Congressional Testimony

Tuesday, December 10, 2019


Chairman Costa, Ranking Member Rouzer, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the invitation to speak with you today about international food assistance programs.

My name is Trey Hicks, and I am the Director of the Office of Food for Peace (FFP) within the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA) at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the largest provider of food assistance to the world’s most vulnerable people.

Overview of the Office of Food for Peace

For 65 years, our mission has been to save lives and end hunger by providing food assistance. We do this work because alleviating global hunger represents the best of America's generosity and goodwill. It can also advance U.S. security by helping to stabilize fragile regions, which can make the world a safer place. By helping them recover from crises, our work supports people as they take their first steps on the Journey to Self-Reliance. These efforts complement the work of other parts of USAID, including the Bureau of Food Security (BFS). My remarks today focus on DCHA/FFP’s efforts and mainly on Title II.

Responding to Emergencies

The majority of our work helps the hungriest people affected by conflict and natural disasters, including refugees. During Fiscal Year 2019, about 90 percent of DCHA/FFP’s funding supported emergency responses in 55 countries, which helped tens of millions of people.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

USAID is committed to working with governments, civil society, communities, and the private sector to reduce the impact of conflict; counteract the drivers of violence, instability, and transnational crime; address corruption; advance prosperity; protect human rights; improve human health; and prevent the loss of biodiversity. For all of these reasons, USAID is deeply concerned about illegal and unregulated mining. There is little doubt that illegal and unregulated mining, particularly artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM), undermines U.S. interests around the globe, contributes to armed conflict and instability, provides funding to criminal networks, threatens our shared environment, and menaces indigenous people.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

As USAID Administrator Mark Green always says - the goal of foreign assistance should be to end the need for its existence. We know that our investments are having a transformative impact in sub-Saharan Africa and is indeed moving countries toward self-reliance. The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has provided nearly 15 million men, women and children in sub-Saharan Africa with anti-retroviral medicine, which means they can now live long, healthy lives with HIV. The President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) has averted seven million deaths from malaria in Africa since 2006, primarily among children under the age of five. These dramatic changes are the result of sustained efforts by African governments, civil society, and the private sector with vital support from aid donors, foundations, and international non-governmental organizations. Throughout USAID’s history, we have confronted some of the world’s greatest development challenges, and, along with our partners, we have demonstrated that our work can, and does, have a measurable impact. Even so, every one of our programs should look forward to the day when it can end. As the Administrator says, every USAID Mission must continuously evaluate how each program dollar we invest is actively moving a country closer to that day.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark Green has for many months emphasized the urgency of addressing the events unfolding in the Sahel. The region experienced a massive spike in deadly violence in the first half of 2019, and this violence shows no signs of letting up. Many assume that extremism only is driving this conflict. Yet the dynamics that underpin violence in the Sahel is much more complex: a mix of persistent instability, extreme poverty, deteriorating environmental conditions, weak and often corrupt governments, and lack of economic opportunity. These factors and the conflict they give rise to offer fertile ground for extremists determines to advance their own ideology and power. In response, USAID not only is providing humanitarian aid, but also programming assistance aggressively to focus on building the capacity of governments and local communities in the Sahel. We are also enhancing access to financial services and markets and generating employment opportunities. As USAID Administrator Mark Green always says - the purpose of foreign aid is to end the need for its existence. In the Sahel, USAID’s investments promote resilience and self-reliance, with the eventual aim of diminishing the need for such assistance.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The Middle East and North Africa present one of the most complex and high-stakes development contexts in the world. The region faces interrelated challenges of conflict, instability, unemployment, and a lack of responsive and inclusive systems. We at USAID frequently find ourselves operating stabilization and longer-term development programs in the same countries where our colleagues from our Offices of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance and Food for Peace are providing immediate, life-saving humanitarian assistance.

