President Barack Obama said today he plans to nominate Gayle E. Smith, a key National Security Advisor, as administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The move earned plaudits from U2 frontman and ONE co-founder Bono, who said his organization calls her “Gayle-force wind.
“No one pushes us harder to do what's right,” he said. “Normally, it’s us annoying government officials and placarding them to do more, but with Gayle, it’s often her challenging us to aim higher or try a new tact when obstacles inevitably arise.”
Obama said he has worked with Smith for nearly a decade, and for the past six years she has served as a senior leader on international development, humanitarian crisis response, and democracy issues on his National Security Council staff.
“Gayle’s energy and passion have been instrumental in guiding America’s international development policy,” Obama said.
Smith since 2009 has served as special assistant to Obama for Development and Democracy on the NSC. Prior to joining the administration, Smith was a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, where she led the Sustainable Security Project and co-founded the ENOUGH Project and the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network.
She also served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council from 1998 to 2001 and as Advisor to the Chief of Staff and Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development from 1994 to 1998.