While the flow of billions of America taxpayer dollars to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has slowed during President Obama’s second term, his administration nonetheless will put $140 million into a project to figure out how to help “increase stability, democracy, and prosperity for the men and women” of that nation.
Private contractors will reap the windfall of an aid-effectiveness assessment known as the Performance Management Support, or PERFORM, initiative, which simultaneously seeks to determine whether Obama has accomplished anything thus far in Pakistan.
The U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, is tasked with conducting the PERFORM endeavor, for which contractors will provide “performance-monitoring support” of existing assistance programs.
The step comports with existing USAID policy stemming from requirements in the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009 that the agency determine if government clients are effectively and efficiently carrying out their contractual obligations.
USAID/Pakistan currently maintains in-house staff to monitor the program effectiveness, particularly in high-threat and security restricted areas such as Karachi, Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
According to the project Statement of Work, for the agency employees to satisfy their contractor-oversight responsibilities, additional contractors are needed to obtain “performance monitoring data.” The aim of the five-year, $140 million PERFORM initiative, therefore, is to obtain that data.
USAID then will use the information to identify existing program problems and to devise project improvements and adaptations. It also will leverage the data “to inform new project designs.”
The agency separately is evaluating the effectiveness of “highly specialized management information system and geospatial information system,” or MIS/GIS, services that a contractor is providing to USAID/Pakistan.
The MIS/GIS initiative will help the agency to track more closely 90 active contracts – valued at more than $1.9 billion – that USAID/Pakistan currently manages.
Management Services International received a six-month, non-competitive contract extension to perform the work, raising the contract ceiling from $11.7 million to $23.7 million.
The administration’s FY 2015 budget request for Pakistan aid is $881.8 million – significantly less than the nearly $2.4 billion sought and congressionally appropriated in FY 2011.
Peace and Security operations comprise $399.2 million of the FY 2015 total, with the remainder slated for Economic Development ($276 million); Health ($80 million); Democracy, Human Rights and Government ($76.6 million); and Education and Social Services ($50 million).
Included in the category of Peace and Security operations is State Department training through its Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program, or ATA. As U.S. Trade & Aid Monitor's Steve Peacock recently discovered, the State Department purchased hundreds of pounds of plastic explosives and thousands of containers of liquid explosives, which it claimed it would use in the training of ATA partner nations such as Pakistan.
It is unclear, however, which assistance category applies to the administration’s production of a Pakistani-themed video depicting national icon Uncle Sam as a bloodthirsty cannibal.
Similarly, an Obama plan to change Pakistan’s culturally embedded mistreatment of women and girls might fall under several budget categories.
Other recently launched USAID/Pakistan endeavors include the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governance Project, a four-year $24 million program that seeks to improve the ability of that provincial government to provide public services to its citizens.
The Commercial Agriculture Project, which likewise is a four-year $24 million program, will help “improve the ability of Pakistan’s agriculture and livestock sectors to meet both international and domestic demand.”
USAID/Pakistan also recently revealed that it will spend about $17 million to perform an “environmental and social impact assessment” of the proposed Diamer Bhasha Dam Project.
The official justification for U.S. assistance to Pakistan focuses on the pursuit of “robust continued security and civilian assistance that contributes to a more secure, stable, tolerant, democratic, and prosperous Pakistan.”
The broader aim is to “make the region safer and also contribute to U.S. security.”
This article originally was published June 8 via WND.com. Under agreement with WND, rights have reverted back to its author, Steve Peacock.