Monday, July 23, 2012

Former Rep. Jim Marshall (D-GA) to Head USIP

Former Rep. Jim Marshall (D-GA) will head the US Institute of Peace (USIP).  Marshall's 3-year renewable term role begins September 14, 2012.  He will take over as head from Jim Solomon, who was USIP's president for 19 years.

During his House tenture, Marshall was a member of the so-called Blue Dog Coalition, a group of conservative Congressional Democrats.  He served on the Agriculture Committee, Armed Services Committee, and Financial Services Committee.

Here is USIP's official press release.  Here is Marshall full biography.  Here is a statement from Jim Solomon on the appointment.

USIP was created by Congress in 1984 as a non-partisan, federal institution that works to prevent or end violent conflict around the world.

The choice of Marshall may be a smart move by the Board of Directors which was probably thinking that it would be good to have a moderate former Member of Congress to defend its budget.

On February 17, 2011 the House accepted an amendment to a funding bill to eliminate all funding for the USIP as part of a broader effort to cut federal spending.  The vote was 268-163.  At that time, Rep. Chip Cravaack (D-MN), one of the co-sponsors of the amendment, said that if signed into law, the amendment would save taxpayers $42 million in 2011.

Here is how Al Kamen of the Washington Post described USIP's new office building in 2011:
Perhaps if its 325 staff members all toiled overseas or hunkered down in some creaky offices downtown, it wouldn't have become so exposed. But, as the two lawmakers noted, there's that curiously shaped 150,000-square-foot, $183 million new office building in a prime location near the Lincoln Memorial that it is soon moving into.
Here is how Wikipedia describes USIP's budget/funding:
USIP’s annual operating budget for fiscal 2011 is about $39.5 million. The Institute's request for 2012 is $42 million. USIP is not allowed to receive private funding for its operations. However, about $88 million was raised in private funds for the construction of its new headquarters building on the National Mall. 
As Think Tank Watch noted in a previous post (and as The Cable has mentioned), USIP is quietly working on a a transition plan for Syria.

You can view this document to learn about how salaries are paid at USIP.

Update: Former USIP Presidnet Jim Solomon has joined the RAND Corporation as a Senior Fellow.