oversight

Foreign Assistance: Strategic Workforce Planning Can Help USAID Address Current and Future Challenges

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2003-08-22.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

              United States General Accounting Office

GAO           Report to Congressional Requesters




August 2003
              FOREIGN
              ASSISTANCE
              Strategic Workforce
              Planning Can Help
              USAID Address
              Current and Future
              Challenges




GAO-03-946
              a
                                                August 2003


                                                FOREIGN ASSISTANCE

                                                Strategic Workforce Planning Can Help
Highlights of GAO-03-946, a report to           USAID Address Current and Future
congressional requesters
                                                Challenges



The U.S. Agency for International               USAID has evolved from an agency in which U.S. direct-hire staff directly
Development (USAID) oversees                    implemented development projects to one in which U.S. direct-hire staff oversee
humanitarian and economic                       the activities of contractors and grantees. Since 1992, the number of USAID U.S.
assistance—an integral part of the              direct-hire staff declined by 37 percent, but the number of countries with USAID
U.S. global security strategy—to
                                                programs almost doubled and, over the last 2 years, program funding increased
more than 160 countries. GAO
recommended in 1993 that USAID                  more than 50 percent. As a result of these and other changes in its workforce
develop a comprehensive                         and its mostly ad-hoc approach to workforce planning, USAID faces several
workforce plan; however, human                  human capital vulnerabilities. For example, attrition of experienced foreign
capital management continues to                 service officers and inadequate training and mentoring have sometimes led to
be a high-risk area for the agency.             the deployment of staff who lack essential skills and experience. The agency
                                                also lacks a “surge capacity” to respond to evolving foreign policy priorities and
GAO was asked to examine how                    emerging crises. With fewer and less experienced staff managing more
changes in USAID’s workforce over               programs in more countries, USAID’s ability to oversee the delivery of foreign
the past 10 years have affected the             assistance is becoming increasingly difficult.
agency’s ability to deliver foreign
aid and to assess its progress in
                                                USAID has taken steps toward developing a workforce planning and human
implementing a strategic workforce
planning system.                                capital management system that should enable the agency to meet its challenges
                                                and achieve its mission in response to the President’s Management Agenda, but
                                                it needs to do more. For example, USAID has begun its workforce analysis but it
                                                has not yet conducted a comprehensive assessment of the skills and
To help USAID plan for changes in               competencies of its current workforce and has not yet included its civil service
its workforce and continue                      and contracted employees in its workforce planning efforts. Because USAID has
operations in an uncertain                      not adopted a strategic approach to workforce planning, it cannot ensure that it
environment, we recommend that                  has addressed its workforce challenges appropriately and identified the right
the USAID Administrator develop                 skill mix to carry out its assistance programs.
and institutionalize a strategic
workforce planning and
                                                USAID U.S. Direct-Hire Presence, Fiscal Years 1992 and 2002
management system that takes
                                                                                                                       Percentage
advantage of strategic workforce                 USAID U.S. direct hires                        1992          2002         change
planning principles.
                                                 Total number                                   3,163         1,985           (37)
                                                 Number assigned overseas                       1,082          631            (42)
USAID noted that our report                      Number of countries receiving USAID
captured its complex workforce                   assistance with U.S. direct-hire
issues and agreed with our findings              presence                                         66            71              7
and recommendations. USAID also                  Number of countries receiving USAID
referred to a recently formed team               assistance with no U.S. direct-hire
                                                 presence                                         16            88            450
that will carry out a comprehensive
                                                Source: GAO analysis of USAID data.
workforce analysis and planning
effort to identify and address its
workforce needs.



www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-03-946.

To view the full product, including the scope
and methodology, click on the link above.
For more information, contact Jess Ford at
(202) 512-4268 or FordJ@gao.gov.
Contents


Letter                                                                                   1
               Results in Brief                                                          2
               Background                                                                4
               USAID’s Changing Workforce Affects Ability to Deliver Foreign
                 Assistance                                                              6
               USAID’s Progress in Implementing Strategic Workforce Planning
                 Principles Is Limited                                                 15
               Conclusions                                                             21
               Recommendations for Executive Action                                    22
               Scope and Methodology                                                   22
               Agency Comments and Our Evaluation                                      23

Appendix I     Selected Reports Related to USAID’s Workforce
               Planning                                                                25



Appendix II    USAID Worldwide Foreign Assistance Programs
               Locations                                                               27



Appendix III   Comments from the U.S. Agency for International
               Development                                                             31



Appendix IV    GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments                                  32
               GAO Contacts                                                            32
               Acknowledgments                                                         32


Table
               Table 1: USAID U.S. Direct-Hire Presence, Fiscal Years 1992 and
                        2002                                                           11




               Page i                                  GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
Figures
          Figure 1: USAID U.S. Direct-Hire Workforce and Program Funding
                   Levels, Fiscal Years 1990-2003                                                    7
          Figure 2: USAID’s Workforce Profile as of December 31, 2002                                8
          Figure 3: Principles for Effective Strategic Workforce Planning                           15




          Abbreviations

          OMB               Office of Management and Budget
          USAID             United States Agency for International Development

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          Page ii                                          GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
United States General Accounting Office
Washington, DC 20548




                                   August 22, 2003

                                   The Honorable Christopher Shays, Chairman
                                   The Honorable Dennis J. Kucinich, Ranking Minority Member
                                   Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and
                                    International Relations
                                   Committee on Government Reform
                                   House of Representatives

                                   Humanitarian and economic development assistance is an integral part of
                                   U.S. global security strategy, particularly as the United States seeks to
                                   diminish the underlying conditions of poverty and corruption that may be
                                   linked to instability and terrorism. Since 1962, the U.S. Agency for
                                   International Development (USAID) has managed more than $273 billion
                                   in such assistance.1 In fiscal year 2003, Congress appropriated almost
                                   $11.5 billion to USAID, and the agency managed programs in almost 160
                                   countries. Agency staff often work in difficult environments and under
                                   evolving program demands. More will be demanded of USAID’s staff as
                                   they implement large-scale relief and reconstruction programs in
                                   Afghanistan and Iraq while continuing traditional long-term development
                                   assistance programs.

                                   USAID administers foreign aid through a decentralized staffing structure,
                                   with its headquarters in Washington, D.C., and missions located
                                   throughout the world. In 1993, we recommended that USAID develop a
                                   comprehensive workforce planning and management system to better
                                   identify staffing needs and requirements.2 However, human capital
                                   management continues to be a high-risk area at USAID and throughout
                                   much of the federal government.3 According to the Office of Management
                                   Budget (OMB), the federal government—including USAID—significantly


                                   1
                                    U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Overseas Loans and Grants and
                                   Assistance from International Organizations, July 1, 1945-September 30, 2001. Figure
                                   equals $541 billion in fiscal year 2003 dollars and includes USAID’s Food for Peace and title
                                   II section 416 emergency and development programs.
                                   2
                                    U.S. General Accounting Office, Foreign Assistance: AID Strategic Direction and
                                   Continued Management Improvements Needed, GAO/NSIAD-93-106 (Washington, D.C.:
                                   June 11, 1993).
                                   3
                                    U.S. General Accounting Office, High-Risk Series: An Update, GAO-01-263
                                   (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 1, 2001).



                                   Page 1                                             GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
                   downsized its workforce during the 1990s through across-the-board cuts
                   rather than targeted reductions aligned with agency missions, and human
                   resources planning remains weak in most agencies. The President’s
                   Management Agenda, issued in fiscal year 2002, represents the
                   administration’s effort to improve the performance of federal departments
                   and agencies through 14 initiatives, including human capital management.
                   OMB concluded that without proper planning, the skill mix of the federal
                   workforce will not reflect tomorrow’s missions.4

                   In light of USAID’s long-standing workforce planning and management
                   problems, you expressed concern about its ability to manage and oversee
                   its foreign assistance programs. In particular, you expressed concern
                   about USAID’s apparent inability to identify and readily address staffing
                   requirements. At your request, we examined (1) the changes in USAID’s
                   workforce since fiscal year 1990 and their effect on the agency’s ability to
                   deliver foreign assistance and (2) USAID’s progress in developing and
                   implementing a strategic workforce planning system.

