WASHINGTON – Randall Tobias, the global AIDS coordinator for the U.S. government, was named Thursday to coordinate the Bush administration's $18 billion foreign aid programs.
The appointment was part of a reshuffling that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said was designed to reduce duplication and "spend our resources better."
Tobias, who will have a rank equivalent to deputy secretary of state, will oversee programs both in the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Stressing U.S. foreign aid has humanitarian objectives, Rice said, "America is a compassionate society. We are always going to carry out our humanitarian objectives."
But, at the same time, she said, "We do not want to create permanent dependence. We want countries to develop resources" to take care of their people.
"We can do only one thing: lay a foundation for the kind of world we want to see," Rice told thousands of U.S. AID employees in a standing-room-only turnout in the Andrew Mellon Auditorium, where the NATO treaty was signed in 1949.
"We can do better, we must do better," Rice said earlier at the State Department in announcing Tobias' appointment, which is subject to Senate approval, and the melding of foreign aid oversight.
"American taxpayers must know we are using their hard-earned dollars efficiently," Rice said.
In what appeared to be criticism of the way foreign aid programs were run in the past, Rice said, "Let me be clear. The current structure of America's foreign assistance risks incoherent policies and ineffective programs and perhaps even wasted resources."
The reshuffling will place the Agency for International Development and State Department assistance programs under Tobias' direction. He will report to Rice.
Tobias, a former corporate executive, said he would attempt to refocus the way U.S. assistance is provided to scores of countries.
As the global AIDS coordinator, Tobias and the administration's $15 billion AIDS-fighting plan for the developing world came under criticism as not supporting the purchase of inexpensive generic drugs and for stressing abstinence and not birth control devices to prevent the devastating disease.
Tobias is a former director and chairman of Eli Lilly and Co., an Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical company.
He will have the new title Director of Foreign Assistance and simultaneously serve as administrator of the Agency for International Development.