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Maxwell School

Michael Scherger

’97 MPA
Director, Policy and Planning Division
Bureau of Diplomatic Security
U.S. Department of State

Michael Scherger ’07 MPA is director of policy and planning for the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security, providing secure environments for the conduct of American foreign policy. Scherger has been working for the State Department since August 2013.

A typical day for Scherger is comprised of leadership responsibilities; working with his first-level supervisors to ensure projects are on track, checking in with the analysts and specialists to see how things are working, and providing the encouragement, support, and vision to stay on target. A typical day for him also includes myriad policies, reports, congressional requests, and documents to review and clear. Scherger spends a good amount of time thinking about the long term strategy of where his department is going as a division and what they need to do to get there. One of Scherger’s many accomplishments was the leadership role he was able to play in the completion of the Accountability Review Board recommendations for Benghazi for Secretary Kerry.

Prior to his work at the State Department, Scherger spent a number of years at both the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the United States Peace Corps. At DHS, Scherger developed and implemented the first comprehensive performance program aligned to the strategic plan for DHS's intelligence program. Modeled after a CitiStat style program, the performance program for DHS delivered quarterly metrics on progress for the agency. At the Peace Corps, Scherger worked to lead the start-up program in Albania in 2003, and grow the program in Ukraine by 100% in 2001/2002.

One of the many things Scherger is grateful for are the relationships he was able to form with professors through his time at Maxwell. Scherger learned so much from Professor Bertini, and he continues to stay in touch with him till this day. The class he enjoyed the most was Bruce Dayton's class on crisis management. Scherger still refers to his class notes and articles from that class. Out of the many relationships he formed with professors, Scherger formed the closest bond with Professor Robert Rubinstein, after taking his class on peacekeeping. Scherger not only admires Robert for his academic areas of interest, but also for the things he took part in outside of his teaching and research. He found his approach to public policy and management from an anthropology lens, to be important and enlightening. A highlight from Scherger’s time with Maxwell was being the recipient of the Maxwell Prize for the 2007 MPA class.

Scherger is thankful for everyone who helped him during his time at Maxwell, especially Christine Omolino. Omolino was in touch with Scherger often about aid, and how things worked, and really ensured that he had a soft landing when he arrived on campus. Part of his decision to come to Maxwell was due to her hard work and personal contact. Maxwell was one of the best decisions Scherger made and he is grateful for all it has done for him.