                   To accomplish our objectives, we analyzed personnel data and workforce
                   planning documents and interviewed knowledgeable USAID officials
                   representing the agency’s regional, technical, and management bureaus in
                   Washington, D.C. We conducted fieldwork at seven overseas missions—
                   the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Mali, Peru, Senegal, and the
                   West Africa Regional Program in Mali. We also evaluated USAID’s
                   strategic workforce planning efforts in terms of workforce planning
                   principles used by leading organizations: ensuring the involvement of
                   agency leadership, employees, and stakeholders; determining current
                   skills and competencies and those needed; implementing strategies to
                   address critical staffing needs; and evaluating progress in achieving human
                   capital goals.


                   Since 1990, USAID has continued to evolve from an agency in which U.S.
Results in Brief   direct-hire foreign service employees directly implemented development
                   projects to one with a declining number of direct-hire staff that oversee
                   the contractors and grantees who carry out most of its day-to-day
                   activities. Personal services contractors—chiefly foreign national staff at
                   overseas missions—play an increasing role in managing the development



                   4
                    Office of Management and Budget, The President’s Management Agenda, Fiscal Year
                   2002.




                   Page 2                                         GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
    activities that are designed, implemented, and evaluated mainly by third-
    party contractors and grantees. As direct-hire staff levels decreased by
    37 percent since fiscal year 1992, the number of countries with USAID
    programs almost doubled, and program funding recently increased more
    than 57 percent—from $7.3 billion in fiscal year 2001 to almost
    $11.5 billion in fiscal year 2003. As a result of the decreases in U.S. direct-
    hire foreign service staff levels, increasing program demands, and a mostly
    ad hoc approach to workforce planning, USAID now faces several human
    capital vulnerabilities. For example, attrition of its more experienced
    foreign service officers, difficulty in filling overseas positions, and limited
    opportunities for training and mentoring have sometimes led to (1) the
    deployment of direct-hire staff who lack essential skills and experience
    and (2) the reliance on contractors to perform most overseas functions. In
    addition, USAID lacks a “surge capacity” to enable it to respond quickly to
    emerging crises and changing strategic priorities. As a result, according to
    USAID officials and a recent overseas staffing assessment, the agency is
    finding it increasingly difficult to manage the delivery of foreign
    assistance.

    In response to the President’s Management Agenda, USAID has taken
    steps toward developing a comprehensive workforce planning and human
    capital management system that should enable the agency to meet its
    challenges and achieve its mission, but progress has been limited. In
    evaluating USAID’s efforts in terms of proven strategic workforce planning
    principles, USAID has more to do. For example:

•   The involvement of USAID leadership, employees, and stakeholders in
    developing and communicating a strategic workforce plan has been
    mixed. USAID’s human resource office is drafting a human capital
    strategy, but it has not yet been finalized or approved by such stakeholders
    as OMB and the Office of Personnel Management. As a result, we cannot
    comment on whether USAID employees and other stakeholders will have
    an active role in developing and communicating the agency’s workforce
    strategies.

•   USAID has begun identifying the core competencies its future workforce
    will need and is conducting a workforce analysis and planning pilot at
    three headquarters units that will include an analysis of current skills and
    will eventually cover the entire workforce. However, it has not yet
    conducted a comprehensive assessment of the critical skills and
    competencies of its current workforce. USAID is in the process of
    determining the appropriate information technology instrument and




    Page 3                                     GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
                 methodology that will permit the assessment of its current workforce
                 skills and competencies.

             •   USAID’s strategies to address critical skill gaps are not comprehensive and
                 have not been based on a critical analysis of current capabilities matched
                 with future requirements. USAID has begun hiring foreign service officers
                 and Presidential Management Interns to replace staff lost through attrition.
                 However, the agency has not completed its civil service recruitment plan
                 and has not yet included personal services contractors—the largest
                 segment of its workforce—in its agencywide workforce analysis and
                 planning efforts.

             •   USAID has not created a system to monitor and evaluate its progress
                 toward reaching its human capital goals and ensuring that its efforts
                 continue under the leadership of successive administrators.
                 Because it has not yet institutionalized a comprehensive workforce
                 planning and management system, USAID cannot ensure that it has the
                 essential skills needed to carry out its ongoing and future programs.

                 To help USAID plan for changes in its workforce and continue operations
                 in an uncertain environment, we recommend that the USAID
                 Administrator develop and institutionalize a strategic workforce planning
                 and management system that takes advantage of strategic workforce
                 planning principles.


                 USAID is the lead U.S. agency for administering humanitarian and
Background       economic assistance to about 160 countries. The USAID Administrator
                 reports to the Secretary of State and receives overall foreign policy
                 guidance from the Department of State. USAID operates its foreign
                 assistance programs from its offices in Washington, D.C., and from
                 missions and offices around the world.

                 In 1993, we reported that USAID had not adequately managed changes in
                 its overseas workforce and recommended that USAID develop a
                 comprehensive workforce planning and management system to better
                 identify staffing needs and requirements.5




                 5
                 GAO/NSIAD-93-106.




                 Page 4                                   GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
In the mid-1990s, USAID reorganized its activities around strategic
objectives and began reporting in a results-oriented format but had made
little progress in personnel reforms.6 In July 2002, we reported that USAID
could not quickly relocate or hire the staff needed to implement a large-
scale reconstruction and recovery program in Latin America, and we
recommended actions to help improve USAID’s staffing flexibility for
future disaster recovery requirements.7 Appendix I summarizes several
reports and studies prepared by GAO and others since 1989 that address
USAID workforce planning and human capital management issues.

Studies by several organizations, including GAO, have shown that highly
successful service organizations in both the public and private sectors use
effective strategic management approaches to prepare their workforces to
meet present and future mission requirements. We define strategic
workforce planning as focusing on long-term strategies for acquiring,
developing, and retaining an organization’s workforce and aligning human
capital approaches that are clearly linked to achieving programmatic
goals. Based on work with the Office of Personnel Management, other U.S.
government agencies, the National Academy for Public Administration,
and the International Personnel Management Association, we identified
strategic workforce planning principles used by leading organizations.
According to these principles, an organization’s strategic workforce
planning and management system should (1) involve senior management,
employees, and stakeholders in developing, communicating, and
implementing the workforce plan; (2) determine the agency’s current
critical skills and competencies and those needed to achieve program
results; (3) develop strategies to address gaps in critical skills and
competencies; and (4) monitor and evaluate progress and the contribution
of strategic workforce planning efforts in achieving program goals.




6
 U.S. General Accounting Office, Foreign Assistance: Status of USAID’s Reforms, GAO-
NSIAD-241-BR (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 24, 1996); Foreign Assistance: USAID’s
Reengineering at Overseas Missions, GAO/NSIAD-97-194 (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 12,
1997).
7
U.S. General Accounting Office, Foreign Assistance: Disaster Recovery Program
Addressed Intended Purposes, but USAID Needs Greater Flexibility to Improve Its
Response Capability, GAO-02-787 (Washington, D.C.: July 24, 2002).




