Frances Z. Brown is a senior fellow with Carnegie’s Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program, who arrived at Carnegie after fifteen years as a USAID official, White House staffer, and non-governmental organization practitioner. She writes on conflict, governance, and U.S. foreign policy.
In her last role before leaving government in summer 2017, Frances served for eighteen months as director for democracy on the White House National Security Council (NSC) staff, where she helped manage policy processes on key political transitions, post-conflict stabilization efforts, and democracy support. Serving under both the Obama and Trump administrations, she also convened a fragile states interagency committee, aimed at elevating strategic foresight on conflict into policy deliberations.
Prior to the NSC, Brown worked for five years at the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of Transition Initiatives, managing stabilization and political transition programs in Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Africa from the field and Washington. Previous research roles include a year as a Council on Foreign Relations international affairs fellow; fellowships with Columbia University’s Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies and the U.S. Institute of Peace; and her current doctoral work at Oxford, which examines donors’ bottom-up state-building and stabilization programs in conflict-affected states. Other experience outside of government includes two years in Beirut, Lebanon; a year at the Kabul-based Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit; consulting for the Quadrennial Defense Review; shorter project-management roles in Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, and Pakistan; and political risk forecasting.
She has published field research projects on Afghanistan stabilization and subnational governance with the U.S. Institute of Peace, on Syria stabilization with Carnegie, and shorter analyses in the American Interest, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the International Herald Tribune, Axios, and elsewhere. On television, Brown has commented on U.S. foreign policy for BBC World News, ABC News (Australia), al-Jazeera, and elsewhere. She is a security fellow with the Truman National Security Project and a prior term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.