USADA is the independent anti-doping agency for Olympic related sport in the United States. It was created as the result of recommendations made by the United States Olympic Committee's Select Task Force on Externalization to uphold the Olympic ideal of fair play, and to represent the interests of Olympic, Pan American Games, and Paralympic athletes.

The USOC was aware that its program lacked credibility internationally for a number of reasons, and the task force was charged with recommending both the governing structure (as represented by the Board of Directors) and responsibilities, which should be assumed by the new agency.

USADA began operations Oct. 1, 2000. Its board consisted of nine members, five of whom came from outside the Olympic family and four of whom (two each) were elected by the Athlete Advisory Council (AAC) and National Governing Body (NGB) Council.

USADA was given full authority to execute a comprehensive national anti-doping program encompassing testing, adjudication, education, and research, and to develop programs, policies, and procedures in each of those areas.

In 2003 the Board further extended its independence by choosing to consider recommendations from the AAC and NGBs, but ultimately electing its own members. USADA is still an evolving organization, and its history is still being written.