Randall Tobias Nominated To Be New Administrator of USAID
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Thursday is expected to "unveil a restructuring of U.S. foreign assistance," which includes the nomination of Randall Tobias as the new administrator of USAID, the Washington Post reports. Tobias, former chief executive of Eli Lilly and current head of the State Department's Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, now will have a rank equal to that of deputy secretary of state and will have a planning staff at the State Department, according to the Post (Kessler/Graham, Washington Post, 1/19). Since its inception in 1961, USAID has been independent, but Rice "has made little secret of her frustration over what she has said is a lack of accountability," the New York Times reports (Weisman, New York Times, 1/19). Although the nomination does not merge USAID and the State Department, the move is meant to bring USAID closer to the department, officials said. In addition, Tobias will be given more authority over a variety of foreign assistance accounts that currently are managed individually. Some critics oppose the change in responsibilities, saying that the move could cause greater "politicization" of foreign aid, the Post reports. However, State officials say that the change is important to foster more effective, cohesive and focused spending overseas, according to the Washington Post (Washington Post, 1/19). Andrew Natsios stepped down last week as administrator of USAID. One of his complaints was not having control over "$5 billion parceled out to programs to fight AIDS, anti-drug projects, promotion of democracy and military training," according to the Times (New York Times, 1/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.