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Matt Cavanaugh

Advisory Council Member

Major Matt Cavanaugh is a United States Army strategist currently assigned as an assistant professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Cavanaugh was selected as the 2014 winner of the Apgar Award for Excellence in Teaching from 11 nominees drawn from a body of more than 600 Academy instructors. He also received “Teacher of the Year” honors in the Defense & Strategic Studies Program. He joined the Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) Advisory Council in 2015.

Prior to his assignment at West Point, Cavanaugh was a strategic planner at the Pentagon, serving in the Department of the Army’s Readiness Division (2009 – 2010). He also served in a critical staff role as an operations watch officer for U.S. Strategic Command (Missile Defense) at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado (2006 – 2007).

Cavanaugh served with 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment following his graduation from West Point in 2002. He deployed to Iraq again in early 2005. For these deployments, Cavanaugh twice earned the Bronze Star Medal and the Iraq Campaign Medal (with four Bronze Service Stars), as well as several other military decorations.

Cavanaugh remains active by supporting numerous community organizations – particularly as an advocate for veterans and severely injured service members. He co-founded WWP Team Minnesota with a fellow veteran, which organized distance-running events as part of the WWP Proud Supporter community. Cavanaugh has also donated significant time as head coach of the West Point marathon team.

This past year, he guided the Cadet Community for Civil Military Operationsin gathering over 300 blankets for Afghan refugees. He also founded the Cadet Yoga Clubat West Point, bringing important resiliency training and education to support the Army’s future leaders.

The Association of the United States Army named Cavanaugh the 2009 U.S. Army Athlete of the Year. He has competed with the All-Army Cross Country Team, the All-National Guard Marathon Team, and the Minnesota National Guard Biathlon Team.

Cavanaugh is a term member with the Council on Foreign Relations and a fellow at the Center for the Study of Civil Military Operations. He has been published in several peer-reviewed military and academic journals and is the editor at Additionally, Cavanaugh has represented the United States in an official capacity in 10 countries, including Iraq, Kuwait, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Latvia, and Great Britain.

Cavanaugh earned his master’s degree in strategic studies at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, and is currently working on a Ph.D. dissertation on generalship at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom.

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