Mr. Matthew Armstrong is a writer and speaker on public diplomacy and political warfare. He is 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 completing his book on how the U.S. government’s interest in directly engaging foreign audiences 1916-1948 culminated in the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 authorizing peacetime public diplomacy programs in support of national security.
From August 2013 through December 2016, he 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 and many of its Internet Freedom operations.
Since 2012, Mr. Armstrong has served as a Member of the Board of The Public Diplomacy Council, and from 2014 to 2016 as the Board’s Secretary. The PDC is a nonprofit organization committed to the importance of the academic study, professional practice, and responsible advocacy of public diplomacy.
In 2011, Mr. Armstrong 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 in 1948 to advise the President, the Secretary of State, and the Congress. It does not work for the State Department but serves both the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. Government.
In 2010, he 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.
He currently sits on the advisory board of the Information Professionals Association, is a founding and current editorial board member for the journal of the NATO Strategic Communication Centre of Excellence and on several other editorial boards related to strategic communication. He has previously participated on several “small councils” advising various agencies and ministries on issues related to strategic communication, political warfare, and anti-propaganda efforts. He has been a member of the National Press Club since 2009.
In March 2017 and October 2015, he testified before a subcommittee of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee on the subject of information warfare and countering propaganda. In October 2016, he was inducted into the Psychological Operations Regiment at Fort Bragg as an Honorary Member.
He 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 is a frequent speaker at NATO conferences, as well as other military and civilian foreign government institutions across Europe and in Asia on strategic communication and public diplomacy.
Outside of the communications world, Mr. Armstrong 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.
Mr. Armstrong 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 triathlete (after his fifth Ironman in 2003 and he returned to Ironman racing in 2018), an experienced open water swimmer (including a relay swim across the English Channel in 2015), cyclist, and ultra-marathoner (including the 69-mile Hadrian’s Wall run in 2016). 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.