Laura Taylor-Kale



Dr. Laura D. Taylor-Kale was confirmed in March 2023 as the first Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Policy (ASD(IBP)).  She advises the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment and other senior defense leaders on all matters pertaining to industrial base resilience and innovation; small business programs; and industrial base development, industrial policy, and international engagement.  She also leads teams dedicated to conducting geo-economic analysis and assessments; providing recommendations on budget matters related to the defense industrial base; anticipating and closing gaps in manufacturing capabilities for defense systems; assessing impacts related to mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures; and, monitoring and assessing impact of foreign investments in the United States.

Dr. Taylor-Kale is a policy executive, strategist, and organizational behavior scholar with over two decades of experience at the intersection of economic diplomacy, international development finance, technological innovation, and national security.  She most recently served as the Fellow for Innovation and Economic Competitiveness at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and contributed to CFR’s Renewing America Initiative.  Her CFR research focused on strategic innovation, industrial policy, and the changing nature of work.  From 2017-2018, she was an International Affairs Fellow at CFR and the deputy director of CFR’s independent task force on the future of the U.S. workforce, co-authoring of the task force’s published report “The Work Ahead: Machines, Skills, and U.S. Leadership in the Twenty-First Century.”


Prior to joining CFR, Dr. Taylor-Kale served in the Obama Administration from 2014-2017.  As the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Manufacturing in the International Trade Administration, Dr. Taylor-Kale led multiple teams of international trade specialists and oversaw policies and programs to promote exports of U.S. manufactured goods and economic competitiveness in health and information technology; energy and environmental technologies; and transportation and machinery sectors.  Prior to the Department of Commerce, Dr. Taylor-Kale was the senior advisor for policy and operations at the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation where she coordinated policies for OPIC’s $5 billion portfolio of investments in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.  Dr. Taylor-Kale joined the Obama Administration from the World Bank where she was special assistant to the Vice President for sustainable development and climate change.


From 2003-2012, Dr. Taylor-Kale was a career Foreign Service Officer in the U.S. Department of State and served in diplomatic postings in India as a consular officer and special assistant to the ambassador, Côte d’Ivoire as a political affairs officer, Afghanistan as an economic affairs officer, and in Washington, DC in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs as a financial economist. She received multiple awards for her economic analysis and from 2010-2011, was the first Foreign Service Officer to serve as an advisor to the U.S. Executive Director on the boards of the World Bank Group.  


Dr. Taylor-Kale holds a B.A. in economics and anthropology from Smith College, an M.P.A. in development economic and demographic studies from Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs, an M.B.A. in finance and management from the New York University’s Stern School of Business, and a Ph.D. in management science and engineering with a specialization in Organizations, Technology, and Entrepreneurship from Stanford University’s School of Engineering.  Her scholarly research examines grand challenges, ecosystem design, and how organizations leverage technology to build cross-sector strategic partnerships.  Dr. Taylor-Kale is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is the recipient of numerous educational and professional awards, including the Zhi-Xing Eisenhower Fellowship, International Career Advancement Program, Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship, and the David Boren Scholarship for Critical Language Study.  She is a member of the Truman National Security Project and an alumna pf the Leadership Council for Women in National Security.