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MARCH 2015


USAID Launches Pilot Global Entry Program

By the nature of our agen-

cy’s mission, many USAID

employees are frequent flyers

and many have top-secret

clearances. Institutional-

izing a reliable system with a

trusted traveler program that

improves the efficiency of our

mission therefore makes a lot

of sense.

Last year, AFSA’s annual

survey of USAID members

showed that inequitable

benefits among foreign

affairs agencies was a major

concern. In response, USAID

has investigated two different

versions of expedited airport

clearance: Global Entry and

the Transportation Security

Administration’s TSA Pre-

Check. The latter is already

available to State Depart-

ment employees.

Global Entry is a U.S.

Customs and Border Protec-

tion program that allows

expedited clearance for

pre-approved, low-risk travel-

ers on arrival in the United

States. Participants in the

Global Entry program are

automatically eligible for TSA

Pre-Check at no additional


Global Entry costs $100

for a five-year membership;

TSA Pre-Check, $85. This,

and the understanding that

the State Department uses

specific software to partici-

pate in TSA Pre-Check, which

USAID does not currently

use, led to the decision to

draft a three-month pilot of

the Global Entry program as

the preferred first step.

The current challenge to

launching the pilot is that the

General Service Administra-

tion Office of Government-

wide Policy has consulted

with the GSA Office of

General Counsel about the

use of Global Entry or any

other airport security fast

pass programs. The current

determination is that there is

no appropriation for the use

of funds for these member-

ship fees, which is statutorily

prohibited by 5 U.S.C. §5946.

As the arena of security

evolves, AFSA continues to

engage GSA on the legisla-

tion and understands that

GSA is preparing to come out

with a statement to clarify

the immediate way forward.

Hopefully, this will be in favor

of allowing agencies to pay

the associated fees for the

Global Entry program.

If the news is favorable

and the pilot is run, feedback

from the three-month trial

will be analyzed by USAID’s

Travel and Transportation

Division. The findings will

be shared with AFSA and

the Management Bureau to

review the practical benefit

of these programs to USAID

travelers and develop appro-

priate next steps.

All feedback I’ve heard

to date regarding Global

Entry from outside users has

been that it is well worth the

money. Though intended for

frequent international travel-

ers, there is no minimum

number of trips necessary to

qualify for the program.

Participants may enter

the United States by using

automated kiosks at select

airports. There, they scan a

machine-readable passport,

place their fingertips on the

scanner for fingerprint veri-

fication, and make any cus-

toms declaration. The kiosk

issues the traveler a transac-

tion receipt and directs the

traveler to baggage claim

and the exit. Completing the

paper customs declaration

form before arrival will no

longer be required. The TSA

Pre-Check program allows

qualified travelers access to

an expedited TSA security

line, where they don’t have

to remove their shoes, belts,

coats and laptops.

More information on the

Global Entry program can be

found at: AFSA applauds

USAID’s commitment to sup-

porting our Foreign Service





On Jan. 23, AFSA officials and professional staff met

with Antony Blinken, who was recently sworn in as

Deputy Secretary of State. In the hour-long meeting

they discussed the need to achieve full Overseas

Comparability Pay for all members of the Foreign Service

serving overseas as well as other issues. Both AFSA and

Deputy Secretary Blinken expressed a strong desire to

work closely on a full range of issues.

Views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the AFSA USAID VP.


or (202) 712-1631