Rear Adm. David Smith was raised in Urbana, Illinois. In 1977, he received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Illinois and completed his Doctor of Medicine degree from Northwestern University Medical School in 1981. In 1982, Smith completed his rotating medicine internship at Naval Regional Medical Center, Oakland, California. Smith subsequently transferred to Naval Undersea Medical Institute in Groton, Connecticutt, where he completed the Undersea Medical Officer Training Program receiving the Surgeon General’s award for scholastic achievement upon graduation.
As an undersea medical officer, Smith held various positions within the undersea medical community. In 1983, Smith served as Medical Department officer aboard the USS Grayback (SS-574), Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines, where he qualified in submarines. From 1984 to 1985, Smith was assigned as medical training officer, Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center, Panama City Beach, Florida. In 1985, he was assigned as medical research officer, Diving Department, Naval Medical Research Institute, Bethesda, Maryland.
Smith completed his Occupational Medicine training at the University of Cincinnati Medical School (1987-1989), where he completed a Master of Science in Environmental Health and served as chief resident (1988-89). From 1989 to 1992, Smith was assigned as the United States Navy medical exchange officer, Institute of Naval Medicine, Alverstoke, England. After completing his exchange tour, he served as department head, Safety and Health Department at the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, and additionally served as the Occupational Health consultant for the Defense Nuclear Agency, Arlington, Virginia.
In November 1995, Smith reported to the National Naval Medical Center to serve as the deputy director, Occupational and Community Health and was later appointed as director in July 1996. As director, he oversaw the provision of Primary and Occupational Health care administered by 24 medical clinics in a six-state region.
In June 1999, Smith reported to Naval Hospital Rota, Spain, as executive officer and in May 2001, became the commanding officer. As the commanding officer, Naval Hospital Rota received numerous awards and hosted the Expeditionary Medical Facility, supporting casualty flow from Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
In July 2003, Smith accepted the appointment as chief of staff, TRICARE Management Activity, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs). Smith was directly responsible for leading the migration to the new TRICARE contracts, expanding the Reserve Health Benefit, and implementing new Regional governance.
In February 2005, Smith assumed the duties of the assistant deputy chief Health Care Operations at the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED). He became chief of Operations (M3) in June 2005, responsible for guidance and policy for all peacetime and deployed medical operations.
In May 2008, Smith became the joint staff surgeon where he served as the chief medical advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, providing counsel to the Chairman, the joint staff and combatant commanders. In this role, Smith coordinated all issues related to operational medicine, force health protection and readiness among the combatant commands, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Services. During his tenure on the joint staff, he served on the congressionally directed Future of Military Health Care Task Force, spearheaded the development of the DoD directive on treatment of mild traumatic brain injury, developed the charter and worked the standard operating construct for Joint Task Force (JTF) National Capital Region Medical, and developed and oversaw execution of HA/DR policy and doctrine. Additionally, he served as the U.S. delegate to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Council of Medical Directors (COMEDS), and was involved in developing international medical relationships.
In October 2010, Smith deployed as the International Security Assistance Force-Afghanistan (ISAF) medical advisor and chief, Joint Medical. His responsibilities included synchronizing all health-related matters across Afghanistan, providing counsel to the ISAF Commander, overseeing all issues related to the care of injured coalition forces, theater force health protection and readiness, developing Afghan National Security Force medical capabilities, and advancing the Afghan civilian health system development.
Smith is currently the director, Medical Resources, Plans, and Policy Division (N0931) at the Pentagon on the Chief of Naval Operations Staff. In this role, Smith develops and evaluates plans and policy for medical support to current and future Navy and Marine Corps operations.
Smith is a certified physician executive (CPE), fellow of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (FACOEM) and is board certified in Occupational Medicine with a certificate of added qualification in Undersea Medicine. He has a Certificate in Medical Management from the American College of Physician Executives at Tulane University.