Matthew Leatherman

Former Nonresident Fellow

This is the profile of a former staff member, affiliate, intern, or guest author. Biographical information is not maintained and may be out of date.

Matthew Leatherman is a Nonresident Fellow with the Stimson Center and an expert on national defense strategy, budgeting, and management. His Stimson publications include The Army Goes to School: Connection between K-12 Education Standards and the Military-Base EconomyManaging the Military More Efficiently: Potential Savings Separate from Strategy and Pentagon as Pitchman: Perception and Reality of Public Diplomacyfocusing on studies of the military’s involvement in public diplomacy and managerial efficiencies in the Pentagon back-office.

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:

Commentary: Efficiency vs. Service Cultures – December 19, 2013

U.S. diplomats need disciplined message from home – September 11, 2013

Consulting the American People on National Defense Spending – May 10, 2012

Op-Ed: Pentagon Should Embrace Larger Budget Cuts – February 9, 2012

A 1% solution gives Pentagon strategic choices: Commentary – December 12, 2011

A Leaner and Meaner Defense: How to Cut the Pentagon’s Budget While Improving Its Performance – January, 2011

Five myths about defense spending – January 14, 2011

Research & Writing

Commentary
Bring The Troops Home — From Sinai

By Matthew Leatherman: Your first question is likely: ‘We have American soldiers deployed in Egypt?’ In December, the U.S. Army proposed cutting the combat pay bonus that soldiers earn while deployed to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Your firs…

Stimson in the News
Stimson’s “The Army Goes to School” report cited in The 74 Million

Every day the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces make extraordinary sacrifices to uphold the banner of freedom our country stands for. Though much less recognized, their families share this yoke of patriotic duty, frequently uprootin…

Stimson in the News
Stimson’s “The Army Goes to School” report cited in St. Louis Post-Patch

While the Army has announced cuts of 40,000 troops at military bases around the country, the big installation in Missouri, Fort Leonard Wood, has dodged a major hit — for now. But if local communities want to hedge against future troop cuts in our area…

Stimson in the News
Op-ed by Matthew Leatherman in the Watertown Daily Times on education’s role in the Army

Military family forums rarely make news. Yet an idea raised by Gen. Raymond Odierno, the U.S. Army’s chief of staff, at a 2013 family forum is likely to resurface soon with the potential to ripple across the U.S. economy. Elected officials “better star…

Stimson in the News
Matthew Leatherman quoted in Carthage Republican Tribune on Army restructuring

Decisions about cuts to military personnel at places such as Fort Drum, and the multibillion-dollar economic consequences that come with them, may hinge on local school quality, a new report suggests. “If the Army were to take action on these grounds,…

Stimson in the News
Matthew Leatherman quoted in Fayetteville Observer on national military cuts

Fort Bragg, the nation’s largest military installation, avoided deep cuts from Army force reductions announced Thursday. -snip- Matthew Leatherman, a North Carolina-based fellow for nonpartisan security think tank the Stimson Center, said the numbers s…

Stimson in the News
Matthew Leatherman quoted in the Watertown Daily Times on education in military communities

Decisions about cuts to military personnel at places such as Fort Drum, and the multibillion-dollar economic consequences that come with them, may hinge on local school quality, a new report suggests. “If the Army were to take action on these grounds,…

Stimson in the News
Stimson’s “The Army Goes to School” report cited in Education Post

The U.S. Army is deeply concerned about K-12 education standards. If U.S. soldiers are left with no other option than to place their children in substandard schools or in schools in which the education standards vary greatly from one to the next, Army…

Stimson in the News
M. Leatherman’s “The Army Goes to School” report cited in The Southeast Sun

Approximately 85 percent of the students whose parents are stationed at Fort Rucker attend Enterprise City Schools. Those students comprise about 35 percent of the city schools’ population, according to Enterprise Schools Superintendent Dr. Camille Wri…

Stimson in the News
M. Leatherman’s “The Army Goes to School” report cited in EpriseNow.com

If school quality is important to military leaders, then Enterprise City Schools are on the right track, Mayor Kenneth Boswell and Superintendent Dr. Camille Wright said. -snip- The report, “The Army Goes to School: The Connection between K-12 Educatio…

Stimson in the News
M. Leatherman’s report “The Army Goes to School” cited in Dothan Eagle

Area officials and a coalition called Friends of Fort Rucker watch diligently for any movement that might threaten the installation and its mission in the Wiregrass area. It’s not an futile cause; through several base realignment initiatives, an active…

Stimson in the News
Matthew Leatherman quoted in Dothan Eagle on the link between Army & education

Military basing decisions may take educational matters – including compatibility of standards – into consideration, according to a new report. -snip- Matthew Leatherman, author of the report, is a non-resident fellow at the Stimson Center. Leatherman s…

Stimson in the News
Matthew Leatherman quoted in Navy Times on school performance near Army posts

Defense officials have convened a working group to focus on issues related to military children’s education in schools outside the gates, an Army official said. -snip- The study was limited to Army communities, but the author of the study, Matthew Leat…

