Matthew Leatherman

Research Analyst
  • Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense

Matthew Leatherman is an Advisor with the Stimson Center and an expert on national defense strategy, budgeting, and management. His Stimson publications include studies of the military's involvement in public diplomacy and managerial efficiencies in the Pentagon back-office, and he initiated the research that led to Stimson's publication of "Resolving Ambiguity: Costing Nuclear Weapons" with support from the Ploughshares Fund.

Matthew's work has provided critical context during a period of historic change for the Pentagon and it's budget. He served as an independent advisor on national defense savings options for the 2010 Rivlin-Domenici Debt Reduction Task Force and, together with Dr. Gordon Adams, he published the strategy underlying these options in a January/February 2011 Foreign Affairs essay titled "A Leaner and Meaner Defense." In collaboration with the University of Maryland's Program on Public Consultation, Matthew organized the information underpinning a 2012 public survey on national defense spending and analyzed the survey results, including groundbreaking data about the public's willingness to curtail spending on the nuclear triad. Throughout 2013, Matthew advised a team of Harvard Kennedy School scholars on the policy and budgetary circumstances involved in the merger of Walter Reed Army Hospital and Bethesda Navy Hospital as they authored a business case slated for publication in early 2015.

Matthew also is active on national defense issues at the state level in North Carolina. He has been a special correspondent for the Raleigh News and Observer's opinion page for four years. Matthew also is an independent adviser to the US Global Leadership Coalition's North Carolina project, the University of North Carolina's Citizen Soldier Support Program, and the Chamber of Commerce in Fayetteville, Fort Bragg's host community.

In addition to his nearly three dozen columns in the Raleigh News and Observer, Matthew's commentary has been featured in the International Herald Tribune, Bloomberg Government, and Politico, among many other publications, and he is a frequently-cited expert in outlets such as National Public Radio and Washington Post Wonkblog. Matthew is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a 2011 fellow of the German Marshall Fund's Manfred Worner program. He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his graduate degree from Columbia University.

Selected Publications:

Managing the Military More Efficiently: Potential Savings Separate from Strategy

Pentagon as Pitchman: Perception and Reality of Public Diplomacy

Consulting the American People on National Defense Spending

A Leaner and Meaner Defense: How to Cut the Pentagon's Budget While Improving Its Performance