Page 5                                          GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
                        USAID has changed from an agency of U.S. direct-hires that largely
USAID’s Changing        provided direct, hands-on implementation of development projects to one
Workforce Affects       that manages and oversees the activities of contractors and grantees.
                        During the past decade, this trend has affected USAID’s ability to
Ability to Deliver      implement its foreign assistance program as the number of U.S. direct-hire
Foreign Assistance      foreign service officers declined and much of USAID’s direct-hire
                        workforce was replaced by foreign national personal services contractors.
                        In addition, while program funding remained relatively stable from fiscal
                        year 1990 through fiscal year 2000, it increased from $7.3 billion in fiscal
                        year 2001 to $11.5 billion in fiscal year 2003, and USAID’s fewer direct
                        hires are now responsible for programs in more countries with little or no
                        resident U.S. direct-hire presence. Moreover, USAID operates in a difficult
                        and uncertain environment that presents unique challenges to its ability to
                        plan and manage its overseas workforce. Because USAID did not have a
                        strategic workforce planning system while these changes were underway,
                        several human capital vulnerabilities have surfaced. For example, an
                        across-the-board reduction in force for both the foreign service and the
                        civil service, followed by a 5-year decline in the number of U.S. direct-
                        hires, has left the agency with critical shortages of experienced mid-level
                        staff and in the pipeline of junior staff. In addition, 37 positions remain
                        vacant, and opportunities for training and mentoring staff are limited,
                        sometimes forcing the placement of staff who may lack essential skills and
                        experience. USAID also lacks a “surge” capacity to help it deal with
                        emerging crises and changing strategic priorities. According to USAID
                        documents and our discussions with agency officials, these vulnerabilities
                        are making it increasingly difficult for the agency to adequately manage
                        and oversee its foreign assistance activities.


USAID Staff Functions   USAID’s U.S. direct-hire workforce decreased from about 8,600 in 1962 to
Have Evolved from       about 3,162 in 1990. USAID could not continue its hands-on project
Implementation to       approach as the number of U.S. direct hires, including foreign service staff,
                        declined and responsibilities for planning, financing, and monitoring
Management              projects shifted to contractors, grantees, and host country governments.
                        As figure 1 shows, this trend has continued as the number of U.S. direct-
                        hire staff further decreased to 1,985 by December 2002. The number of
                        foreign national employees—both direct-hires and personal services
                        contractors—also decreased from 5,211 in fiscal year 1995 to 4,725 in
                        fiscal year 2002. Furthermore, while program funding levels remained
                        relatively stable for most of this period, program funding increased
                        57 percent from $7.3 billion in fiscal year 2001 to $11.5 billion in fiscal year
                        2003.



                        Page 6                                      GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
Figure 1: USAID U.S. Direct-Hire Workforce and Program Funding Levels, Fiscal Years 1990-2003




                                        Notes: Workforce data exclude the Office of the Inspector General.

                                        U.S. direct-hire data for fiscal year 2003 are as of December 31, 2002.

                                        Program funding information is in constant fiscal year 2003 appropriated dollars. Program funding
                                        includes supplementals and money appropriated to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for Title II and
                                        Title III food programs administered by USAID. Fiscal year 1990 also includes Title I funding, but after
                                        January 1, 1991, the funds were administered by the Department of Agriculture. Program funding
                                        does not include operating expenses and is not adjusted for deobligations/reobligations, rescissions,
                                        transfers, or miscellaneous trust funds.


                                        As numbers of U.S. direct-hire staff declined, mission directors began
                                        relying on other types of employees, primarily foreign national personal
                                        services contractors, to manage mission operations and oversee
                                        development activities implemented by third parties. In December 2002,
                                        according to USAID’s staffing report, the agency’s workforce totaled 7,741,




                                        Page 7                                                   GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
    including 1,985 U.S. direct hires.8 Personal services contractors made up
    more than two-thirds of USAID’s total workforce, including 4,653 foreign
    national contractors (see fig. 2). Of the 1,985 U.S. direct hires, 974 were
    foreign service officers, about 65 percent of whom were posted overseas.

    Figure 2: USAID’s Workforce Profile as of December 31, 2002




    Note: “Other” includes fellows and U.S. government staff from other agencies employed under
    participating agency service agreements and resource support service agreements.


    For our analysis, we used the workforce definition developed by USAID’s
    1990 Workforce Planning Working Group. This group defined the agency’s
    workforce as those who have a direct employer-employee relationship
    with USAID. This includes the following staff categories:

•   U.S. citizen direct-hire civil service in Washington, D.C.;

•   U.S. citizen direct-hire foreign service, most of whom serve at overseas
    missions;



    8
     All figures exclude the staff of USAID’s Office of the Inspector General, which includes 95
    foreign service officers (51 posted overseas) and 76 civil service staff in Washington, D.C.




    Page 8                                                GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
•   foreign national (non-U.S. citizen) direct hires, whom USAID can employ
    overseas for any foreign service-related mission, program, or activity;9 and

•   personal services contractors, both U.S. and foreign nationals, who are
    individuals on contract with USAID for the specific services of that
    individual only.10

    In addition, USAID includes in its monthly staffing report other types of
    nondirect-hire staff with an employer-employee relationship, such as staff
    detailed from a number of organizations and other U.S. government
    agencies and centrally contracted technical advisors.

    Other individuals not directly employed by USAID also perform a wide
    range of services in support of the agency’s programs. These individuals
    include employees of institutional or services contractors, private
    voluntary organizations, and grantees.11 Last year, we reported that USAID
    relies heavily on nongovernmental organizations to deliver foreign
    assistance.12 In fiscal year 2000, USAID directed about $4 billion of its
    $7.2 billion assistance funding to nongovernmental organizations,
    including at least $1 billion to private voluntary organizations (charities)
    working overseas. We further noted that, although USAID generally
    chooses funding mechanisms that delegate a large amount of program
    control to implementing organizations, it has not compiled data on its use
    of specific types of funding or evaluated their effectiveness. In addition to
    hiring third parties to implement its programs, USAID also contracts with
    outside organizations to provide contract management and oversight of
    large programs. As we reported in July 2002,13 the agency hired several


    9
     Most foreign national direct-hire staff have been converted to personal services
    contractors.
    10
      The Federal Acquisition Regulations define a personal services contract as one that
    makes the contractor appear as a government employee by the nature of the relationship
    that is established. USAID is authorized by section 636(a)(3) of the Foreign Assistance Act
    of 1961, as amended, to contract with individuals for personal services abroad. USAID’s
    personal services contractors may be U.S. citizens, host-country nationals, or third-country
    nationals.
    11
      In 1990, USAID estimated that this extended workforce was approximately 10,000
    individuals. For this report, USAID was unable to provide an estimate.
    12
     U.S. General Accounting Office, Foreign Assistance: USAID Relies Heavily on
    Nongovernmental Organizations, but Better Data Needed to Evaluate Approaches,
    GAO-02-471 (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 25, 2002).
    13
        GAO-02-787.




    Page 9                                             GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
firms to manage and oversee some of the contractors and grantees
conducting USAID hurricane reconstruction activities in Latin America. At
present, USAID is also planning to hire outside parties to oversee the
large-scale contracts recently awarded for reconstruction activities in Iraq.

Despite the reliance on personal services and institutional contractors,
USAID officials maintain that the direct-hire foreign service officer is still
the core of mission staffing. He or she works toward achieving U.S. foreign
policy goals, gives direction to the country program, brings corporate
knowledge and a better understanding of agency guidance to the mission,
and provides the authority needed to work effectively with host country
counterparts and other U.S. government agencies. The quality and
deployment of foreign national contractors can vary among missions and
regions. U.S. personal services contractors are an important means for
filling mission positions when U.S. direct hires are not available.
According to USAID regulations, the terms of their contracts essentially
allow personal services contractors to perform almost the same duties as
U.S. government employees. About two-thirds work in technical positions,
but many serve as program and project development officers, controllers,
executive officers, and, occasionally, temporary mission directors—
positions that USAID considers inherently governmental. According to
USAID officials, as a matter of policy, the agency rarely delegates
inherently governmental functions.

