USAID Mission Director Joel Sandefur

Joel Sandefur

Joel Sandefur is a member of the Senior Foreign Service. Most recently, he was USAID’s Foreign Service Deputy General Counsel in the Office of the General Counsel. Mr. Sandefur previously served three tours in Afghanistan, from 2019–2021, first as Senior Resident Legal Officer (RLO) and then as Deputy Mission Director. He was also the Senior RLO in 2012–2013. His other USAID postings include Ukraine, Georgia, South Africa, Iraq, and Ghana.

Prior to joining USAID, Mr. Sandefur worked for the law firm Jones Day in Los Angeles California. Before law school, he worked for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Haiti, helping to implement a USAID-funded food distribution program.

Mr. Sandefur received a JD from the University of Virginia School of Law and a BA from La Sierra University in Riverside, California. Mr. Sandefur is a native of Takoma Park, Maryland.


Deputy Mission Director Heather Bomans

Heather Bomans

Heather Bomans joined the U.S. Agency for International Development in 2010. Prior to her assignment to USAID/Afghanistan, she served as the Director of the Office of Management Services, she attended the Air War College, and she served as the Controller and Acting Supervisory Executive Officer in Bamako, Mali, the Controller in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and as a Country Development Officer in the Bureau for Africa’s Office of East African Affairs in Washington, DC. In February 2020, she was appointed as Senior Operations Management Coordinator for USAID’s Critical Coordination Structure (M/CCS), a matrixed organization within the Bureau for Management focused on improving the Agency’s operational readiness and providing the Agency with a ready-made structure to operationally respond to crises as they occur.

Before joining the Foreign Service, Heather had an extensive career in corporate accounting, taxation, and consulting. She worked for Arthur Andersen LLP, Callaway Golf, and Heather Michelle Khan CPA PLLC.

She has a Masters in Strategic Studies from the Air War College, an M.B.A. from the University of Arizona, and a B.S.B.A. in Accounting from the University of Arizona. She held Certified Public Accountant licenses in Arizona and California.

Deputy Mission Director Michael Ashkouri, Esq.

Michael Ashkouri

Michael Ashkouri is a Deputy Mission Director for USAID/Afghanistan based in Doha, Qatar. His portfolio includes donor coordination, the Office of Democracy, Gender, and Rights, Office of Social Services, and Office of Program and Project Development.

Mr. Ashkouri is a Commissioned Foreign Service Officer and most recently served as M/OAA Deputy Director for Washington Operations managing seven divisions, 14 branches and 155 A&A professionals. He served as the OAA Director in multiple missions including USAID/Jordan, USAID/Pakistan, USAID/Southern Africa Regional Platform, and as Deputy Director/OAA in USAID/Afghanistan.

He began his USAID career as a Civil Service Contracting Officer and Supervisory Contracting Officer in USAID/Washington supporting the PEPFAR and DDI (formerly E3 and EGAT) portfolios.

Prior to joining USAID in 2006, Mr. Ashkouri was Iraq Country Director for a U.S. NGO implementing democracy and governance, as well as women empowerment programs. He is a licensed Attorney in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts where he practiced contract, immigration, criminal, and consumer rights law. Mr. Ashkouri began his career as a marine biologist at Boston’s New England Aquarium, specializing in northern Atlantic marine fauna and jelly fish aquaculture.

Mr. Ashkouri holds a Juris Doctorate degree from the New England School of Law and a Bachelor of Science in Geography and Biology from the University of Massachusetts/Boston.