Linda Bilmes

DPhil in Public Policy Student (2014)

Linda J. Bilmes is the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Senior Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, where she teaches budgeting, cost accounting and public finance. She also runs an applied field course in which teams of student volunteers work in local and regional governments. Bilmes has held senior positions in the US government, including Assistant Secretary and Chief Financial Officer of the US Department of Commerce during the Clinton administration. She has served on a number of high-level national commissions, including a US Treasury commission to evaluate the International Investment Corporation and the Second Century Commission to plan for the future of the National Parks. She is one of three individuals proposed by the US Congress to be Comptroller General of the United States.

Bilmes is co-author of several books, including the New York Times and international bestseller The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict (with Joseph E. Stiglitz) and the award-winning book on civil service, The People Factor: Strengthening America by Investing in Public Service (with W. Scott Gould). She is well-known for bringing attention to the long-term costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Her recent book chapters appear in the Handbook on the Economics of Conflict and the Oxford Encyclopedia of Peace and Conflict. She has written and testified widely on topics including budgeting, finance, civil service reform, and veterans affairs. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Financial Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Atlantic Monthly and many other publications. Bilmes been featured in several films and documentaries, including the academy award-nominated film, “No End In Sight”, and has received many awards and honors, including the 2008 “Speaking Truth to Power” Award from the American Friends Service Committee.

Bilmes currently serves on the US Department of Interior National Parks Advisory Board and the US Department of Labor Advisory Board on Veterans Employment and Training. She also teaches annual budgeting and appropriations workshops for newly-elected Mayors and newly-elected Members of Congress. She has taught courses on local public finance to mayors and municipal leaders from Indonesia, Cuba, China, Colombia, UK, Mexico, and the European Community. Earlier in her career, she was a management consultant at The Boston Consulting Group based in London, Madrid and Moscow. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. She holds a BA and MBA from Harvard University.

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Linda Bilmes argues that the cost of wars "seems invisible to politicians and the public alike"
The Boston Globe - Monday, 17 October, 2016