According to mission officials, U.S. and foreign national contractors are an
integral part of the mission workforce, but they cannot replace the agency
commitment and experience that U.S. direct-hire foreign service officers
bring to the mission. In addition to filling in for U.S. direct-hire staff,
contractors, particularly foreign nationals, typically make a career at
USAID and provide needed continuity and corporate knowledge of the
country programs. However, officials noted that, compared to direct-hire
staff, personal services contractors generally do not have the same level of
agency commitment; do not fully understand how the agency works and
the political pressures that it faces in Washington, D.C.; are not subject to
the same degree of accountability; and have limited administrative and
decisional authorities. Furthermore, contractors cannot supervise U.S.
direct-hire staff, even if the contractor is very experienced and the direct-
hire is new to USAID. This further limits the training and mentoring
opportunities for new staff.

In addition to having reduced the number of U.S. direct hires, USAID now
manages programs in more countries with no U.S. direct-hire presence,
and its overseas structure has become more regional. Table 1 illustrates


Page 10                                    GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
                        the changes in USAID’s U.S. direct-hire overseas presence between fiscal
                        years 1992 and 2002. In fiscal year 1992, USAID managed activities in 88
                        countries with no U.S. direct-hire presence. According to USAID, in some
                        cases, activities in these countries are very small and require little
                        management by USAID staff. However, in 45 of these countries USAID
                        manages programs of $1 million or more, representing a more significant
                        management burden on the agency. USAID also increasingly provides
                        administrative and program support to countries from regional service
                        platforms, which have increased from 2 to 26 between fiscal years 1992
                        and 2002.14 Appendix II contains a complete list of the countries in which
                        USAID operates.

                        Table 1: USAID U.S. Direct-Hire Presence, Fiscal Years 1992 and 2002

                                                                                                                 Percentage
                            USAID U.S. direct hires                                  1992          2002             change
                            Total number                                           3,163a         1,985b                (37)
                                                                                         a               b
                            Number assigned overseas                               1,082               631              (42)
                            Number of countries receiving USAID
                            assistance with U.S. direct-hire presence                  66c             71d                7
                            Number of countries receiving USAID
                                                                                           c
                            assistance with no U.S. direct-hire presence               16              88d              450
                        Sources: USAID and GAO.
                        a
                            USAID’s Monthly Workforce Profile Report, data as of September 30, 1992.
                        b
                            USAID’s Quarterly Worldwide Staffing Pattern Report, data as of December 31, 2002.
                        c
                        U.S. General Accounting Office, Foreign Assistance: A Profile of the Agency for International
                        Development, GAO/NSIAD-92-148 (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 3, 1992).
                        d
                         USAID’s Bureau for Policy and Program Coordination data provided in May 2003. USAID staff
                        cautioned that this information was gathered last year and may not be up to date.


USAID’s Environment     Our data collection efforts in the field and at headquarters revealed the
Affects Workforce       unique environment in which USAID missions operate and its effect on
Planning Capabilities   workforce planning and management efforts. With the exception of Egypt,
                        the missions we visited did not prepare formal and separate workforce
                        plans. USAID missions tend to be relatively small—mission directors and



                        14
                         Services include legal, executive office, financial/controller, procurement, and program
                        and project development support services. Services vary among the 26 platforms due to
                        security, ease of travel, and other local concerns. For example, the regional office in Kenya
                        provides all services to up to 14 countries, while the Honduras mission simply shares a
                        contracts officer with Nicaragua.




                        Page 11                                                  GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
    office heads have almost daily contact with the staff and are familiar with
    their skills and capabilities. Missions conduct their workforce planning
    and staffing projections in conjunction with their long-term—normally 5-
    year—country development strategies. Missions provide information on
    resource needs in their annual reports and budget submissions to their
    respective regional bureaus. USAID’s Bureau for Policy and Program
    Coordination allots staff years and funding to the regional bureaus, which
    then apportion these resources among their headquarters offices and
    overseas missions. According to the bureau, the average mission has six
    U.S. direct-hire staff.

    Officials noted the difficulties in adhering to a formal workforce plan
    linked to country strategies in an uncertain foreign policy environment.
    For example, following the events of September 11, 2001, the Middle East
    and sub-Saharan African missions we visited—Egypt, Mali, and Senegal—
    received additional work not anticipated when they developed their
    country development strategies. Mali was seeking two additional personal
    services contractors during the time of our visit, including one to manage a
    new hunger initiative for Africa, and Egypt was in the process of
    determining the staff needed to implement the Middle East Partnership
    Initiative. In addition, the mission in Ecuador had been scheduled to close
    in fiscal year 2003. However, this decision was reversed due to political
    and economic events in Ecuador, including a coup in 2000, the collapse of
    the financial system, and rampant inflation. Program funding for Ecuador
    tripled from fiscal year 1999 to fiscal year 2000, while staffing was reduced
    from 110 to 30 personnel and the budget for the mission’s operating
    expenses was reduced from $2.7 million to $1.37 million.

    Other factors unique to USAID’s overseas work environment can affect its
    ability to conduct workforce planning and attract and retain top staff.
    These factors vary from country to country and among regions. For
    example:

•   USAID officials in Mali told us that hardship missions find it much more
    difficult to attract U.S. staff.15 Foreign service staff in Mali receive a
    hardship pay differential rate of 25 percent and an additional 15 percent
    incentive pay. According to mission officials, these pay incentives are
    essential for attracting high-quality staff to Mali, and many of the staff with


    15
      USAID considers selected missions in sub-Sahara Africa and other areas “difficult to staff”
    missions. To entice staff to take these assignments, USAID provides a differential pay
    incentive of 15 percent in addition to the regular pay differential for hardship missions.




    Page 12                                            GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
    whom we met acknowledged that the extra pay was a factor when they
    decided to bid on the Mali positions.

•   At several missions we visited—Egypt, Mali, and Peru—USAID officials
    told us that the salaries set for foreign national employees by the
    respective embassies make it difficult for missions to recruit and retain the
    country’s top professional talent.16 This was particularly true in the poorest
    countries with limited human resource capacities, such as Mali, where the
    mission director stated that it is becoming increasingly difficult to
    compete with international financial institutions and other donor
    organizations for the country’s most highly qualified professionals.

•   Officials at all the missions we visited said that lengthy clearance
    processes make it difficult to obtain staff in a timely manner and manage
    their workforces. U.S. direct-hire staff and personal services contractors
    must obtain both a security clearance and a medical clearance before they
    report to work. As we reported in July 2002,17 in many cases it took 6
    months to a year to hire personal services contractors for the emergency
    hurricane reconstruction program in Latin America, and much of that time
    was spent waiting for clearances.

•   USAID officials in several countries—particularly Ecuador, Mali, and
    Senegal—also cited the agency’s separately appropriated operating
    expense budget as a factor in their ability to support and train U.S. direct-
    hire staff.18 USAID missions are supposed to pay for all U.S. direct-hire
    local expenses—such as housing, dependents’ education, travel, and
    training—from its operating expense budgets and not from program funds.
    According to mission officials, operating expense funds have not kept
    pace with rising fixed costs, such as rent, facilities management, and
    foreign national salaries and benefits. As a result, missions often opt for
    contractor staff who can be paid from program funds. In addition, tight
    operating expense funds and the limited number of U.S. direct-hire staff on
    board have led some missions to restrict training opportunities for U.S.
    direct-hire staff. Officials at the Mali and Senegal missions cited
    availability of training for direct-hire staff as one of their major workforce
    challenges.


    16
      Embassies generally set the grading and pay scales for foreign national employees.
    Embassies’ local hires are generally lower-graded personnel, such as administrative staff,
    maintenance workers, and drivers, while USAID must employ these staff as well as senior-
    level economists and other technical experts and professionals.
    17
     GAO-02-787.
    18
     We plan to issue a separate report on the use of USAID’s operating expense account.



