The Office of Crisis Surge Support Staff

The Office of Crisis Surge Support Staff (CS3) rapidly deploys highly qualified technical experts providing critical development skill sets in support of USAID operations worldwide. CS3 aims to meet Mission-specific staffing needs by deploying personnel knowledgeable about USAID systems and processes, helping Missions to better adjust to the rapidly changing conditions in which USAID regularly finds itself.

To this end, CS3 recruits, hires, and trains staff with an array of skills and experiences to immediately deploy when needed. CS3 fills Mission requests using a streamlined, online system, and handles travel arrangements and other administrative tasks associated with deployment. Each requesting Mission pays for its deployed staff member's salary, benefits, travel, and support costs, while contributing funds to CS3 to sustain operations and expand the roster of deployable staff. This pay-as-you-go model is a cost-effective, sustainable way to ensure the availability of surge staff support to Missions when needed.

The Firehouse

CS3's cadre of deployable staff is called the "Firehouse". Firehouse staff bring a range of technical expertise, are familiar with USAID processes and funding mechanisms, and are ready to deploy immediately, for two to 10 months.

The Firehouse includes Senior Development Advisors, General Development Officers, Democracy and Governance Officers, Elections Specialists, Program Officers, Strategic Communication Officers, Contracting Officers, and Executive Officers.

History of Our Work

CS3 was formerly known as the Office of Civilian Response (OCR), which oversaw the USAID component of the interagency Civilian Response Corps (CRC). Following the dissolution of the CRC, USAID built upon its OCR experience to create CS3 to meet USAID-specific needs that cannot always be fully addressed using traditional USAID staffing methods.

Since its establishment in 2009, CS3 has deployed to approximately 40 countries and provided more than 23,000 person-days to new USAID Missions and non-presence posts, expand USAID's presence outside of capital cities, support crisis-specific programming, fill voids left by evacuated staff, and augment Mission staff to meet new needs.

For example, deployed staff have supported elections in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Sudan; provided urban planning and infrastructure expertise in Haiti and Mexico; replaced evacuated staff in Yemen; supported conflict-specific programming in the Central African Republic, Jordan, Libya, and Nepal; provided business development and economic expertise in Pakistan; worked on rule of law in Tunisia; and temporarily staffed newly created Foreign Service positions in Burma and Burundi, among many other assignments.

Last updated: May 12, 2014

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