addition, the Peace Corps provides targeted assistance in short-term, specialized assignments through Peace Corps Response, a program that matches experienced individuals with unique assignments that require advanced language, technical, and intercultural skills. Peace Corps Volunteers help promote a better understanding of the United States and its values by serving as grassroots ambassadors around the world.

The Peace Corps works as a force multiplier by partnering with other government agencies to dramatically increase the impact and sustainability of U.S. international development programs. With its unique ability to bring about lasting change in hard-to-reach communities, the Peace Corps is an important partner in a number of whole-of-government and interagency development initiatives including the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the President’s Malaria Initiative, and the U.S. Government Global Food Security Strategy. In FY 2018, the Peace Corps will continue these partnerships, while seeking further strategic partnerships to leverage the Peace Corps’ training and programmatic resources in ways that continue to support the agency’s mission.

Volunteers’ service to the United States continues long after they have left the Peace Corps by helping Americans learn about other cultures and peoples. Peace Corps service also builds tangible language, leadership, and intercultural skills that returned Volunteers utilize as they live, work, and serve in communities across the nation. Ultimately, the investment made in Volunteers is repaid many times over, at home and abroad.

 

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  • John,

    I have a question about this item: ” $15.0 million planned for costs related to a potential relocation of the Peace Corps’ headquarters office.” I know nothing about real estate values in the DC area or moving costs. Would that amount mean that Peace Corps is going to buy a building or is that just the cost of relocation, would you know?

    When Peace moved to its current location some 18 years ago or so, there was no room in the new location for the valuable Peace Corps in-house Library. The Librarian postion was eliminated, the records scattered., and the library disassembled. A small percentage of the records went to the National Archives, but I was not able to even get a catalogue or list of what was in the library and what happened to those items.

      • Hi Edward,

        There are various collections of Peace Corps books and reports at the Library of Congress as well as the Smithsonian as does the JFK Library. However, the materials in the in-house library were specific to Peace Corps and there was a librarian available to help with the research. Here is the summary of a posting I did in 2010 based on a FOIA which I received from Peace Corps: http://peacecorpsworldwide.org/the-peace-corps-library-final/

        “My FOIA request, of March 11, 2010 asked for documents showing”when and why the office known as Peace Corps Library was closed; all the disposition of all the documents in the collection which were not incorporated into the Information Collection and Exchange or ICE.” The response was comprehensive. It consisted of the ICE/Library Study of 1982 and the cataloguing project for the merging of ICE and PC library collections. There was also a list of the materials transferred from IRC/Washington to OSIRP – 2009 Peace Corps. The evaluation of training for agricultural projects in Latin American was on that list. Finally, the FOIA included a list, nine pages long, of historical materials for digitization. The report on Ethiopian Peace Corps teachers and the report from the task force were on that list, along with 34 Peace Corps agency telephone directories. What the FOIA did not include was an inventory of all the documents in the Peace Corps Library and the designation showing the disposition of each document, nor any explanation for the careful preservation of telephone directories.”

        American University does house the Peace Corps Community Archive. It focuses on material from Peace Corps Volunteers developed at the time of service. It is an excellent reference center. However, the Peace Corps Library was disassembled in 1999 or so and the AU Archive was not created until 2012.

        I hope this answers your question.

        • Dear Joanne Roll,

          I suppose it does answer my question. You are excellent in research. This is dismaying, and it is shocking.

          My late, older brother David John Mycue was an archivist who began as archivist in Springfield, Illinois and ended as Curator and Archivist at the Museum of South Texas History (on the Rio Grande in the great area historically known as Nuevo Santander).

          I think he had he known would have forced an investigation into the destruction of public material.

          Had I had gotten wind of it, I’d have asked my big brother to do something.

          Didn’t any have an older sibling to fight what may have been unethical + illegal.

          • I wish I had known that so long ago. I did not know it was happening at the time. The National Archivist is the one who designates which records will be preserved at the National Archives and which will be destroyed.

            Personal information about each Volunteer, including the Description of Service, is considered personnel records and they are preserved. But, privacy laws govern them and they are only available to the specific RPCV. I certainly support privacy laws. However, I hope some day that the Description of Service documents are made available to researches as they really constitute Peace Corps history.

            When I served our “Description of Service” was a generic description and was the same for everyone in our group. Does that sound familiar to you?

            Later, the DOS was individual written by the PCV at time of termination, signed and co-signed by the PC Country Director. Such descriptions were detailed and specific to the Volunteer’s assignment and would contain important information, I would think.

  • The Peace Corps rents the building that they are in now. It is the third Headquarters for the agency since 1961. The area where they are, as of all downtown DC, is too expensive for government buildings. ALL government offices are moving out of the inner city to locations around the Beltway. The lease, I think, will be up in January 2018 and GSO will tell the agency they have to move. “Goodbye, downtown D.C.”

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