    Page 13                                           GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
Inadequate Attention to       Because USAID has not responded to its changing workforce requirements
Workforce Planning Has        with a strategic workforce planning approach, its ability to carry out its
Affected USAID’s Ability to   mission has been weakened. In response to a combination of poor
                              technology investments and other budgetary pressures in the mid-1990s,
Deliver Foreign Assistance    USAID implemented a reduction in force and froze hiring. However, the
                              downsizing was conducted across the board and was not linked to a
                              strategic vision or skills analysis. The agency lost a cadre of experienced
                              foreign service officers and 5 years elapsed before new staff were hired to
                              replace them. USAID officials noted that the downsizings of the last
                              decade have resulted in an insufficient pipeline of junior and mid-level
                              staff with the experience to take on senior positions. As a result, several
                              human capital vulnerabilities have surfaced but have not been
                              systematically addressed. For example:

                          •   Increased attrition of U.S. direct hires since the reduction in force in the
                              mid-1990s led to the loss of the most experienced foreign service officers,
                              while the hiring freeze stopped the pipeline of new hires at the junior level.
                              The shortage of junior and mid-level officers to staff frontline jobs and a
                              number of unfilled positions have created difficulties at some overseas
                              missions.

                          •   Having fewer U.S. direct hires managing more programs in more countries
                              has resulted in a workforce that is overstretched, raising concerns about
                              USAID’s ability to provide effective accountability for program results and
                              financial management. As of December 31, 2002, USAID reported it had
                              631 U.S. direct-hire staff overseas compared to 1,082 at the end of fiscal
                              year 1992. However, USAID has not conducted a comprehensive workload
                              analysis to determine the extent to which staff may be overburdened or
                              unable to perform all required tasks.

                          •   USAID does not have a “surge capacity” to respond to emergencies; post-
                              conflict situations, such as Afghanistan and Iraq; or new strategic
                              priorities, such as Pakistan and the Middle East.

                          •   USAID has generally recruited staff for their technical and development
                              expertise, but they spend a significant portion of their time managing
                              contracts and grants, a responsibility for which some staff have limited
                              skills or training.

                          •   Funding limitations and the shortage of U.S direct hires at USAID missions
                              have curtailed opportunities for on-the-job and formal training and
                              mentoring for both new staff and those taking on the most senior mission
                              positions. Those who have the knowledge and experience have little time
                              for training and mentoring, and the missions do not have enough staff who


                              Page 14                                    GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
                             can cover the tasks of those in training. This has forced USAID to assign
                             increasing numbers of less experienced staff overseas who may not have
                             the essential skills.

                         •   According to senior USAID officials, the reductions in direct-hire foreign
                             service staff have limited the agency’s ability to plan for emerging
                             development issues because staff must spend most of their time preparing
                             paperwork and monitoring activities. For example, USAID did not have
                             adequate staff with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to quickly deal with
                             such emerging issues as famine and human immunodeficiency
                             virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Although the agency
                             eventually caught up with these issues, its ability to anticipate
                             development trends and demands has decreased.


                             USAID does not have a systematic method for determining its workforce
USAID’s Progress in          needs and for implementing strategies that will enable its staff to meet the
Implementing                 agency’s numerous challenges and accomplish its strategic mission.
                             USAID is making limited progress in addressing the four principles for
Strategic Workforce          effective strategic workforce planning that we identified as key practices
Planning Principles Is       (see fig. 3).
Limited

                             Figure 3: Principles for Effective Strategic Workforce Planning




                             Page 15                                       GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
Involvement of Agency       USAID’s senior management is developing a human capital strategy to
Leaders, Employees, and     respond to the President’s Management Agenda, but it has not identified
Stakeholders in Strategic   how it will significantly involve employees and other stakeholders in
                            developing and communicating the workforce strategies that result from
Workforce Planning Is       its efforts. We found that strategic workforce planning is most likely to
Limited                     succeed if an agency’s leadership sets the overall direction and goals and
                            involves employees and stakeholders in developing, communicating, and
                            implementing workforce and human capital strategies. During the 1990s,
                            USAID’s downsizing efforts and budgetary constraints took precedence
                            over strategic workforce planning. Its human resource office was
                            understaffed and lacked experience in strategic workforce planning,
                            focusing mostly on collecting workforce data and hiring to replace staff
                            lost through attrition.

                            USAID’s leadership has attempted to reform its management systems. It
                            established the Business Transformation Executive Committee in
                            February 2002 to comply with the President’s Management Agenda’s
                            initiatives, and it appointed a Chief Human Capital Officer in May 2003 as
                            required by the Chief Human Capital Officers Act of 2002.19 In December
                            2002, the business transformation committee formed a human capital
                            subcommittee, consisting of senior program and human resource officials,
                            to develop USAID’s human capital strategy. USAID’s human capital
                            strategy has not been finalized or approved by the Office of Management
                            and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management. In addition, we were
                            unable to determine whether the draft human capital strategy is linked to
                            the agency’s overall strategic plan, as we recommended in 1993. USAID’s
                            strategic plan for fiscal years 2004 through 2009—a joint plan with the
                            State Department—is also in draft and not planned for issuance until the
                            end of fiscal year 2003.

                            In addition to its human capital strategy development, as part of the effort
                            to comply with the President’s Management Agenda, the USAID
                            Administrator established a group in January 2003 to develop criteria for
                            overseas staffing and to rationalize the deployment of foreign service
                            officers overseas. The group subsequently developed—and the
                            Administrator approved—a template for staffing overseas missions that
                            gives most weight to the dollar size of the country program but also
                            considers the relative performance of the host governments and provides
                            some flexibility to the regional bureaus as necessary.


                            19
                             Public Law 107-296, November 25, 2002.




                            Page 16                                   GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
                              Involving employees and stakeholders in the strategic workforce planning
                              process is also important to encourage support and understanding for its
                              outcomes. According to a USAID senior official, the human capital
                              subcommittee has involved some internal groups in the planning process
                              through the use of working groups that include senior and mid-level
                              employees. In addition, according to USAID officials, the Administrator
                              has discussed his human capital initiatives and answered questions at
                              “town hall” meetings with USAID employees. However, because the
                              strategy is still in draft, we cannot comment on the extent to which agency
                              staff will be involved in implementing the strategy. Historically, USAID has
                              established many internal committees to analyze workforce planning
                              problems but has not always followed through in implementing their
                              recommendations.20 In addition, according to senior USAID officials, the
                              agency has not included nongovernmental organizations and other
                              implementing partners in the development of its human capital strategy.


USAID’s Efforts to Identify   USAID has begun to identify the core competencies needed by its
Critical Skills and           workforce, and it recently established a working group to conduct
Competencies Are Limited      workforce analysis and planning related to core USAID competencies.
                              However, it has not documented the critical skills and competencies of its
by Inadequate Personnel       current workforce, and its personnel information system does not always
Information                   provide reliable and timely data. USAID must determine the critical skills
                              and competencies required to meet its current and anticipated strategic
                              program goals. This is especially important as changes in national security,
                              technology, and other factors alter the environment within which foreign
                              policy agencies operate. In addition, like many other federal agencies,
                              USAID’s workforce is increasingly eligible for retirement, creating an
                              opportunity to refocus its workforce competencies to those geared toward
                              the critical skills and competencies it will need in the future. To meet
                              these challenges effectively, USAID needs to know its present workforce
                              skills and competencies and identify those that are critical to achieving its
                              strategic goals.

                              Effective workforce planning and management require that human capital
                              staff and other managers base their workforce analyses and decisions on
                              complete, accurate, and timely personnel data. However, USAID’s
                              personnel information system is not entirely accurate and does not
                              contain all of the information USAID needs for sound workforce decision


                              20
                               See appendix I for summaries of various studies related to USAID’s human capital issues.




