About Matt

From mid-2022, my primary outlet is mountainrunner.substack.com. The mountainrunner.us site will continue to exist. Though I will occasionally repost articles from my substack to here, those reposts will be neither timely nor complete. In other words, if you want to follow my writing, please visit and subscribe to my substack. Thank you.

I’ve been working, writing, lecturing, and pontificating in and around public diplomacy, strategic communication, and political warfare since 2004. From 2013-2017, I served as a Governor on the formerly named Broadcasting Board of Governors, since renamed the US Agency for Global Media. I was nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate to this position after Senators approached me to consider an appointment following my tenure as the executive director of the US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. I also served on the board, and for two years as the Secretary of the Public Diplomacy Council, now the Public Diplomacy Council of America, and taught graduate courses in public diplomacy at the USC Annenberg School as an adjunct lecturer. 

Besides extensive discussions with Senate and House Members and staff, helping launch a caucus to support public diplomacy and strategic communication, and helping write and provide support for related bills, including the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act, I also worked with the Defense Department. I am honored to have been inducted into the Psychological Operations Regiment at the JFK Special Warfare Center and School as an Honorary Member. In addition, I am on the advisory board for the Information Professionals Association and was an adjunct lecturer with the Joint Special Operations University. 

Russia sanctioned me in May 2022, so maybe I’m doing something right.

I am currently a Ph.D. student at King’s College London. My focus is examining how the US responded to Russian political warfare in the early cold war years. I am also revising my book on the history and evolution of the Smith-Mundt Act, a topic I have spent way more time studying over the past dozen years than is probably wise or healthy, though that history is stunningly and unfortunately extremely relevant today.

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

Some personal details: I’ve lived in Switzerland (near Zürich) since 2016, which followed nearly three years of living in the United Kingdom (west side of London), with my wife and two kids. We have a cat from the UK and another from Latvia, and our dog is a rescue from Romania. He’s not, however, the dog in my profile picture. She was a rescue from a Carson, CA, animal shelter and is the cause of the “MountainRunner” name, which I share here. I’ve done a bunch of Ironman triathlons (8 starts, 7 finishes — aeros bars broke in my third, messing up my back), a bunch of ultramarathons (the longest was 70 miles), a couple dozen marathons (I think, stopped counting), perhaps three 5k’s and may two 10k’s, and enjoyed 3-mile ocean swim races. I also guided a blind triathlete for two seasons. Nearer to the turn of the millennium than the present, I coached triathletes, masters swimming, and fund-raising marathoners (Team in Training). 

A partial list of my publications, podcast appearances, video presentations, video chats, and the several times I testified before Congress can be found here.

Though “Mountainrunner” is often considered my nickname, it was and remains the nickname of Matt’s best, and now late (2002-2016), running partner: Luna. We were lucky to adopt her from the Carson (California) animal shelter as a puppy and later just as lucky to rescue Teddy (2003-2016), a three-legged wonder dog found in a trash can as a tiny pup. (Yes, 2016 was a bit difficult; no, their passings were not related.) When I first launched this blog in November 2004, I did so anonymously with the only intent of practicing writing. (See more about the origin of the blog here.) The hosting platform needed a name for the site and, wanting anonymity, I typed Luna’s nickname. The name was gained from her running 25-35 miles per week on the trails in the Santa Monica Mountains. Her longest runs came in around 14 (hilly) miles. There are many stories about her, including the two times we encountered the local mountain lion. If you’re ever running on the Westridge Trail and drop down into Sullivan Canyon, you’ll be on a part of what had been known as the Luna Loop.

The picture of Luna at the top of this site is my digital adaptation of a superb oil on canvas portrait by the artist Emily Wynn. She did this and one of Teddy (see the blue dog with the blue background at the link) from photos. Both original paintings hang in my home office.