The Cable

USAID’s policy-planning shop takes shape

Even though the administration's two major policy reviews on development are missing in action and the U.S. Agency for International Development is still full of senior vacancies, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah is moving ahead with his promise to give the agency back its capability to think strategically by building an official policy planning staff.

"This new bureau, bolstered by the agency's many technical assets, represents an essential step toward achieving President Barack Obama's and Secretary Clinton's vision of regaining USAID's status as a premier development agency," Shah wrote in an email to all USAID employees Monday.

For now, Lawrence (Larry) Garber will head up the effort as the acting assistant to the administrator for the brand new Bureau of Policy Planning and Learning. Garber will be one of two deputy assistant administrators in the bureau, Shah said. He has had a long career in development, including as CEO of the New Israel Fund from 2004 to 2009.

The new policy bureau will essentially consolidate policy-planning functions that were previously spread out in various parts of USAID, but good spots are still open ... so USAID employees, there's still time to get your applications in.

Some top jobs, however, are already taken. They include:

Leticia (Tish) Butler as acting director, Office of Policy

Alex Dehgan as director, Office of Science and Technology

Jason Foley as director, Office of Strategic and Program Planning

Karen Turner as acting director, Office of Donor Engagement

Julie Kunen as senior advisor

Shah also said USAID will also establish an Office of Budget and Resource Management soon, although it's not clear whether that office will actually control USAID's budget.

TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images

The Cable

Stalin statue in Virginia a huge bust

Eastern Europeans in embassies and communities around the capital region are upset today that Virginia's new D-Day memorial monument, unveiled in a ceremony this past week, contains a statue of the head of notorious Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.

Residents of Bedford, VA, were equally appalled when they found out about the statue, but now the fallout has now reached official Washington. The Cable has heard from multiple embassy officials today that they are getting calls from their local communities complaining about the statue. It's especially disconcerting to European diplomats, whose countries have spent decades scrubbing all traces of communist paraphernalia from their parks and public areas.

"I'm shocked as a European citizen and as a European diplomat," one embassy official said. "It's shocking because this person was responsible for the deaths of millions of people."

For what it's worth, the plaque underneath Stalin's likeness is hardly a tribute to the late communist ruler.

"In memory of the tens of millions who died under Stalin's rule and in tribute to all whose valor, fidelity, and sacrifice denied him and his successors victory in the cold war," it reads.