Frances Z. Brown is a fellow with Carnegie’s Democracy and Rule of Law Program, where she researches stabilization, state building, democratization, decentralization, drivers of conflict, and local governance in fragile states.
Brown comes to Carnegie after fifteen years as a practitioner and analyst at the intersection of conflict and governance. Most recently, she served for eighteen months as director for democracy on the White House National Security Council (NSC) staff, where she helped manage interagency policy processes on key political transitions, post-conflict stabilization efforts, democratic institution building, and emergent global accountability norms. Serving under the Obama and Trump administrations, she also convened a fragile states interagency committee, aimed at elevating strategic foresight and functional analysis 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 sub-Saharan 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 a year at the Kabul-based Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit; two years in Beirut, Lebanon; 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, and her shorter analyses have been published in the American Interest, Foreign Policy, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Christian Science Monitor, and elsewhere. She is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a security fellow with the Truman National Security Project.