Director of the Office of Foreign Missions: Who Is Gentry Smith?
On May 1, 2014, President Barack Obama nominated Gentry O. Smith, a career Foreign Service officer, to be director of the Office of Foreign Missions with ambassadorial rank during his tenure. Smith appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on June 11.
Smith, 54, is from Weldon, North Carolina, and attended North Carolina State University, graduating in 1983 with a B.A. in political science. He served for a time as a police officer in Raleigh, North Carolina, before joining the State Department in 1987.
He started in diplomatic security in the department’s Washington field office. In 1989, Smith got his first overseas posting, as assistant regional security officer in Cairo, Egypt. He came home in 1991 to be part of the Secretary of State’s protective detail.
In 1994, Smith became a criminal investigative liaison officer for the State Department, serving in that role for two years. He went overseas again in 1996 to serve as regional security officer in Rangoon (Yangon), Burma.
Smith returned to the United States in 1999 for training at the Foreign Service Institute. In 2000, he went back to Cairo as deputy regional security officer. He was named regional security officer in Tokyo four years later.
After his stint in Tokyo, Smith was named director of the Office of Physical Security Programs. His next post was as deputy assistant secretary and assistant director for countermeasures in October 2009 and he held that job until his nomination to lead the Office of Foreign Missions.
As director of the Office of Foreign Missions, Smith will be responsible for ensuring fair treatment for U.S. missions in other countries and assisting those attached to foreign missions in this country.
Smith and his wife Georgette, also a North Carolina State graduate, have three children.
To Learn More:
Nomination Testimony (pdf)
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