                              Page 17                                          GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
making. For example, a recent audit of USAID’s human capital data by its
Inspector General found that the data collected through this automated
process were not current, consistent, totally accurate, or complete.21
USAID is attempting to address its personnel information system problems
through a recently implemented Web-based application that will allow for
customized, centralized, and real-time reporting. As of mid-June 2003,
about 85 percent of the missions had submitted data through the new
system. Officials at the human resource office, in responding to a draft of
this report, expect this new system to be fully operational in time to
generate the September 30, 2003, worldwide staffing report.

Nevertheless, USAID has no systematic or agencywide method to
determine the skills and competencies of its current staff. Although the
new personnel database will provide better information on the locations
and position categories of its staff, it is not designed to identify current
critical skills and competencies. According to officials from the human
resource office, the new system will provide the position occupational
code for all employees, but this will not include information on current
skills and abilities. However, as part of its draft human capital strategy, in
June 2003 USAID established a team to carry out a comprehensive
workforce analysis and planning effort. The team will first develop a pilot
workforce plan, including an analysis of current skills and future needs, in
three headquarters offices—human resources, procurement, and global
health. One of the working group’s tasks is to identify an appropriate tool
to collect, store, and manage data on competencies, training, and career
development.

USAID’s overseas assessment team also developed findings and made a
number of recommendations regarding USAID’s model for delivering
assistance and the types of skills that the agency will need to meet future
program needs.22 For example, according to the team’s study, USAID’s
foreign service recruitment should focus more on basic agency operational
skills such as program and project development, financial management,
procurement, and legal expertise. The study notes that these abilities are
essential for missions in developing programs, policies, and strategies;
ensuring accountability; and representing U.S. government interests with


21
 USAID Office of Inspector General, Audit of USAID’s Human Capital Data, Audit Report
9-000-03-002-P (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 20, 2002).
22
 U.S. Agency for International Development, Report of the Overseas Working Group,
May 2003.




Page 18                                         GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
                              host government officials and other stakeholders. Furthermore, according
                              to the study, due to the shortage of U.S. direct-hire foreign service staff,
                              about 160 personal services contractors currently serve in these positions,
                              which USAID considers inherently governmental functions and normally
                              fills with U.S. direct-hire staff.


USAID’s Strategies to         Although USAID has implemented some recruitment strategies to address
Address Critical Skill Gaps   attrition concerns and staffing gaps, the strategies are limited to certain
Are Not Comprehensive         segments of the workforce. Furthermore, USAID cannot be certain that
                              these measures will be effective, because the recruitment plans have not
                              been based on analyses that match current skills with those needed to
                              meet future strategic goals. Our strategic human capital model stresses the
                              importance of developing human capital strategies—the programs,
                              policies, and processes that agencies use to build and manage their
                              workforces—that are tailored to agencies’ unique needs.23 Applying this
                              principle to strategic workforce planning means that agencies consider
                              how hiring, training, staff development, performance management, and
                              other human capital strategies can be used to eliminate gaps and gain the
                              critical skills and competencies needed in the future.

                              USAID has implemented specific workforce strategies for some segments
                              of its workforce to address shortages in critical skills and competencies,
                              but these efforts are not comprehensive. Since fiscal year 1999, USAID has
                              hired more than 200 mid-level foreign service officers through its New
                              Entry Professionals program and 47 civil service employees through the
                              Presidential Management Intern program. The agency recently reinstituted
                              its International Development Intern program for junior foreign service
                              officers and plans to make 15 offers in March 2004. According to USAID
                              officials, the agency is hiring staff with updated technical and management
                              skills. These measures are important efforts to bring in experienced mid-
                              level staff and junior staff with new skill sets that can help shape the
                              agency’s future as the current workforce becomes eligible for retirement.
                              However, USAID has not developed a workforce plan for its civil service
                              staff—a factor noted by OMB in its Presidential Management Agenda
                              “scorecard” of USAID’s human capital management efforts. In responding
                              to our draft report, USAID stated that it will not refine its civil service
                              recruitment plan until its workforce analysis is complete. In the meantime,



                              23
                               U.S. General Accounting Office, A Model of Strategic Human Capital Management,
                              GAO-02-373SP (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 15, 2002).




                              Page 19                                       GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
                          the current civil service plan calls for hiring about 15 Presidential
                          Management Interns a year, allowing offices to replace civil service staff in
                          accordance with approved reorganization plans, and hiring above
                          established ceilings for critical staff needs, such as contracts officers.
                          USAID also has not yet developed workforce plans for its personal
                          services contractors, who make up the majority of its workforce, although
                          USAID plans to do so in response to a recommendation by its Inspector
                          General.24

                          In addition to its recruitment efforts, USAID has revived certain training
                          programs that were halted during the 1990s, such as executive leadership
                          training and management programs. However, these target mostly senior
                          management, according to a USAID survey of civil service employees. In
                          responding to our draft, USAID noted that its leadership training is
                          conducted at three levels—emerging, senior, and executive—and that its
                          challenge is to broaden such training and make it more available. USAID
                          also noted that it needs to offer entry-level training to all staff, not just
                          foreign service officers. In addition, the agency is revising its training
                          curriculum to provide more online training opportunities for all staff.

                          USAID’s personnel information system has not always provided accurate
                          data, and the agency has not undertaken a comprehensive analysis of the
                          skills and competencies of its current staff and matched this data to future
                          requirements. As a result, USAID cannot ensure that its recruitment plans
                          accurately reflect its hiring needs. Since 1999, missions have been required
                          to submit staffing projections as part of USAID’s annual report and budget
                          justification process. The human resource office uses this information to
                          develop its annual foreign service recruitment and training plans.
                          According to a human resource official, the recent overseas staffing
                          assessment will result in better guidance to the field and to headquarters
                          offices on reporting their staffing needs.


USAID Has Not Created a   Because USAID’s human capital strategy is still in draft and not yet
System to Monitor and     approved, we cannot comment on whether its action plan will have
Evaluate Its Progress     specific timetables and indicators to evaluate its progress in meeting its
                          human capital goals and to help ensure that these efforts continue under
                          the leadership of successive administrators. Strategic workforce planning



                          24
                           Inspector General report, 9-000-03-002-P. USAID employs 116 personal services
                          contractors at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. and 5,124 at its overseas missions.




                          Page 20                                            GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
              entails the development and use of indicators to measure both the
              progress in achieving human capital goals and how the outcomes of these
              strategies can help an organization accomplish its mission and
              programmatic goals. USAID has had difficulties in defining practical,
              meaningful measures that assess the impact of human capital strategies on
              program results. For example, USAID’s fiscal year 2002 performance plan
              continues to emphasize the agency’s efforts to achieve activity-oriented
              goals, such as the number of employees hired or trained, but these
              measures do not help gauge how well USAID’s human capital efforts
              helped the agency achieve its programmatic goals. As a result, the link
              between specific human capital strategies and strategic program outcomes
              is not clear.


              USAID has evolved from an agency consisting primarily of U.S. direct-hire
Conclusions   foreign service officers who directly implemented development projects to
              one in which foreign service officers manage and oversee development
              programs and projects carried out by institutional contractors and
              grantees. Since 1992, the number of U.S. direct-hire staff has decreased by
              37 percent, but the number of countries with USAID programs has almost
              doubled. In addition, USAID program funding increased 57 percent in
              fiscal years 2002 and 2003. As a result, USAID has increasingly relied on
              contractor staff—primarily personal services contractors—to manage its
              day-to-day activities overseas. In addition to having fewer U.S. direct-hire
              foreign service officers to provide direction and accountability for its
              foreign assistance programs, USAID operates in overseas environments
              that present unique challenges to its ability to manage a quality workforce.
              With fewer and less experienced U.S. direct-hire staff managing increasing
              levels of foreign assistance in more countries, along with expected
              increases in program funds for Afghanistan and Iraq, significant funding
              increases for the global initiative to fight human immunodeficiency
              virus/acquired immune deficiency, and potential USAID involvement in the
              Millennium Challenge Account, USAID’s ability to provide oversight over
              its foreign assistance activities and pursue U.S. foreign policy objectives is
              becoming increasingly difficult. Because USAID has not adopted a
              strategic approach to workforce planning and management, it cannot
              ensure that it has addressed these challenges appropriately and identified
              the right skill mix and competencies needed to carry out its development
              assistance programs.




