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Matthew S. Axelrod

Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement
Matthew S. Axelrod

Matthew S. Axelrod was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate and currently serves as the Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security.

In this capacity, Matt leads an elite cadre of special agents and analysts dedicated to the enforcement of the country’s export control laws. Matt and his team protect and promote U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives by stopping exports of sensitive goods and technologies that can be put to malign purposes like weapons-of-mass-destruction proliferation, military and military-intelligence applications, terrorism, and human rights abuses. They also work to ensure U.S. persons do not participate in unsanctioned foreign boycotts.

A longtime public servant with deep criminal and national security enforcement experience, Matt previously spent over thirteen years at the U.S. Department of Justice. As an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of Florida, he prosecuted a number of high-profile cases, convicting two founders of the Cali Cartel, a county sheriff who was taking undisclosed payments from a vendor, and a husband-and-wife team who were spying for the Cuban Intelligence Service. After six years in Miami, Matt was detailed to Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C., where he worked as a Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division and then as an Associate Deputy Attorney General, responsible for overseeing the criminal enforcement work of the Department. From 2015 to 2017, Matt served as the Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General, one of Department's highest-ranking officials. In that role, he advised the Deputy Attorney General and Attorney General on the Department’s most significant issues, including the most consequential criminal and national security enforcement matters. Matt directly supervised a staff of twenty-five lawyers and helped to oversee the Department’s workforce of 113,000 employees, including all of its prosecutors and law enforcement agents. In 2021, he rejoined the Department of Justice on Inauguration Day as part of the senior leadership team, serving as Senior Counselor in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General.

Matt has also previously served as Special Counsel in the Office of the White House Counsel, where he worked on both domestic and national security matters, and as a partner in an international law firm, where he did internal investigations and white-collar defense work on behalf of companies and individuals. Matt was also one of the founding corps members at City Year, a forerunner and inspiration for the eventual AmeriCorps national service program.

Matt received his B.A. cum laude from Amherst College and his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he was Notes Editor for the Yale Law Journal. Following law school, Matt clerked for the Honorable Ralph K. Winter, Jr. on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and for the Honorable Janet C. Hall on the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut.