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Confirmation Hearing

Henrietta Holsman Fore , Acting Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance and Acting Administrator of USAID
Testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Washington, DC
July 24, 2007

(As delivered)

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Thank you, Chairman Menendez and other members of the Foreign Relations Committee. Senator Lugar, it is good to see both of you.

I appreciate this opportunity to appear before you today as the President's nominee to lead the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). As you are aware, I have served this Administration proudly since 2001, as Senator Hutchinson mentioned, first as the 37th Director of the United States Mint in the Department of Treasury, and since August 2005, as Under Secretary of State for Management.

Since May 7, 2007, I have served as Acting Administrator of USAID and Acting Director for U.S. Foreign Assistance at the Department of State.

If I have the honor of being confirmed, I will be returning to an Agency of remarkable and extraordinarily capable people, where I first served from 1989-1993.

This Committee has made it clear that we can, and must, use foreign assistance more effectively. You also have indicated that reform must be a substantially more consultative process. I take this mandate seriously. In fact, that process already began - the day after I was nominated.

I have spent much of the last two and half months listening. The message I have heard from Congressional Members, from your staffs, from our stakeholders in the humanitarian and development community, from educators and business people, from our host countries and the recipients of our assistance in the field, other US foreign assistance implementers, from the Secretary of State, and, of course, from USAID itself - is a remarkably consistent one. They share with me a perception of foreign assistance's importance to America and the developing world. And, they see USAID as central to the success of this nation's development mission. In short, USAID's unique, long-term development focus is an invaluable instrument for U.S. foreign policy, U.S. economic policy, and our nation's humanitarian outreach.

I am encouraged by this consensus but I want to make clear that "listening" is not an end in itself. If confirmed, I intend to build on this consensus and use it as the basis for scaling up the Agency for International Development. For this, I will need your counsel, guidance, and support.

I firmly believe that our people are our most important asset. If confirmed, I will support the Secretary's Transformational Diplomacy goal by ensuring that we have people who can work on the complex tasks that 21st Century foreign assistance requires. With the active support and backing of the Congress, we can stem the tide of declining numbers of USAID employees in our Foreign Service and Civil Service ranks. I also will upgrade skills and training for USAID's employees already in place and will put in place a new capacity to work for America. We will increase our training and career development opportunities.

The economic, political, social, and technological developments of recent years have brought with them a need for new, non-traditional approaches that embrace transnational concerns, involving a range of non-traditional and non-governmental foreign assistance providers. To ensure we are not working at cross-purposes, but for shared purposes, we will need to engage these new partners and stakeholders and prepare them for the challenges ahead. USAID needs employees with diverse backgrounds and broad substantive expertise. My goal is to hire, not just to recruit, diverse employees. If confirmed, I will work hard to ensure a professional environment at USAID where every employee feels valued.

The United States leads as the largest donor country with the largest private donor community in the world.

If USAID is to make its contribution to the success of the Government of the United States' Foreign Assistance and foreign policy missions, first and foremost, we must replenish our core workforce.

In recent years, Congress has appropriated less for our Operating Expenses (OE) than the Agency has requested. As you know, OE is what makes our "footprint" in Washington and Field possible. If confirmed, in the coming months, I will explore with you options to address our 2008 OE stringency.

I have asked USAID leadership to engage with me in analyzing how we might position USAID for the future by addressing the composition of our workforce and determining how that workforce might be more effectively repositioned, trained and deployed. The Secretary and I believe that U.S. interests would be well served by a strong, well-trained, well-deployed USAID.

If confirmed, I intend to work very hard to find ways to achieve this result. I will engage the Congress on this issue, as my first order of business.

As we align and harmonize our administrative services at USAID and the Department of State, I will be asking the Congress to consider new investments in Information Technology for USAID. The greater transparency and openness that I pledge requires modern information and communications systems at USAID and at the Department of State. Substantial investments will be required to bring USAID up to a level that will sustain our 21st Century vision. The payoffs will be substantial. They will benefit the United States over the long run, by increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of our programs, enabling us to report to you with much greater detail and timeliness and to integrate more closely the programs of other United States Government agencies. Additionally, such investments will enable subsequent Administrators to be more responsible stewards of the United States' taxpayer dollars.

These people and these tools will help each in their own way to reach our aim, ultimately, is to significantly improve the human condition. To do so, we must employ the proper tools to reach our goal.

Our foreign assistance programs save lives and lift individuals from poverty. We want to lift nations and their citizens to permanent prosperity. We want to create more donor nations. We want countries to build their own schools, and train their own teachers. We want to partner with public and private organizations and individuals throughout the world.

In conclusion, if I am confirmed by the Senate as Administrator of USAID, it will be a pleasure to work with you once again in the service of our great country.

Thank you.



Released on July 25, 2007

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