              Page 21                                    GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
                      To help ensure that USAID can identify its future workforce needs and
Recommendations for   pursue strategies that will help its workforce achieve the agency’s goals,
Executive Action      we recommend that the USAID Administrator develop and institutionalize
                      a strategic workforce planning and management system that reflects
                      current workforce planning principles. This effort should include the
                      implementation of a reliable personnel information system, an agencywide
                      assessment of staff’s skills and abilities, workforce strategies that address
                      identified staffing gaps in the foreign and civil services, and a periodic
                      evaluation of how these efforts contribute toward the achievement of the
                      agency’s program goals.


                      To determine how workforce changes have affected USAID’s ability to
Scope and             carry out its mission, we reviewed the agency’s workforce planning
Methodology           documents and a number of internal and external reports on USAID’s
                      human capital and workforce planning issues. We also interviewed
                      knowledgeable USAID officials representing the agency’s regional,
                      technical, and management bureaus in Washington, D.C., and conducted
                      fieldwork at seven overseas missions—the Dominican Republic, Ecuador,
                      Egypt, Mali, Peru, Senegal, and the West Africa Regional Program in Mali.25
                      To ensure consistency in our data collection efforts, we used the same
                      data collection instrument at each location.26 We also administered a
                      separate data collection instrument at USAID’s human resource office in
                      Washington, D.C. In examining the changes in USAID’s workforce since
                      1990, we analyzed personnel data provided by USAID and internal and
                      external reports on the changing roles of USAID’s workforce. We did not
                      formally verify the accuracy of USAID’s data; however, we noted in our
                      findings that USAID’s personnel data were not entirely accurate, complete,
                      or up to date.

                      To examine USAID’s progress in developing and implementing a strategic
                      workforce planning system, we evaluated the agency’s efforts in terms of
                      principles used by leading organizations that we identified through our
                      work with the Office of Personnel Management, other U.S. government
                      agencies, the National Academy for Public Administration, and the



                      25
                       We also examined mission workforce documents and interviewed officials at USAID’s
                      mission to Indonesia. The mission was relocated to Arlington, Virginia, following its
                      evacuation in October 2002. It has since been relocated back to Indonesia.
                      26
                       We did not use the data collection instrument on our visit to the Dominican Republic,
                      which we visited in November 2002 to conduct survey work and test our audit approach.




                      Page 22                                          GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
                     International Personnel Management Association. We analyzed USAID’s
                     workforce planning documents, reviewed internal and external reports on
                     its human capital and workforce planning efforts, and interviewed
                     cognizant USAID officials at its Bureau for Management and its Bureau for
                     Policy and Program Coordination.

                     We conducted our work between July 2002 and June 2003 in accordance
                     with generally accepted government auditing standards.


                     USAID provided written comments on a draft of this report (see app. III).
Agency Comments      It concurred with our major findings and recommendations and noted that
and Our Evaluation   our work grasped the agency’s complex human capital situation. USAID
                     also reiterated that it recently established a working group to carry out an
                     integrated workforce analysis and planning effort. According to USAID,
                     this effort will assess the critical skills and competencies of its workforce,
                     identify the gaps between what the agency currently has and what it will
                     need in the future, and design workforce strategies to fill those gaps.
                     USAID also provided separate technical comments on our draft, which we
                     have incorporated as appropriate.


                     As arranged with your office, we plan no further distribution of this report
                     for 30 days from the date of the report unless you publicly announce its
                     contents earlier. At that time, we will send copies to interested
                     congressional committees and to the Administrator, USAID; the Secretary
                     of State; and the Director, Office of Management and Budget. We will also
                     make copies available to others upon request. In addition, this report will
                     be available at no extra charge on the GAO Web site at
                     http://www.gao.gov.




                     Page 23                                    GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
If you or your staff have any questions about this report, please contact me
at (202) 512-4128 or at FordJ@gao.gov. Other contacts and staff
acknowledgments are listed in appendix IV.




Jess T. Ford, Director
International Affairs and Trade




Page 24                                   GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
                                           Appendix I: Selected Reports Related to
Appendix I: Selected Reports Related to    USAID’s Workforce Planning



USAID’s Workforce Planning


Report                                     Findings                                         Recommendations
Quainton, Anthony C.E. and Fulmer,         •   USAID needs increased workforce              •   Strengthen workforce planning and better
Amanda M., Human Capital Reform:               planning, greater focus on recruitment,          link workforce planning to the agency’s
21st Century for USAID (Virginia, IBM          more training opportunities, and                 mission.
Endowment for the Business of                  increased retention.
Government: March 2003).                   •   Human resources department is not
                                               effective.
USAID Office of the Inspector General.     •   USAID’s human capital data collected         •   Develop definitions and requirements so
Audit of USAID’s Human Capital Data,           and maintained was not up to date,               reported data is on time, consistent,
Audit Report Number 9-000-03-002-P             consistent, totally accurate, or complete.       accurate, and complete.
(Washington, D.C.: Dec. 20, 2002).                                                          •   Provide training for staff members who
                                                                                                enter and correct personnel data.
                                                                                            •   Develop procedures for missions to attest
                                                                                                to the accuracy of their workforce data.
                                                                                            •   Institute process to collect data on the
                                                                                                reasons for employee attrition.
                                                                                            •   Develop workforce plans for USAID’s civil
                                                                                                and nondirect-hire workforce.
USAID Office of the Inspector General,     •   USAID has not developed a                    •   USAID needs to develop a comprehensive
Audit of USAID’s Workforce Planning for        comprehensive workforce plan that                workforce plan for the USAID procurement
Procurement Officers, Audit Report             covers its entire procurement workforce.         workforce.
Number 9-000-03-001-P (Washington,
D.C.: Nov. 13, 2002).
U.S. General Accounting Office, Foreign    •   Start-up challenges and obstacles            •   Implement procedures to (1) allow USAID
Assistance: Disaster Recovery Program          affected the initial pace of program             to quickly reassign key personnel, (2) allow
Addressed Intended Purposes but USAID          implementation.                                  missions to expedite the hiring of
Needs Greater Flexibility to Improve Its   •   USAID lacked a “surge capacity” to               contractor staff, and (3) facilitate
Response Capability, GAO-02-787                quickly design and implement a large-            coordination with other U.S. government
(Washington, D.C.: July 24, 2002).             scale program with relatively short time         agencies involved in reconstruction.
                                               frames.
U.S. Agency for International              •   Short-term budget matters take               •   Foreign and civil service new hires must
Development, USAID’s Workforce                 precedence over long-term workforce              possess managerial and analytical skills.
Analysis (Washington, D.C.: June 29,           planning needs.                              •   Agency must decide what skills should be
2001).                                     •   Lack of training.                                hired and what should be contracted.
                                           •   Limited hiring of entry-level staff.
                                           •   Agency’s program budget increased, but
                                               its workforce decreased for 10 years.
U.S. Agency for International              •   USAID has significant barriers to            •   Establish a workforce planning committee
Development, Human Resources                   workforce planning.                              to identify program needs on a continuing
Business Area Analysis: Executive                                                               basis.
Summary (Washington, D.C.: August                                                           •   Reduce the number of personnel
1995).                                                                                          backstops and develop qualifications in
                                                                                                multiple skills categories.
                                                                                            •   Create an inventory of staff work history,
                                                                                                experience, skills, and abilities.
                                                                                            •   Adopt a single unified personnel system.