USAID recognizes that most of the countries in the region are middle-income, with young populations whose energy, education and inspiration can be tapped to help make their communities self-reliant. We believe the region can be an example of what Administrator Mark Green envisions in the Journey to Self-Reliance. With well-planned and targeted investments by USAID and other donors, the large youth demographic in the region can advance democracy and drive inclusive growth in modern, free-market economies.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

USAID’s FY 2020 request for the Latin America and Caribbean region is $547 million for programs that advance U.S. national security and economic prosperity, demonstrate American generosity, and promote a path to recipient self-reliance and resilience in support of the Administration’s foreign-policy objectives, including the National Security Strategy and the Department of State-USAID Joint Strategic Plan. Where other countries’ assistance models further dependence or unsustainable debt, the United States’ model is one of partnership with the governments, civil society, and private sector in countries in which we work. Our development assistance promotes a country’s own Journey to Self-Reliance, consistent with U.S.-supported universal values and interests.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

USAID is proud to play a major role in advancing the Administration’s Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS), and projecting strong American leadership on development priorities that advance U.S. economic and national security interests at the heart of ARIA. Under the IPS, the U.S. framework for the region focuses on three pillars: economics, governance, and security. In support of these core pillars, USAID’s strategy to advance the IPS is structured around three objectives, all strongly endorsed by ARIA: strengthening democratic systems, fostering economic growth, and improving the management of natural resources. To advance these objectives in the Indo-Pacific region, the President’s FY 2020 budget request includes a development assistance budget for USAID of $534 million—a 114 percent increase over or a more than doubling of our FY 2019 request. These objectives also go hand-in-hand with our long-standing efforts to improve the lives and well-being of people across Asia as fundamental to creating the foundations for a free, open, and secure Indo-Pacific region. The President’s FY 2020 budget request includes $230 million for USAID’s development assistance in the Indo-Pacific region that is consistent with our vision for the Journey to Self-Reliance, such as programming in health and basic education.

Friday, October 4, 2019

In our 65-year history, we have helped to end hunger for more than four billion people. This legacy would not have been possible without Congressional support, including from this Subcommittee. DCHA/FFP has continued to evolve and improve, most recently because of the small, but important, technical changes in the 2018 Farm Bill that will prepare us for the forthcoming BHA. We have spent the last decade collaborating with DCHA/OFDA to invest food and non-food responses to the same crisis, and the new Bureau will bring us together fully. It will enable us to deliver life-saving assistance even more efficiently and effectively.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Today I would like to talk about what we have done to respond to the genocide ISIS committed against religious and ethnic minorities in Northern Iraq, and the remaining challenges that face us. As USAID Administrator Mark Green has emphasized during his travels to the region, the Trump Administration is committed to ensuring that assistance reaches those most in need, including members of Iraq's ethnic and religious minority communities. At the outset I want to say that although we can be proud of our accomplishments, the road to recovery for these devastated communities is long and difficult, and will require continued commitment on the part of the United States, the Government of Iraq, and our partners. Helping communities recover from genocide is not like helping them recover from an earthquake, nor is it like any other development problem. It is an effort that requires a tailored approach that addresses the fullness of needs in a deeply traumatized society - not just rebuilt schools and hospitals, but also psycho-social support to survivors, reconciliation efforts between mistrustful neighbors, and the revitalization of a broken economy.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Afghanistan is a different place than it was in 2001, and its people are capable of more if it achieves citizen-responsive good governance and transparency. USAID is also prepared to support emerging needs and opportunities that could arise from a political settlement. The Mission has reviewed its existing portfolio to determine how to modify programs to support a potential political settlement and is exploring flexible mechanisms to respond accordingly.

The trajectory in Afghanistan remains clear. Civilian assistance helps create the economic and social conditions necessary for peace and self-reliance by focusing on long-term, broad-based development and reinforcing efforts to reduce violence and stimulate a peace settlement to end the conflict with the Taliban.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

USAID's development and humanitarian assistance is key to achieving prosperity and stability for our partner countries, as well as for the United States. The President’s Budget Request for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 for USAID’s development assistance in the East Asia-Pacific region is $409 million. This represents an increase of $168 million—or 70 percent—over the Request for FY 2019. In addition, USAID implements HIV/AIDS programming in the East Asia-Pacific region under the President’s Emergency for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) that amounted to approximately $50 million in FY 2018. \. The President’s Budget Request supports USAID’s bilateral development programs in Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Mongolia, The Philippines, the Pacific Islands, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam, and regional programs managed out of our Bangkok-based Regional Development Mission for Asia. Of particular note is our request for the Pacific Islands, which reflects the priority this Administration places on this region as a key part of a free and open Indo-Pacific. The President’s Budget Request for the Pacific Islands of $20.5 million represents a 388 percent increase over the Request for FY 2019, and a 56 percent increase over the enacted level for FY 2018.


Last updated: December 30, 2019

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