Former defense chief Gates joins foreign-aid advocacy group

The news comes as foreign aid is once again on the chopping block in Congress as lawmakers seek to rein in the deficit. The council, made up of every living secretary of State — Colin Powell is honorary chairman — and Cabinet members and former lawmakers, counters that foreign aid is a cost-effective way to spread U.S. influence.

Former Gov. Bill Richardson (D-N.M.) is also joining the council.