U.S. Agency for International Development

J. Brian Atwood, Administrator

Mission Statement

The U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID's) principal mission is to advance U.S. interests by:

Summary Budget Information

FY 1993 (Actual) FY 1996 (Budgeted)
Budget Staff Budget Staff
$7.942 billion 3,928$7.443 billion 3,246

Reinvention Highlights

When I became Administrator in 1993, the USAID was a troubled organization. A presidential commission appointed at the behest of Congress to study the agency had reported in 1992 that USAID was "hamstrung by waste, poor communication, and just plain bad management."

Over the years, Congress had piled on too many responsibilities and objectives for an agency with limited personnel and resources. USAID was top-heavy with managers who put more emphasis on how much money went into assistance and how many people were trained than it did on getting actual development results.

USAID employees are among the most motivated and committed people in the federal workforce. Many are former Peace Corps volunteers. In the course of doing their jobs, they have braved earthquakes, floods, epidemics of terrible diseases, coups, and civil wars. They are dedicated to helping people and accustomed to overcoming obstacles and inconveniences as they take practical action to build a more peaceful, just, and prosperous world. Often, however, their efforts had been frustrated by thousands and thousands of pages of regulations, and uncoordinated, antiquated communications and management systems.

The problems went beyond management and red-tape to a more fundamental concern: the world had changed suddenly and dramatically with the collapse of the Soviet Union. USAID needed to clarify its mission and refocus its programs on the new threats and opportunities of the post-Cold War period.

Focusing on Fewer, Obtainable Goals. I eagerly volunteered our whole agency as an experimental laboratory in Vice President Al Gore's reinvention of government program. I promised to focus USAID on fewer, more obtainable goals and to be accountable for measurable results.

Three years into the effort, most of the refocusing and reengineering has been done. The results have been so dramatic that when the chairman of the commission appointed by President Bush -- which had been so critical in 1992 -- came back last year, he declared, "This is the most remarkable transformation of a government agency I have ever seen."

We are proud of that transformation. Among other things, we have accomplished the following:

Serving Customers Better. Reengineering is not just cost cutting. We have also added new activities that enable us to serve our customers better: We are giving better service to our ultimate customers the people in developing nations and the U.S. taxpayers. These reforms and consolidations will allow us to focus our limited financial and human resources where the agency can make a real difference. They are essential steps to carrying out the goals of USAID: To carry out these goals, USAID will support programs in four areas that are fundamental to sustainable development: broad-based economic growth, environment, population and health, and democracy. These efforts reinforce each other.

I am proud of what the agency has accomplished and of the teams of USAID people who have made it possible. We are committed to continue improving what we do and how we do it. By harnessing new technologies and listening to new ideas, we can do an even better job of promoting the long-term interests of the United States abroad; improving the lives of millions of individuals; and building a safer, more peaceful world for all.


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