Civilian earns Kenneth C. Raymer Award
June 27, 2012
FORT BENNING, Ga. -- A Fort Benning civilian has been named the Army's top foreign disclosure officer.
Matthew Bonham of the Maneuver Center of Excellence's G-2 office and Directorate of Intelligence and Security is this year's recipient of the Kenneth C. Raymer Memorial Award. It's presented annually to the foreign disclosure officer who best exemplifies the attributes of expertise, professionalism and devotion to duty essential in providing Army commands with clear, concise, responsive and accurate value-added support, according to guidelines.
He's set to receive the award July 19 at a ceremony that will include Scott Schultz, the Army's Foreign Disclosure Headquarters chief, and Don Sando, head of the MCoE's Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate.
"I feel humble and at the same time I am very appreciative to be selected," Bonham said. "What this award means to me is validation and appreciation. What it says is that someone with an unbiased view looked at us here and said we were doing something right."
Intelligence officials said military information is a national security asset -- it must be conserved and protected and may be shared with foreign representatives only when there is a clearly defined advantage to the United States. According to regulations, only designated foreign disclosure officers may approve the release of classified and controlled unclassified military information to foreign envoys.
As Fort Benning's foreign disclosure officer, Bonham said he supports the Maneuver Center by processing administrative requests for information by foreign governments. Oftentimes, it requires extensive research of bilateral pacts and memorandums of agreement.
"I must ensure that all efforts are made to protect information that needs to be protected," he said. "I also help to make sure that the foreign liaison officers who are assigned here have what they need to perform their duties. … Many times, disclosing information means that we are working collaboratively on a program with another country. By ensuring that the correct information is disclosed properly and timely it may mean an earlier fielding of a program that will save more lives on the battlefield."
Bonham said he takes his job personally, too.
He's the second of 10 children in his family, seven of whom have worn a U.S. military uniform. Five were on active duty for Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the Gulf War, and he has another sibling who's about to deploy again.
"I feel that what I do helps the Soldiers who are in harm's way and is a force multiplier," he said. "So yes, this is very important to me."