Michael Loftus: 2021 PMF
Mike Loftus joined the State Department’s (DOS) Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) as a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF) in May of 2021 and by July, he had arranged his first detail to assist with the evacuation of Afghans from their country as the U.S. prepared for our military, foreign assistance agencies, and finally, the Embassy to depart Afghanistan. Unlike most PMF rotations in their first year, however, Mike did not simply learn government practice and procedures. During the initial unfolding of the events in Afghanistan in August and September of 2021, Mike supported the PRM Front Office in managing staffing requirements and coordinating with DoD counterparts and DOS volunteers to initially stand up the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Safe Haven site in New Jersey, as well as coordinating between interagency contacts and with the country desks to facilitate the evacuation of Afghan pilots into the Operation Allies Refuge/Operation Allies Welcome pipeline.
Mike then joined the PRM Office of Admissions Refugee Processing Center (RPC) during the height of the 2021 Afghan crisis. PRM had recently announced a new referral pathway for Afghans affiliated with the U.S. government under the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP). Between early September and late December, Mike worked with Refugee Processing Center colleagues to establish this pathway and to collect and screen referrals from non-governmental organization and media organization partners to refer Afghan nationals at risk due to the ongoing crisis to the USRAP.
Following a first PMF rotation working on the Department’s historic Afghan Relocation effort, Mike returned to the Office of Policy and Resource Planning (PRP) in PRM, smoothly taking over the Near East portfolio for the Budget Team. In this capacity, Mike coordinated the allocation of nearly $1.5 billion in humanitarian assistance in FY 2022 in support of refugee outflows in the region. Mike also took on the analysis of appropriations legislation and other policy-oriented projects during the year before beginning his second PMF rotation with Embassy Warsaw.
Mike then joined Embassy Warsaw’s Political and Economic sections during an extraordinary period of history for Poland and the region. Helping Poland absorb people who have fled Ukraine is one of Mission Poland’s highest priorities and by all accounts, Mike was key to those efforts. He collected feedback and perspectives on the Ukrainian refugee response with key stakeholders from government and civil society, attending conferences and meetings with UNHCR, UNICEF, NGOs, and fellow donor countries, among others. Helping with key bilateral visits during this time, Mike further supported the visit of the President in February 2023 among numerous other VIPs to advance key foreign policy priorities.
Throughout this time and now, Mike also serves as a "PMF Ambassador", conducting outreach and numerous one-on-one calls with Finalists in the PMF Program and prospective applicants to improve and broaden recruitment efforts for the program.