Implications of the Planned Ending of Some US Assistance Provided Under the Compacts of Free Association


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When: May 24 2022 - 4:00pm until May 24 2022 - 5:30pm
Where: Zoom

The East-West Center in Washington, Pacific Islands Development Program, and Government Accountability Office invite you to an
Indo-Pacific Political Economy and Trade Series Webinar:

Implications of the Planned Ending of Some US Assistance Provided Under the Compacts of Free Association


Ms. Latesha Love
Director, International Affairs and Trade (IAT) Team,
Government Accountability Office

Mr. Jeff Isaacs
Technical Specialist, International Affairs and Trade Team,
Government Accountability Office

Ms. Andrea Riba Miller
Senior Analyst, International Affairs and Trade Team,
Government Accountability Office

Dr. Marc Rockmore
Senior Economist, International Affairs and Trade Team,
Government Accountability Office

H.E. Gerald M. Zackios
Ambassador of the Republic of Marshall Islands to the United States of America,
Embassy of the Republic of the Marshall Islands in Washington, DC

Mr. Jackson T. Soram
Deputy Chief of Mission,
Embassy of the Federated States of Micronesia

Dr. Mary Therese Perez Hattori (Moderator)
Interim Director, Pacific Islands Development Program,
East-West Center

US assistance provided through compacts of free association with the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and Palau provides as much as one-third of the countries' annual budgets. This includes compact grants—for critical services like health care and education—that will end in 2023 or 2024. To offset the ending of this assistance, the United States also contributes to trust funds for each country meant to partly replace the assistance.  A recent US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report reviewed the projected fiscal effects of the ending of compact grants and services. The GAO report projected that Micronesia's and the Marshall Islands' trust funds will supply less funding than the grants that are ending and may provide none in some years—leading to shortfalls in the governments’ abilities to financially support the two nations. The GAO also found, among other things, that the State Department hasn't set timeframes for establishing a key economic advisory group to help Palau use US funds accountably. GAO staff discussed these, and other important issues identified in the report at this event.


Latesha Love is a Director in GAO’s International Affairs and Trade (IAT) team. She has over nineteen years of experience leading performance and forensic audits in a wideLatesha Love range of federal program and policy areas. In IAT, she leads a cross-cutting portfolio of evaluations examining international policy issues such as efforts to combat international trafficking in persons and arms, international cybersecurity issues, terrorism and corruption in security assistance, development and humanitarian assistance to reconstruction and peace-keeping efforts, and trade barriers, among others. Prior to IAT, Ms. Love spent several years in GAO’s Strategic Issues and Forensic Audits and Investigative Services teams leading performance and forensic audits in areas such as consumer financial protection, Medicare, contracting, immigration, taxes and the economy, regulatory policies, human capital management, intergovernmental response and recovery from catastrophic events, and governmentwide efforts to improve the efficiency and fraud risk management of agencies. She has served as a speaker at various national and international conferences on using data analytics and other leading practices to evaluate programs and manage federal fraud risks. Ms. Love’s work has led to identifying millions of dollars in savings to federal programs as well as a range of changes to federal programs, policies, and legislation that have improved their performance, operations, and risk management. Her commitment to GAO has also included leading or contributing to internal initiatives to enhance the performance, accountability, culture, processes, and staff development within GAO.  Prior to joining GAO, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Virginia State University and a master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy, where she was also a Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow.

Jeff Isaacs is a technical specialist in GAO’s International Affairs and Trade Team. His current focus is on the U.S. Agency for InternationalJeff Isaacs
Development, Department of State, and Department of Interior. Mr. Isaacs supports oversight of these departments through performance audits and recommendations to improve financial accountability and strengthening internal controls. Mr. Isaacs joined GAO in March 1997 after 15 years in public accounting, most of it with major firms auditing and advising U.S Government agencies. He is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Government Financial Manager. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Virginia Tech.

Andrea Riba Miller is a Senior Analyst in GAO’s International Affairs and Trade team and leads performance audits of federal programs in theAndrea Riba Miller areas of trade, foreign policy, and national security. Her work focuses on the intersection of international affairs and domestic policy, on topics such as customs trade enforcement and forced labor; economic assistance to compacts of free association; UN oversight; embassy rightsizing; conflict minerals; and counterterrorism issues such as soft targets, among others. Andrea has a bachelor’s degree from Agnes Scott College (International Relations and German) and a master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh (MPIA). 

Dr. Marc Rockmore is a senior economist in GAO’s International Affairs and Trade where he has worked on a variety of issues including economic assistance to compact nations, the financial sustainability of Consular Affairs, and ‘conflict minerals’ in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Prior to joining the GAO, he worked at Bowdoin College and Clark University. His academic research has appeared in leading peer-reviewed journals including Journal of Development Economics, Journal of Development Studies, World Bank Economic Review, and World Development. He holds a PhD in Applied Economics and Management from Cornell University, a Master’s degree in International and Development Economics from Yale University and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Swarthmore College.

