• Inside Development

Gayle Smith Joins National Security Council

By David Francis17 March 2009

Gayle Smith, co-founder of Enough Project, has joined the Obama administration. She is said to be an advocate for a Cabinet-level position dedicated to foreign assistance.

Smith was one of President-elect Obama's top advisors on national security issues, and most recently served as senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. A CAP spokesman confirmed Smith's appointment to the National Security Council, but did not know what role she will be playing.

"She's there but I don't know the title," the spokesman said.

An unattributed report on AllAfrica.com said Smith had joined the NSC as the senior director for relief, stabilization and development and senior advisor to President Obama. The White House did not return requests for confirmation.

Smith's appointment is not surprising. She led the Obama transition's Foreign Assistance Review Team, which dealt with USAID, the Millennium Challenge Corp. and the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Smith is widely rumored to be an eventual candidate for USAID chief, a post currently held by Alonzo Fulgham in the interim.

Smith brings wide and broad experience to her new role at NSC, which she assumed in February, according to the Project Enough Web site. From 1998 to 2001, Smith served as special assistant to President Clinton and senior director for African affairs at the National Security Council. Between 1994 and 1998, she held the positions of chief of staff and senior advisor to the USAID administrator.

Smith has also worked as an Africa-based journalist for more than 20 years.

About the author

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David Francis

David is a Washington-based journalist and former Devex fellow who now spearheads Devex's "Obama's Foreign Aid Reform" blog. He has written for the Christian Science Monitor, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, SportsIllustrated.com, San Francisco Chronicle, Foreign Policy magazine and the Washington Monthly. David holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and is working to finish his graduate degree at Georgetown University.


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