Recommendations and Actions
In his confirmation hearing on April 29th, the administrator of the Agency for International Development (AID), J. Brian Atwood, declared that he did not want reinvention efforts to be limited to a few pilot projects. Instead, he announced that the entire agency would be offered up as a reinvention laboratory. Since then, Administrator Atwood has taken a number of steps to turn rhetoric into reality. Comprehensive plans are underway to transform AID into a high performance, results-driven organization that can respond effectively and efficiently to global challenges.
There is widespread recognition that AID must change profoundly if it is to be relevant in the post-Cold War era. This agreement on the need for fundamental change encompasses AID career staff, other U.S. government agencies, Congress, and the public. It is an important asset that supports AID reinvention efforts. But it also presents a complicated challenge because there are diverse views on what kind of change is appropriate. The recently completed report by the Deputy Secretary of State has started to resolve this debate. That report will be the basis for establishing a broad consensus on the appropriate role and function of AID.
AID reinvention efforts encompass a wide number of activities. A Quality Council representing a cross-section of AID employees has been established to coordinate the reinvention plans. This Council meets weekly to review reinvention efforts and to the greatest extent possible ensure that all AID employees are given the opportunity to get involved in the reinvention process. To date, reinvention efforts include:
Vision for the Future
Within the next five years, AID will become a leaner, more focused organization with a clearly defined mission. To a significant extent, the success of AID's reinvention efforts will depend on its ability to secure cooperation and support from other key executive branch agencies (such as the State Department and the Office of Management and Budget) and Congress. In addition, a focus on results will mean that the current programming, monitoring, and auditing systems overwhelmingly geared to tracking inputs will have to be reexamined.
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