USAID Operating Expenses

FY2018 Funding Recommendation:  
$1.404 billion


Funding History


       House/Senate FY2017 Request*   

       InterAction's FY2018 Recommendation

*Includes FY2017 Continuing Resolution Increase

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 Capital Investment Fund

Similar to its Operating Expenses, USAID’s Capital Investment Fund provides much-needed updates to technology, including computer workstations, database capabilities, and most importantly, the construction and maintenance funds that preserve safe and secure facilities for staff in DC and overseas. Technology is a large component of USAID’s future planning, as outlined in its Information Technology Strategic Plan launched in 2016. To make data more accessible and useful, USAID developed a Development Information Solution, which will provide a unified and integrated technology system that will improve USAID operations and its ability to measure programming performance. To ensure USAID staff can operate as efficiently and effective as possible, Congress should consider investing in USAID’s infrastructure so that U.S. can maximize assistance efforts. Currently, many USAID staffers are using obsolete technology that hinders efforts.

Over the last decade, with the support of Republicans and Democrats on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue, USAID has transformed into an evidence-based and results-oriented organization, setting a high standard for US Government agencies on increasing effectiveness and efficiency, and on striving to obtain the best results for the American taxpayer. Employing an evidence-based approach under USAID Forward, the Agency has greatly improved its analytical precision, its transparency, internal learning and decision-making mechanisms, and its ability to leverage its resources through public-private and other partnerships to strengthen development and humanitarian programs that advance U.S. interests and respond to global challenges. Additionally, focusing on economic solutions and market-based approaches it has helped unleash communities’ own potential to lift themselves out of poverty.

USAID plays a critical role in supporting U.S. foreign policy objectives. The agency works alongside global partners and those in need to build and strengthen democracy, promote human rights and good governance, bring prosperity to the disadvantaged, and raise global health standards, as well as respond to global disasters. USAID engagement around the world helps billions of people. To maximize effectiveness, USAID and the Department of State undertook a Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review in 2015. USAID identified several key operational areas to address, including: harnessing knowledge, data, and technology; promoting innovation; managing and mitigating physical risk; and advancing strategic planning and performance management. As USAID strives to increase levels of accountability, transparency, and efficiency, it is vitally important that the agency receive appropriate levels of funding to undertake these crucial reforms and continue to attract and retain top-tier talent, in Washington and in missions around the world.

The FY2017 budget must sustain USAID staffing levels necessary to carry out humanitarian and development assistance programs effectively as well as maintain the technical capacity to remain flexible in a changing global environment. Reductions in USAID staff between 1990 and 2008 saw a notable decrease in USAID’s technical expertise and a significant outsourcing of much of the work that had previously been performed in-house. More recently, through much-needed increases in funds for operating expenses, USAID has made progress in restoring critical in-house expertise and capabilities, including its ability to design and implement intelligent development programming.

To that end, since 2010, USAID Forward has instituted a package of reforms to strengthen, streamline, and optimize the way USAID does business. These reforms include numerous measures to address challenges such as budgeting, evaluation, human resources, use of the private sector, and the application of science and technology on development issues. Full operational funding for USAID supports continued progress, proper implementation of programs, and ensures the agency remains capable in both responding to global disasters and promoting development to end extreme poverty.

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