Ambassador David Smith joined the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies as a Senior Fellow in 2005. In 2012, he became Director of the Potomac Institute Cyber Center. Amb. Smith has had a distinguished career in defense and foreign affairs, is an expert on international security issues, and in recent years has focused on the emerging field of cybersecurity. His other areas of expertise include U.S. strategic missile defense, arms control, European security policy, and security relationships with China, Russia, and Korea. He also has in-depth expertise and experience in building stability and security in the South Caucasus region. Ambassador Smith is currently involved in a major project to assist the Republic of Georgia in reforming its national security institutions, and serves as Director of the Georgian Security Analysis Center in Tbilisi.
President George H. W. Bush nominated Ambassador Smith to lead U.S.– Soviet Defense and Space Talks on September 21, 1989. He was confirmed by the Senate and sworn in by Senator Bob Dole. He subsequently led the U.S. team that worked to negotiate an agreement to allow deployment of defenses against the growing threat of ballistic missiles until the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991. From 2002 to 2005, Ambassador Smith was Chief Operating Officer of the National Institute for Public Policy, Fairfax, Virginia. From 1993 to 2002, he was President of Global Horizons, Inc. consulting on defense, international security issues and overseas business development. He previously served as Chief of Staff for Arizona Congressman Jon Kyl, Assistant for Strategic Policy and Arms Control to Senate Republican Leader Bob Dole, as professional staff for the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and on the staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Ambassador Smith was awarded the University of Arizona’s Distinguished Citizen Award in 1992, its Centennial Achievement Award in 1998 and its Extraordinary Leader Award in 2002. His articles and speeches have appeared in the Bulletin of Arms Control, the Congressional Record, Defense News, Jane’s Defense Weekly, Jane’s Intelligence Review, the Journal of Space Law, the Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, National Review Online, Mondo Economico, Sea Power, and Arizona Alumnus.
He speaks fluent Italian, French, elementary Russian and is studying the Georgian language. Ambassador Smith holds a B.A. in government with high distinction from the University of Arizona, a M.S. with distinction from the London School of Economics and an M.A. in Government from Harvard University. He earned his Airborne Wings at Fort Benning, Georgia and is retired with the rank of Major from the Air Force Reserve.