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Earl G. Matthews
File:File:Earl G. Matthews.png
Principal Deputy General Counsel of the Department of the Army

In office
June 21, 2017 – July 22, 2018
Appointed by Donald Trump
Succeeded by Robert J. Sander
General Counsel of the Department of the Army, Acting

In office
June 2017 – January 2018
Appointed by Donald Trump
Succeeded by James E. McPherson
Personal details
Born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Alma mater Villanova University, B.A.
Harvard Law School, J.D.

Georgetown University, LL.M.
National Intelligence University, M.S.
Army War College, M.S.

Military service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
National Guard
Years of service 2000–present
Rank COL O6 insignia shaded.svg.png Colonel
Unit DCNG, Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, JFHQ
Battles/wars
Awards See Awards and Decorations section

Earl G. Matthews is an American government official and attorney who held senior positions within the Department of the Army and at the White House during the administration of President Donald J. Trump. Matthews was a member of Trump's Department of Defense transition team and was appointed as a Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, James N. Mattis on January 20, 2017.[1][2][3] Matthews was subsequently appointed as the Principal Deputy General Counsel of the Army on June 21, 2019.[4] He served as Acting General Counsel of the Army from June 21, 2017 until James E. McPherson was sworn in as General Counsel on January 2, 2018.[5][6]

Matthews continued as Principal Deputy General of the Army until he was detailed to the White House to serve as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Defense Policy and Strategy on the National Security Council staff in late May 2018. Matthews was formally succeeded as Principal Deputy General Counsel of the Army by Robert J. Sander on July 22, 2019. Matthews was named as a Deputy Assistant to the President in January 2019 and continued to serve as Senior Director for Defense Policy and Strategy on the National Security Council (NSC) staff until his resignation from the White House in November 2019.

White House service[edit | edit source]

As a Deputy Assistant to the President, Matthews was one of the highest-ranking African-Americans in the Trump Administration.[7] As Senior Director for Defense Policy and Strategy, he worked closely with then-National Security Advisor John R. Bolton on a range of sensitive national security matters. Matthews was involved in the initial planning for the U.S. Space Force and co-authored an October 2018 White House memo to the Pentagon, with National Space Council Executive Secretary Scott Pace, requesting that the Department of Defense make a formal recommendation to President Trump as to whether the proposed Space Force should be organized an independent military department or should be organized as a separate military branch within the Department of the Air Force.[8][9]

Matthews traveled with then National Security Advisor, John R. Bolton to Ukraine in August 2019 and Warsaw, Poland in September 2019 where he participated in meetings between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and senior U.S officials.[10] In addition to Bolton, NSC Senior Director Tim Morrison and, top U.S. diplomat in Kiev, Ambassador William Taylor also attended the meetings in Ukraine in which Matthews was present. Matthews was also present for the meeting between Vice-President Mike Pence and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky which occurred in Warsaw on September 1, 2019.[11] The Zelensky meetings Matthews attended in Ukraine and in Poland were a later focus of the House impeachment inquiry, however, Matthews was not implicated in the inquiry. Matthews left his White House position on November 8, 2019.

Education[edit | edit source]

Matthews is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He attended Villanova University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, in May 1995. He earned a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from the Harvard Law School in June 1998, a Master of Science (M.S.) in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University in August 2005, and a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in National Security Law from the Georgetown University Law Center in 2013. In additional, Mr. Matthews earned an M.S. degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College in 2016.

Military background[edit | edit source]

Earl G. Matthews as a Lieutenant Colonel (LTC), 2015, District of Columbia National Guard

In addition to his role as a civilian political appointee and White House staff member, Matthews concurrently serves as a Colonel (COL) within the United States Army, District of Columbia, National Guard (DCNG).

Matthews serves in the role of Staff Judge Advocate (SJA)[12] for Joint Force Headquarters (JFHQ). As the Staff Judge Advocate for the DCNG, COL Matthews reports directly to the Commanding General and serves as the chief legal advisor on all matters regarding the DCNG.

Awards and decorations[edit | edit source]

COL Matthews’ personal decorations include:

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Defense Industry and Trump's Transition Team". https://www.defensenews.com/pentagon/2016/11/18/defense-industry-well-represented-on-trump-transition-team/. 
  2. "Trump names his transition team". https://www.stripes.com/news/trump-names-dod-transition-team-defense-secretary-post-still-open-1.440136. 
  3. "Political Appointees". https://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/FOID/Reading%20Room/Personnel_Related/17-F-0821_DOCS_01-38_Documents_Concerning_Political_Appointees.pdf. 
  4. "Senior Executive Service Announcements". https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Releases/Release/Article/1230972/senior-executive-service-announcements/. 
  5. "Black conservatives reel after Omarosa resigns". https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2017/12/15/black-conservatives-reel-after-manigault-resigns/Tt3kXLzan1BuwpCMroMzqM/story.html. 
  6. "With Omarosa Gone, Here are the Black People Still Working for President Trump". https://blackchristiannews.com/2017/12/with-omarosa-gone-here-are-the-black-people-still-working-for-president-trump/. 
  7. "Highest ranking African-American members of the Trump White House". https://www.politico.com/news/2019/11/07/earl-matthews-nsc-ukraine-067363. 
  8. "White House Seeks Alternatives to Independent Space Force". https://www.defenseone.com/politics/2018/11/white-house-seeks-alternatives-independent-space-force/153119/. 
  9. "Space Force: To Stand Alone or Not to Stand Alone". https://www.voanews.com/science-health/space-force-stand-alone-or-not-stand-alone. 
  10. "NSC official who attended key Ukraine meetings to leave post". https://www.politico.com/news/2019/11/07/earl-matthews-nsc-ukraine-067363. 
  11. "NSC official who attended Pence Ukraine meeting quits". https://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watch/nsc-official-who-attended-pence-ukraine-meeting-quits-73101893662. 
  12. "Biography of Earl G. Matthews". https://dc.ng.mil/News/Biographies/Article/1685854/colonel-earl-g-matthews. 

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