The Bureau of Land Management last week announced the appointment of Matthew Buffington as its new assistant director for communications. Buffington, a career communications professional with more than 15 years of experience, will begin his new position on Aug. 6 at the BLM’s Robert F. Burford Headquarters in Grand Junction, Colorado.
“Matthew Buffington is a dynamic leader with a proven record of developing and implementing effective communications policies and strategies for a wide range of high-profile issues and agencies. He’s also a native of the West with a keen understanding of the unique role the BLM plays in local communities, and we’re excited to have him bring his expertise and perspective to our mission,” said Deputy Director for Policy and Programs William Perry Pendley.
Buffington comes to the BLM after five years with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, where he most recently served on a detail as strategic communications adviser to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. As a member of NASA’s Office of the Administrator’s leadership team he was responsible for developing communications strategies targeted to a wide range of audiences including the administration, Congress, the National Space Council, the NASA workforce, international partners, as well as various federal, state, and local government agencies.
Prior to that, Buffington was the strategic communications director at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, with responsibility for providing strategic communications leadership for all Center programs and policies. This involved interfacing with other federal agencies, educational institutions, the media, elected officials and their staffs, in addition to hosting a weekly science podcast, NASA in Silicon Valley, and serving on the Mountain View, California Chamber of Commerce.
Before joining NASA, Buffington spent a decade at the U.S. Department of State in a variety of roles, including acting deputy assistant secretary of State for Digital Strategy and as a Foreign Service officer. He has served in Washington. D.C., Paramaribo, Suriname; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; and Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic. He was a Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellow and speaks Spanish, French and Haitian Creole.
As the BLM’s assistant director for Communications, Buffington will oversee policy development and program oversight for the BLM’s national strategic communications efforts. This includes the bureau’s media, congressional and partner relations, oversight of Freedom of Information Act and Resource Advisory Councils, as well as regulatory affairs and other functions.
With family ties to Orem, Utah and Montrose, Colorado, Buffington earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from Brigham Young University in Provo and a master’s degree in public administration from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.