Policy Update

Two former USAID heads criticize administration's plan to move pandemic response to the State Department

Two former Administrators of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), one a Democrat and the other a Republican, strongly criticized a recent proposal by the Trump administration to move control of pandemic responses to the US Department of State (State).

Brian Atwood, who served under President Clinton, and Andrew Natsios, who served under President G.W. Bush, called the idea "counterproductive" and one that would both add costs and delay a US response during a pandemic.

The restructuring, dubbed the Pompeo Proposal, would move most of USAID's global health program to State. This would detach health from other development programs, such as food and nutrition programs, which are often critical to avoiding deaths. Further, while State has the political skills to respond to political crises, it does not have the capacity to manage large scale development programs or emergency responses.

The Pompeo Proposal would require Congressional approval.

Op-ed - Politico