About Matt

Mr. Matthew Armstrong is a writer and speaker on public diplomacy and political warfare. He is an MPhil/PhD candidate at King’s College London in the Defence Studies Department (since January 2020), an Associate Fellow at King’s Centre for Strategic Communication at King’s College London, and an Adjunct Lecturer for the Joint Special Operations University. He is also completing his book on how the U.S. government’s interest in direct engagement of foreign audiences from 1915 onward culminated in the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, one of the US government’s first responses to Russian political warfare and its first peacetime authorization of global public diplomacy.

From August 2013 through January 2017, Matt served as a Governor on the Broadcasting Board of Governors, since renamed the U.S. Agency for Global Media. Nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate into this part-time role, he provided strategic guidance and oversight over the U.S. government’s international media operations and many of its Internet Freedom operations.

From 2012 through 2018, he served as a Member of the Board of The Public Diplomacy Council and served as Board Secretary from 2014 to 2016. The PDC is a nonprofit organization committed to the importance of the academic study, professional practice, and responsible advocacy of public diplomacy.

In 2011, Matt served as the Executive Director of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy where he reoriented the organization to its core purpose of “advocacy and oversight over U.S. government efforts that intend to understand, inform, and influence foreign publics.” This Commission is a federal body established by the Smith-Mundt Act 1948, pursuant to an amendment put forward by Rep. Everett Dirksen (R-IL), to advise the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress. It did not work for the State Department and served both the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. Government.

In 2010, Matt founded and led the MountainRunner Institute, a 501(c)3 non-profit focused on issues related to public diplomacy. In 2004, he launched the leading blog on public diplomacy and strategic communication, www.MountainRunner.us.

Matt currently sits on the advisory board of the Information Professionals Association and was a founding editorial board member for the journal of the NATO Strategic Communication Centre of Excellence. He has participated in “small councils” and served as a “gray beard” (before he had traces of gray) advising various agencies and (non-U.S.) ministries on issues related to strategic communication, political warfare, information operations, and anti-propaganda efforts. He has been a member of the (U.S.) National Press Club since 2009.

In March 2017 and October 2015, he testified before Congress on the subject of “information warfare” and countering propaganda. In October 2016, he was inducted into the Psychological Operations Regiment at the JFK Special Warfare Center and School as an Honorary Member.

Matt taught graduate courses on public diplomacy at the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism as an Adjunct Lecturer, has lectured at U.S. military schools, and was a frequent speaker at NATO conferences, as well as other military and civilian foreign government, academic, and commercial events across Europe and in Asia on public diplomacy and strategic communication.

Outside of the communications world, Matt is a Founding Board Member of the Lodestone Trust, a land conservation trust for the research and development of outdoor therapy for military service-related and conflict correspondent post-traumatic stress disorder patients under professional supervision.

Matt possesses a B.A. in International Relations and a Master of Public Diplomacy from the University of Southern California. He also studied European security and the Middle East at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

On the personal side, Matt is a veteran Ironman triathlete (racing 1998-2004, 2016-present), ultramarathoner, cyclist, and experienced open water swimmer (thoroughly enjoying his relay swim across the English Channel in 2015). His longest run is the 69-mile Hadrian’s Wall ultramarathon. He held coaching certifications from USA Triathlon, USA Cycling (Level II), USA Track and Field, and was a certified Masters swim coach. He currently resides near Zürich, Switzerland, with his wife, two children, and dog (a rescue from a Romanian shelter).

“MountainRunner” was and remains the nickname of his favorite, best, and now late (2002-2016), running partner: Luna. We were lucky to adopt her from the Carson (California) animal shelter and later just as lucky to rescue Teddy (2003-2016), a three-legged wonder dog found in a trash can as a tiny pup. (2016 was not one of the better years.)