Ambassador Gerald M. Zackios is honored to serve as the Ambassador of the Marshall Islands to the United States. He presented his credentials tAmbassador Gerald M. Zackioso President Barack H. Obama on September 16, 2016. Prior to this appointment, he started his civil service in the Marshall Islands in 1985 when he was hired as the Fiscal Officer for the Department of Aging, in what was then the Ministry of Social Services (now the Ministry of Internal Affairs). He worked there for two years before returning to school.  He completed his Bachelor in Law degree in 1989 at the University of Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby. Mr. Zackios returned after completion of his university studies to the RMI and was engaged as an Assistant Attorney General from 1990-1992. During this period, he also attended the IMO International Maritime Law Institute in Malta where he received a Masters of Law Degree in International Maritime Law in June 1992. Mr. Zackios was promoted to Deputy Attorney General following this accomplishment from 1992-1995, including serving as Acting Attorney General until his appointment as Permanent Attorney General in 1996. Mr. Zackios served as Attorney General from 1996 until he won a seat in the Nitijela (Parliament) in November 1999 representing the people of Arno.  He was appointed to serve in President Note’s Cabinet, first as Minister in Assistance to the President (2000-2001) then as Minister of Foreign Affairs (2001-2007). Mr. Zackios served in the Nitijela until 2012 with his last  appointment as Vice Speaker of the Nitijela from September 2011 to January 2012.  During his tenure in the Nitijela, Mr. Zackios chaired and served on various Committees.  He was also the Chief Negotiator for the Compact of Free Association between the RMI and the United States during its renegotiations in 2001-2004.  He also served as Vice Chairman of the Joint Economic Management and Financial Accountability Committee (JEMFAC), and Vice Chairman of the Trust Fund Committee in 2003-2008. Following an unsuccessful reelection bid to the Nitijela in November 2011, Mr. Zackios started his own law firm.  He practiced law from January 2012 until July 2013 when he assumed his post as the Regional Director for the Pacific Community (SPC) North Pacific Regional Office in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia.  He held that post until his appointment as the RMI’s Ambassador to the United States of America.

Jackson Soram is a career diplomat, having served for up to twenty (20) years as a Foreign Service Officer at the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) Department of ForeignMr. Jackson T. Soram Affairs. Throughout his career as a diplomat, Mr. Soram has served in numerous posts.  This includes serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information & Research, Deputy Assistant Secretary for European Affairs, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multilateral Affairs.  In 2013, he was assigned overseas to serve as Deputy Chief of Mission at the FSM Embassy in Beijing, China.  In 2016, he was relocated back to the Capital at the FSM Department of Foreign Affairs to serve as Assistant Secretary for the Division of Asia, Pacific, Africa, & Multilateral Affairs (APAMA).  In 2017, he was appointed to serve as Deputy Chief of Mission at the FSM Embassy in Washington D.C., a position he currently holds today. Throughout his career, Mr. Soram also served on numerous government institutions including as a member of the Sustainable Development (SD) Council, the National Authorizing Committee (NAC) for the EU-ACP Cotonou Agreement, the FSM Country Team for Climate Change, and as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Oceanic Resource Management Authority (NORMA). Mr. Soram is from the State of Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia.

Dr. Mary Therese Perez Hattori is Interim Director of the Pacific Islands Development Program. Prior to this, she was a Scholarship Program Specialist in the East-West Center’sDr. Mary Therese Perez Hattori Education Program, Director of the Center for Teaching & Learning and Associate Professor of Education at Chaminade University; Outreach Director of the Center for Pacific Islands Studies at UHM; and Associate Professor of Information Technology and Director of the Center for Excellence in Learning, Teaching and Technology at Kapiʻolani Community College. A native Chamoru of Guåhan (Guam), she is a community organizer and advocate for Pacific islanders in Hawaiʻi, co-organizer of cultural events such as the Annual Cultural Animation Film Festival, the Annual Celebrate Micronesia Festival, Micronesian Women’s Summit, and Oceania on the Reel, and teacher/mentor of students in Pacific Studies, Learning Design & Technology, and the UHM & San Francisco State University Educational Doctorate programs which are part of the Carnegie Project on the Educational Doctorate. She is Affiliate Graduate Faculty of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and the USC Rossier School of Education. Dr. Hattori is also an author, poet, public speaker, and philanthropist.

Primary Contact Info:
Name: Sarah Wang
Phone: 202-327-9755