Rightsizing is the U.S. government's effort to ensure that the mix of U.S. agencies and their personnel overseas is appropriately aligned with U.S. foreign policy priorities, security concerns, and overall resource constraints. Rightsizing may result in adding or reducing staff, or in a change of the types of staff assigned to a given embassy or consulate. The goal is for the United States to have the minimum number of personnel overseas with the right skills to carry out U.S. foreign policy goals.
CDC, therefore, places employees overseas only when overseas assignment is required by the mission and after consideration of the security risks involved. When Temporary Duty (TDY) is sufficient to carry out program mandates, TDY is preferred, both for safety and budgetary reasons, over stationing employees and their families abroad.
As part of the Department of Health and Human Services, CDC is the third largest USG employer of Locally Employed Staff (LE Staff) operating abroad under Chiefs of Mission. Although not a "traditional" foreign affairs agency, CDC's presence abroad exists to protect the health of the American public and to promote global health. CDC staff are often embedded in Ministries of Health or located outside Embassy compounds due to the nature of global public health work.
CDC currently has employees stationed in other countries to implement
- the President's Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief,
- the President's Malaria Initiative,
- establishment of Global Disease Detection centers to monitor emerging infectious diseases close to the source of outbreak (SARS, influenza, zoonotic diseases)
- elimination of polio worldwide,
- reduction of measles-related mortality,
- global migration and quarantine efforts.
In light of emerging health threats such as H1N1, avian influenza, and other chronic and emerging diseases, CDC's overseas presence is likely to expand to improve worldwide capability to detect and respond to new strains of disease that pose a threat or a potential threat to U.S. interests and world populations. CDC will be most effective by working closely with partners abroad (Ministries, multilaterals and non-governmental organizations), which are most likely to be first to identify outbreaks and new threats.
Recently, CDC has embarked on a number of initiatives to support overseas rightsizing:
- The establishment of the Center for Global Health (CGH) in January 2010 created a single responsible office for CDC overseas programs and liaison between CDC and the HHS Office of Global Health Affairs, the Department of State, and U.S. embassies abroad.
- To reduce duplicate business services, CDC is reviewing country management structures and reducing management, program, and administrative silos that existed in some locations.
- To obtain generic administrative support functions, rather than set up a separate support apparatus, wherever possible and practical, CDC continues to rely heavily upon ICASS service abroad.
- Through involvement in the Mission Strategic Plan process, CDC will coordinate new requirements to meet public health program goals by directing available resources and providing input to State Department.
- Through annual updates to its strategic staffing plan, CDC strives to reduce the American footprint abroad by empowering Locally Employed Staff (LE Staff) to serve in senior management and leadership positions, including Country Director, ensuring that Americans are assigned to duty stations overseas only when the overseas assignment is mandatory to carry out program functions. CDC is seeking to ensure the sustainability of country programs over the long term, thus the emphasis on developing LE staff to move into senior positions in country.
- To the degree possible, CDC utilizes contracts or grants for services or collaborates with non-US Government partners to carry out programs. CDC makes extensive use of cooperative agreements to fund programs in host countries, thus reducing reliance on overseas assignees.
- Approximately one quarter of CDC's personnel assigned abroad are temporarily assigned to the staff of the World Health Organization or other international organizations. As a result, employee costs are shared, and CDC carries out its public health mission while reducing the number of U.S. Government support services and Locally Employed Staff that would otherwise be required.