Lessons From USAID’s FY 2019 Budget Process Highlight Interagency Constraints and Areas that Require Continued Attention


The process of executing the foreign assistance budget is central to USAID’s ability to deliver on its mandate. This memo describes USAID’s budget execution process for foreign assistance funds and highlights external constraints on the process and USAID responses to them as these were expressed in fiscal year 2019.  We discuss how outside factors—such as external reviews and differing opinions on the direction of foreign assistance programming—affect USAID’s ability to obligate funds and lead to significant lags in the apportionment of funds. USAID’s Office of Budget and Resource Management conducted an internal after-action review to identify challenges affecting the obligation of funds and drafted conclusions and recommendations for improving the process. While USAID has taken steps to improve processes internally and with State, we highlight the importance of continued attention in this area.