                                           Page 25                                                GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
                                          Appendix I: Selected Reports Related to
                                          USAID’s Workforce Planning




Report                                    Findings                                  Recommendations
U.S. General Accounting Office, Foreign   • Responsibilities of workforce are       • Develop and implement a comprehensive
Assistance: AID Strategic Direction and     changing.                                 workforce planning and management
Continued Management Improvements         • Workforce lacked needed skills.           capability as a systematic, agencywide
Needed, GAO/NSIAD-93-106                                                              effort.
                                          • USAID had not adequately planned for
(Washington, D.C.: June 11, 1993).                                                  • Institutionalize this capability to ensure its
                                            workforce needs.
                                                                                      continuation by successive administrations.
                                          • Ineffective placement, training, and
                                            recruitment constrained workforce
                                            management.
U.S. Agency for International             • USAID does not have an effective        •   Determine the desired general composition
Development, Workforce Planning             workforce planning system.                  of the direct-hire workforce and develop a
Working Group Report (Washington,                                                       plan for reshaping the workforce along
D.C.: 1991)                                                                             those lines.
                                                                                    •   Conduct an individual skills profile of the
                                                                                        existing workforce and analyze it in the
                                                                                        context of the desired general composition
                                                                                        of the direct-hire workforce.
                                                                                    •   Restructure the personnel backstop
                                                                                        system to simplify, reduce, and thereby
                                                                                        broaden categories.




                                          Page 26                                         GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
                                Appendix II: USAID Worldwide Foreign
Appendix II: USAID Worldwide Foreign
                                Assistance Programs Locations



Assistance Programs Locations

Countries Receiving USAID Assistance with U.S. Direct-Hire Staff Presence

Africa Region                   Angola                                 Mali
                                Benin                                  Mozambique
                                Democratic Republic of Congo           Namibia
                                Eritrea                                Nigeria
                                Ethiopia                               Rwanda
                                Ghana                                  Senegal
                                Guinea                                 South Africa
                                Kenya                                  Tanzania
                                Liberia                                Uganda
                                Madagascar                             Zambia
                                Malawi                                 Zimbabwe

Asia and the Near East Region   Cambodia                               Morocco
                                East Timor                             Nepal
                                Egypt                                  Pakistan
                                Indonesia                              Philippines
                                Jordan                                 Sri Lanka
                                Lebanon                                Thailand
                                Mongolia                               West Bank and Gaza
                                                                       Yemen

Europe and Eurasia Region       Albania                                Kyrgyzstan
                                Armenia                                Moldova
                                Azerbaijan                             Romania
                                Bosnia and Herzegovina                 Russia
                                Bulgaria                               Former Yugoslav Republic of
                                Croatia                                 Macedonia
                                Georgia                                Yugoslav Republic of Montenegro
                                Kazakhstan                             Yugoslav Republic of Serbia
                                Kosovo                                 Ukraine
                                                                       Uzbekistan




                                Page 27                                   GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
                                Appendix II: USAID Worldwide Foreign
                                Assistance Programs Locations




Latin America and the           Bolivia                                Haiti
Caribbean Region                Brazil                                 Honduras
                                Colombia                               Jamaica
                                Dominican Republic                     Mexico
                                Ecuador                                Nicaragua
                                El Salvador                            Panama
                                Guatemala                              Paraguay
                                Guyana                                 Peru

Countries Receiving USAID Assistance with No U.S. Direct-Hire Staff Presence

Africa Region                   Botswana                               Guinea Bissau
                                Burkina Faso                           Lesotho
                                Burundi                                Mauritania
                                Cameroon                               Mauritius
                                Cape Verdi                             Niger
                                Central Africa Republic                Sao Tome
                                Chad                                   Seychelles
                                Comoros                                Sierra Leone
                                Congo (Brazzaville)                    Somalia
                                Cote d’Ivoire                          Sudan
                                Equatorial Guinea                      Swaziland
                                Gabon                                  The Gambia
                                                                       Togo

Asia and the Near East Region   Algeria                                Palau
                                Bahrain                                Papua New Guinea
                                China                                  Samoa
                                Djibouti                               Singapore
                                Hong Kong                              Solomon Islands
                                Iraq                                   South Korea
                                Israel                                 Taiwan
                                Kiribati                               Tajikistan
                                Laos                                   Tonga
                                Malaysia                               Tunisia
                                Myanmar (Burma)                        Turkey
                                Niue                                   Turkmenistan
                                North Korea                            Vanuatu
                                Oman                                   Vietnam




                                Page 28                                   GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
                                   Appendix II: USAID Worldwide Foreign
                                   Assistance Programs Locations




Europe and Eurasia Region          Belarus                                Ireland and Northern Ireland
                                   Cyprus                                 Latvia
                                   Czech Republic                         Lithuania
                                   Estonia                                Poland
                                   Greece                                 Slovakia
                                   Hungary                                Slovenia

Latin America and the              Anguilla                               Eastern Caribbean and Windward
Caribbean Region                   Antigua and Barbuda                     Islands
                                   Argentina                              Grenada
                                   Bahamas                                Montserrat
                                   Barbados                               St. Kitts and Nevis
                                   British Virgin Islands                 St. Lucia
                                   Belize                                 St. Vincent and the Grenadines
                                   Cayman Islands                         Suriname
                                   Chile                                  Trinidad and Tobago
                                   Costa Rica                             Turks and Caicos Islands
                                   Cuba                                   Uruguay
                                   Dominica                               Venezuela


USAID Regional Service Platforms. Services include legal, executive office, financial/controller,
procurement, and program and project development support services. Services vary among the 26 platforms;
for example, the regional office in Kenya provides all services to up to 14 countries, while the Honduras
mission simply shares a contracts officer with Nicaragua.

Africa Region                      Benin                                  Kenya - Regional Economic
                                   Botswana - Regional Center for          Development Services Office for
                                    Southern Africa                        East and Southern Africa
                                   Ghana                                  Mali - West African Regional
                                   Guinea                                  Program
                                                                          Senegal
                                                                          South Africa

Asia and the Near East Region      Bangladesh                             Jordan
                                   Egypt                                  Pakistan
                                   India                                  Philippines
                                   Indonesia                              Thailand - Regional Development
                                                                           Office (planned)




                                   Page 29                                   GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
                            Appendix II: USAID Worldwide Foreign
                            Assistance Programs Locations




Europe and Eurasia Region   Georgia - Caucasus Regional Office
                            Hungary - Regional Services Center
                            Kazakhstan - Central Asia Regional Office
                            Ukraine - West/Newly Independent States Regional Office

Latin America and the       Bolivia (La Paz)
Caribbean Region            Dominican Republic (Santo Domingo)
                            El Salvador (San Salvador)
                            Guatemala (Guatemala City)
                            Honduras (Tegucigalpa)
                            Peru (Lima)




                            Page 30                                GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
              Appendix III: Comments from the U.S. Agency for International Development
Appendix III: Comments from the U.S.
Agency for International Development




              Page 31                                         GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
                             Appendix IV: GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments
Appendix IV: GAO Contacts and Staff
Acknowledgments

                  Albert H. Huntington, III (202) 512-4140
GAO Contacts      Audrey Solis (202) 512-3042


                  In addition to the above named individuals, Kimberley Ebner, Jeanette
Acknowledgments   Espinola, and Rhonda Horried made key contributions to this report.
                  Martin de Alteriis, Mark Dowling, Reid Lowe, and José M. Peña, III,
                  provided technical assistance.




(320136)
                  Page 32                                     GAO-03-946 USAID Workforce Planning
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