December 1, 2008

National Security Team Reinforces Obama’s Commitment to Elevating Development and Diplomacy

Clinton, Gates, Jones and Rice Share Obama’s “Smart Power” Platform

Washington, DC – The Center for U.S. Global Engagement applauded President-elect Barack Obama’s announcement this morning of Sen. Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, General James Jones and Dr. Susan Rice to key national security positions.

“President-elect Obama’s selections for his top national security advisors reinforce the historic commitment he made during the campaign to a ‘smart power’ agenda – increasing U.S. investments in global development and diplomacy, alongside a strong defense. The team he has selected have all been vocal advocates for strengthening our non-military tools to advance more effectively America’s national interests,” said Center Executive Director Liz Schrayer, noting, “The President-elect’s announcement of these nominations – appropriately made on World AIDS Day – makes clear that his campaign commitment to a new approach to global engagement will become a governing priority with bipartisan support. Our broad, bipartisan coalition looks forward to working with President-elect Obama and his newly announced team in this effort.”

As First Lady, Senator and Presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton repeatedly demonstrated her strong support for a “smart power” approach – increasing U.S. investment in global development and diplomacy as a key complement to a strong defense – making her an excellent choice for Secretary of State.

As Defense Secretary, Robert Gates has built bipartisan support for reinvigorating America’s leadership using all our tools of national power. As Gates said during his speech this summer to the Center’s sister organization, the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign, “To truly harness the full strength of America … requires having civilian institutions of diplomacy and development that are adequately staffed and properly funded.”

General James Jones, Obama’s choice for National Security Advisor, is a member of the Center for U.S. Global Engagement’s National Security Advisory Council, a group of over 50 prominent retired three and four-star generals and admirals representing all five branches of the Armed Forces who united in support of strengthening America’s national security strategy with increased use of non-military tools.

Dr. Susan Rice, who helped develop Obama’s impressive global engagement platform as his campaign’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor, will be a strong voice at the United Nations as a Cabinet-level Ambassador. As Rice said at a Center forum, “Investing in global poverty reduction, and building the capacity of people in states to provide more effectively for their people, and for their societies, and to govern democratically and responsibly … are part of an affirmative agenda that Senator Obama is powerfully committed to pursuing.”

Interested parties can learn more about Obama’s global engagement platform and the national security and foreign policy team he is assembling on the Center’s website, Last month, the Center released the Global Plum Book identifying the 100 key leadership positions that will shape the next Administration’s strategy for global development and diplomacy. Accompanying the Global Plum Book were “first step” recommendations for how the transition team can successfully translate the pledges of Candidate Obama into the policies of President Obama, including specific recommendations on selecting his national security team.

Center Executive Director Liz Schrayer and other Center spokespeople are available for comment and interviews on these appointments and related topics:

  • Changing role and nature of the Secretary of State and national security team
  • The Clinton, Gates and Jones record of support for “smart power”
  • Foreign policy challenges facing the next Administration and the role of non-military tools – such as foreign assistance and diplomacy – in tackling those challenges.
  • Implications of the financial crisis on the International Affairs Budget
  • The prospects for the Bush Administration’s signature foreign assistance programs – such as the Millennium Challenge Corporation and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) – and what changes, if any, may come in the Obama Administration.

Center Spokespeople:

Liz Schrayer serves as the founding Director of the Center for U.S. Global Engagement. She serves as the overall director and strategist for the Center and its sister organization, the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign, which has advocated for a strengthened International Affairs Budget for the past 11 years.

Bill Lane is Co-President of the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign. He serves as Washington Director for Government Affairs for Caterpillar, representing the company on trade policy and other international affairs.

Nancy Lindborg is Co-President of the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign and the President of Mercy Corps, an international relief and development organization that operates in challenging, transitional environments around the globe.

Ritu Sharma is Secretary of the Board of the Center for U.S. Global Engagement. A leading voice on international women’s issues, she is the Co-Founder and President of Women Thrive Worldwide.


The Center for U.S. Global Engagement (, the educational arm of the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign, unites business, civic, military, faith-based, and political leaders around the country to broaden understanding of America’s interests in building a better, safer world.