Stimson in the News
Stimson’s “K-12 Education Standards and the Military-Base Economy” report quoted in 13 WMAZ

Schools that offer a lower quality of education could end up costing their communities if the military places a high priority on that factor in its base closure decisions, says a new report from the global security think tank Stimson Center. “If host c…

Report
The Army Goes To School: Connection Between K-12 Education Standards And The Military-Base Economy

The Army Goes to School: The Connection Between K-12 Education Standards and the Military-Base Economy finds that the quality of education available to soldiers’ children could be a retention issue for the Army. More than 300,000 school-age children (a…

Stimson in the News
Matthew Leatherman quoted in the Military Times on army education

Schools that offer a lower quality of education could end up costing their communities if the military places a high priority on that factor in its base closure decisions, says a new report from the global security think tank Stimson Center. “If host c…

Press Release
Local Education Could Be Key Factor in Future Army Base Realignment Decisions

Inconsistent Standards and Performance Exist in Communities Heavily Dependent on Military Wages across US For Immediate Release June 25, 2015 Contact: Jim Baird, [email protected]; (202) 478-3413 Communities that host Army bases could see their ec…

Commentary
Paul Holtom, Matthew Leatherman Announced as Stimson Nonresident Fellows

The Stimson Center announced today that Paul Holtom and Matthew Leatherman have been appointed as Nonresident Fellows for the Managing Across Boundaries initative. “As Stimson continues to grow, I can think of no more skilled assets to broaden our orga…

Stimson in the News
Gordon Adams And Matthew Leatherman Quoted In Defense News On OCO

WASHINGTON — The presence of the overseas contingency operations (OCO) fund is preventing needed reforms to the defense budget, a panel of experts said April 3.   -snip-   Gordon Adams, a former top defense official at the Office of Managemen…

Stimson in the News
Matthew Leatherman Quoted In Defense News On The Better Buying Power

WASHINGTON — After months of expectation, Pentagon officials ordered the implementation of Better Buying Power 3.0 Thursday afternoon.   -snip-   Matthew Leatherman, an adviser to the Stimson Center, called the the Better Buying Power series…

Commentary
Acting Smartly on Military Compensation

Over the past ten days, Congress has received two reports that, taken together, raise the possibility of changing regular service-member’s compensation in favor of preserving layers of management above them and the missions those managers assign to the…

Commentary
Cut Pay? Trim COCOMs: How To Act Wisely On Military Pay

Imagine a business that’s restructuring costs. The idea is to restrain employee compensation and free up money for operations and investment, thus allowing the company to grow. Everyone’s familiar with the surrounding debate: leaders spotlight the need…

Stimson in the News
Matthew Leatherman’s op-ed in Breaking Defense on COCOM and military pay

Imagine a business that’s restructuring costs. The idea is to restrain employee compensation and free up money for operations and investment, thus allowing the company to grow. Everyone’s familiar with the surrounding debate: leaders spotlight the need…

Commentary
Benchmarking the Navy’s Pacific Shift

Shifts in U.S. Navy force structure are one compelling, specific way to understand what the military aspect of the “pivot” or “rebalance” to Asia-Pacific means. According to then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta: By 2020 the Navy will reposture its force…

Report
The Pentagon as Pitchman: Perception and Reality of Public Diplomacy

The Department of Defense has not institutionalized public diplomacy-like activities throughout its components, belying both hopes that it would internalize these broader concerns into its everyday activities, and fears that the Department’s great scal…

Report
Consulting the American People on National Defense Spending

With the United States facing large budget deficits, a major debate is underway in Washington DC over whether defense spending will be subject to cuts. Unless Congress succeeds in agreeing on a new budget, current law calls for the ‘sequestration’ prov…

Commentary
Matthew Leatherman publishes op-ed in US News & World Report on US Defense budget

Matthew Leatherman published an opinion-editorial in today’s US News & World Report urging Secretary Panetta and the Defense Department to embrace larger budget cuts. Click here to read the op-ed.

Commentary
Matthew Leatherman writes op-ed for Defense News on wartime accounting

Stimson’s Matthew Leatherman recently wrote an opinion piece for Defense News entitled Plan for War Costs. In the op-ed, Leatherman writes about the pitfalls of wartime accounting for the Pentagon and the State Department. To read the full article, ple…

Commentary
A Leaner and Meaner Defense

The United States faces a watershed moment: it must decide whether to increase its already massive debt in order to continue being the world’s sheriff or restrain its military missions and focus on economic recovery. Military power has dominated the Un…

Commentary
Indefensible Excess: New Op-ed on Defense Spending by Matthew Leatherman

Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense’s Matthew Leatherman authored an op-ed in the Raleigh News and Observor to highlight an upcoming speech by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at Duke University. His point is clear: getting our governm…

Choose Your Subscription Topics
* indicates required
I'm interested in...
38 North: News and Analysis on North Korea
South Asian Voices