Biographical Sketch

Professor Linda J. Bilmes, Daniel Patrick Moynihan Senior Lecturer in Public Policy, is a full-time faculty member at the Harvard Kennedy School, where she teaches budgeting, cost accounting and public finance. She has held senior positions in government, including Assistant Secretary and Chief Financial Officer of the US Department of Commerce during the Clinton administration, and has served on a number of high-level national commissions, including the Second Century Commission to examine the future of the National Park System. She is the United States member of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA) and is vice-chair of Economists for Peace and Security.

Bilmes is co-author (with Joseph E. Stiglitz) of the New York Times bestseller The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict (Norton) and co-author (with W. Scott Gould) of  The People Factor: Strengthening America by Investing in Public Service (  She is well-known for her work on the cost of war and veterans’ issues, including the landmark paper "Soldiers Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan: The Long-term Costs of Providing Veterans Medical Care and Disability Benefits”.  Her latest book is Valuing US National Parks and Programs: America's Best Investment (with John Loomis). Book chapters (with Joseph Stiglitz) appear in the Handbook on the Economics of Conflict (2011), Lessons From Iraq: Avoiding the Next War (2009), and the Oxford Encyclopedia of Peace and Conflict (2012).  She has written extensively on budgeting and financial topics, including books, book chapters, academic papers, Harvard teaching cases, and print media, and has testified at numerous congressional hearings on subjects including veterans’ benefits, federal public service, war costs and public land policy.  She is a frequent guest on national television and radio broadcasts. Bilmes is featured in Charles Ferguson’s academy award-nominated documentary film, “No End In Sight” and in “Rethinking Afghanistan” by Brave New Films.  She is the recipient of the 2008 “Speaking Truth to Power” award from the American Friends Service Committee.

Bilmes served on the US Department of Interior National Park System Advisory Board ( from 2011to 2017. She serves on the Board of Directors of Economists for Peace and Security ( and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (  She runs the Greater Boston Applied Learning Lab, and the Bloomberg Field Lab at Harvard leading teams of advanced  students who work on financial and operational projects in the region.  She also leads budgeting and appropriations workshops for newly-elected Mayors and Members of Congress.  Earlier in her career, she worked as a management consultant for The Boston Consulting Group in London, Madrid and Moscow. She was one of four individuals selected by the US Congress  as a candidate for Comptroller General of the United States. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and holds a BA and MBA from Harvard University and a D.Phil from the University of Oxford.