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USAID’s policy-planning shop takes shape

Even though the administration’s two major policy reviews on development are missing in action and the U.S. Agency for International Development is still full of senior vacancies, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah is moving ahead with his promise to give the agency back its capability to think strategically by building an official policy planning staff. “This ...

TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images
TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images

Even though the administration's two major policy reviews on development are missing in action and the U.S. Agency for International Development is still full of senior vacancies, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah is moving ahead with his promise to give the agency back its capability to think strategically by building an official policy planning staff.

"This new bureau, bolstered by the agency's many technical assets, represents an essential step toward achieving President Barack Obama's and Secretary Clinton's vision of regaining USAID's status as a premier development agency," Shah wrote in an email to all USAID employees Monday.

For now, Lawrence (Larry) Garber will head up the effort as the acting assistant to the administrator for the brand new Bureau of Policy Planning and Learning. Garber will be one of two deputy assistant administrators in the bureau, Shah said. He has had a long career in development, including as CEO of the New Israel Fund from 2004 to 2009.

Even though the administration’s two major policy reviews on development are missing in action and the U.S. Agency for International Development is still full of senior vacancies, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah is moving ahead with his promise to give the agency back its capability to think strategically by building an official policy planning staff.

“This new bureau, bolstered by the agency’s many technical assets, represents an essential step toward achieving President Barack Obama’s and Secretary Clinton’s vision of regaining USAID’s status as a premier development agency,” Shah wrote in an email to all USAID employees Monday.

For now, Lawrence (Larry) Garber will head up the effort as the acting assistant to the administrator for the brand new Bureau of Policy Planning and Learning. Garber will be one of two deputy assistant administrators in the bureau, Shah said. He has had a long career in development, including as CEO of the New Israel Fund from 2004 to 2009.

The new policy bureau will essentially consolidate policy-planning functions that were previously spread out in various parts of USAID, but good spots are still open … so USAID employees, there’s still time to get your applications in.

Some top jobs, however, are already taken. They include:

Leticia (Tish) Butler as acting director, Office of Policy

Alex Dehgan as director, Office of Science and Technology

Jason Foley as director, Office of Strategic and Program Planning

Karen Turner as acting director, Office of Donor Engagement

Julie Kunen as senior advisor

Shah also said USAID will also establish an Office of Budget and Resource Management soon, although it’s not clear whether that office will actually control USAID’s budget.

Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at josh.rogin@foreignpolicy.com.

Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.

A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.

Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin

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