U S A I D A D M I N I S T R A T O R
8 POSSIBLE PICKS FOR TRUMP'S
USAID's administrator oversees a foreign assistance
portfolio of more than $20 billion, with more than 60
country and regional missions around the world.
The USAID chief has historically played a big role
designing and implementing aid reforms and initiatives.
The administrator is nominated by the president and must
be confirmed by Congress.
Donald Trump’s surprise presidential victory turned the
American political establishment upside down. Now the
president-elect is working to appoint people who will lead
government departments and agencies under his watch.
The Trump team has offered few hints about who might
lead U.S. development efforts.
Here are eight potential contenders.
Trump's plans for foreign aid remain a blank
spot on the political transition map.
The president-elect could look to the
private sector, or he could reward a loyal
congressperson or Capitol Hill staffer with
USAID's top job. Trump has also shown a
penchant for military leadership in his
civilian cabinet choices — and he could use
this appointment to draw foreign aid closer
to U.S. national security priorities. For now,
the best guess is still anybody's guess.
T H E O U T S I D E R
Mark Green, a former U.S. ambassador
to Tanzania under President George W.
Bush, is the president of the International
Republican Institute, an organization that
works to support democratic
representation and elections abroad.
Green could be a politically savvy
choice. He served four terms in the U.S.
House of Representatives representing
Wisconsin, a state that proved critical to
Trump’s victory. He previously led the
Initiative for Global Development, a
nonprofit that engages businesses in
sustainable development in Africa.
M A R K G R E E N
Danielle Pletka is vice president for foreign
and defense policy studies at the
neoconservative American Enterprise
Institute in Washington, D.C.
Known as an interventionist and a staunch
critic of President Obama's foreign policy,
Pletka advocates for a bigger focus on
democracy and governance programs.
When USAID administrators have spoken
publicly in recent years, Pletka has often
represented the conservative voice in
those forums. She served as a senior
professional staffer on the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee from 1992 to 2002.
D A N I E L L E P L E T K A
Admiral Tim Ziemer leads the President’s
Malaria Initiative, and was appointed by
President George W. Bush in 2006.
The former executive director of World
Relief, Ziemer served as a helicopter pilot
in Vietnam, a Naval commander during
the Gulf War and finally as commander of
the Navy's mid-Atlantic region. Ziemer
was born in Iowa but raised in Asia, as the
son of Christian missionaries.
T I M Z I E M E R
Carol Adelman, senior fellow and director
of the Center for Global Prosperity at
Hudson Institute, is another conservative
think tank expert — though she also has
long experience with USAID, serving as a
career foreign service officer from 1971 to
Adelman has championed "philanthro-
capitalism," prioritizing private money and
a business mentality in supporting
development goals. She and her husband
Ken Adelman teach business leadership
courses based on the literary works of
C A R O L A D E L M A N
Catherine Bertini, a Syracuse University
professor, served as executive director
of the World Food Programme from
1992 to 2002. Her appointment was
recommended by President George
H.W. Bush and re-endorsed by
Bertini won the World Food Prize in
2003. Also at the U.N., she served as
Kofi Annan's under secretary-general
for management from 2003 to 2005
and was a senior fellow at the Bill and
Melinda Gates Foundation.
C A T H E R I N E B E R T I N I
Dan Runde would likely have played a
prominent global development role in
Mitt Romney's administration, had
Romney won the election in 2012.
During the 2016 campaign, Runde joined
other Republican foreign policy experts in
criticizing Trump, and his interest in
serving the president-elect now is
impossible to gauge. Runde directs the
Center for Strategic and International
Studies’ Project on Prosperity and
Development, which highlights the role of
the private sector in global development.
D A N R U N D E
Trump’s foreign aid plans remain vague,
but some in the development community
fear his broader promises to slash
Washington’s bureaucracy — which he
sees as overweight and inefficient —
could put USAID’s independence at risk.
Some experts predict USAID could be
folded into the State Department, as the
Canadian and Australian aid agencies
have been — raising questions about
whether Trump will appoint anyone at all
to lead the world's largest bilateral aid
T H E R E W O N ' T B E O N E .