CHDS Senior Lecturer’s Romanian Roots Help Drive Scholarly Interest, Success in Intelligence, Security

Growing up in Romania under the regime of communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, Dr. Florina Cristiana Matei learned firsthand what it was like to live in a surveillance state where intelligence services acted as what she called the “chief prop of the regime—always watching, and serving a small group of people” on behalf of the state instead of the broader society.

Matei said that experience prompted her interest in intelligence and security transformation and related topics.

Decades later, the Senior Lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security and the Department of National Security Affairs, where she teaches Master’s Program courses on such topics as security and political regimes, civil-military relations and democratic transition/consolidation, transnational security threats, and intelligence, is considered one of the premiere experts in her field and a prolific author and editor of dozens of books, chapters, articles, and other publications.

“I am interested in these topics because they address the relationship between security institutions and political regimes, and I am personally interested in intelligence transformation because of my childhood experience living in a surveillance state in my native Romania,” she said. “I am eager to understand why and how intelligence services undergo change from one regime type to another. I wanted to learn the incentives to change into institutions that work to protect the citizens as much as safeguarding the state, and the main processes and mechanisms—and challenges associated with both—involved in democratic reforms, and then compare and contrast with other countries’ experiences.

“I use teaching as a way to learn and develop my expertise via research, use research for publications, then use publications back in the classroom, and then repeat.”

Since starting her career at NPS in 2003 as a faculty member for the Center for Civil-Military Relations, which was rebranded as the Institute for Security Governance (ISG) in 2019, Matei has researched, published, and taught a range of courses to U.S. and allied/partner nation military officers and civilians, as well as advising and co-advising a select number of Master’s student theses for both CHDS and NSA.

She joined the CHDS faculty in 2015 when she started advising theses and began teaching at CHDS in 2017.

She has also coordinated and taught in several resident courses, as well as a variety of education programs overseas, as part of mobile education teams in Latin America, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. And, she coordinated and taught in the Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s Defense Security Cooperation University SOUTHCOM Regional Course, which educates U.S. Department of Defense professionals who work with SOUTHCOM.

Last year, Matei was promoted to Senior Lecturer and also became the first female chair of the International Studies Association’s Intelligence Studies Section (ISS). Previous chairs from NPS included Dr. James Wirtz and Dr. Erik Dahl.

The year before, she received her third Lieutenant Commander David L. Williams Outstanding Professor Award.

Matei said one of the major current challenges for academic researchers like herself “emerge from the dynamic geostrategic and security context around the world, which generates an abundance of information, news, academic research related to these developments, and which in turn forces the researcher to constantly search for, and access, sources of information to stay informed.”

During her time at NPS, Matei has produced a prodigious number of scholarly publications, authoring or editing five books, 16 book chapters, and 23 journal articles, along with assorted book reviews and media.

The Routledge Handbook of Civil-Military Relations—Second Edition

She is the co-editor of The Routledge Handbook of Civil-Military Relations, published in 2012; of The Conduct of Intelligence in Democracies: Processes, Practices, Cultures published in 2019; of The Routledge Handbook of Civil-Military Relations—Second Edition, published in 2021; and of the Handbook of Latin American and Caribbean Intelligence Cultures, published in 2022.

She also has several future publications in the works including “Watching You Watching Me” with fellow CHDS faculty member Dr. Carolyn Halladay, and “Cuba’s Intelligence Apparatus: Ubiquitous at Home and ‘Unseen’ Abroad,” among others. 

Matei credited the inspiration for her writing success to mentors Dr. Thomas C. Bruneau in the field of Civil-Military Relations and Dr. Kenneth Dombroski in intelligence studies, as well as the mentorship of colleagues and friends, including Halladay, Dahl, Wirtz, Dr. Shannon Brown, Dr. Maria Rasmussen, and Dr. Nadav Morag, among many others. 

In addition, Matei expressed gratitude to NPS leaders including Rich Hoffman, former longtime CHDS Director Glen Woodbury, Dr. Lauren Wollman, Heather Issvoran, Dr. Christopher Bellavita, Dr. Lauren Fernandez, Dr. Clay Moltz, Dr. Maria Rasmussen, interim CHDS Director Jodi Stiles, and Dr. Jomana Amara for the opportunity to research, write, and teach.

Since January 2020, she has also served as associate editor of the International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, a peer-reviewed journal focusing on research on intelligence-related issues.

Matei earned a B.S. in Physics (Nuclear Interactions and Elementary Particles) from the University of Bucharest; an M.A. in International Security Affairs from NPS; and a Ph.D. from the Department of War Studies at King’s College, University of London.



  • Matei, F.C., Halladay, C., Estevez, E. eds., Handbook of Latin American and Caribbean Intelligence Cultures, Rowman and Littlefield, 2022.
  • Matei, F.C., Halladay, C., Bruneau, T., eds. The Routledge Handbook of Civil-Military Relations, Second Edition. Routledge, 2022.
  • Matei F.C., Halladay, C., eds. The Conduct of Intelligence in Democracies: Processes, Practices, Cultures, Lynne Reinner, 2019.
  • Bruneau, T., Matei, F.C., eds., The Routledge Handbook of Civil-Military Relations, 2012.
  • Vidrascu, R., Zodian., Matei, F.C. Romania in Europa si in Lume: 1997-2007. Editura Militara, 2007.


  • Matei, F.C., “The Perils of Disinformation in Latin America,” in the Rubén Arcos et al., eds., Routledge Handbook of Disinformation and National Security (London: Routledge, 2023).
  • Matei, F.C., “Civil-military interagency,” in Carlos Solar ed., Governing the military. The armed forces under democracy in Chile, Manchester UP, April 2024.
  • Matei, F.C., “Strategic planning, resources, effectiveness,” in Aurel Croissant et al. Research Handbook on Civil–Military Relations, EE Publishing, April 2024.
  • Matei, F.C. Pandemic Pangs and Fangs: Romania’s Public Safety and Civil Liberties in the COVID-19 Era.” In Morag, N. ed. Impacts of the Covid-19 Pandemic: International Laws, Policies, and Civil Liberties, Wiley, 2022.
  • Halladay, C., De Castro, A., Matei, F.C. “Praise the Alarm:  Spain’s Coronavirus Approach.” In Morag, N. ed. Impacts of the Covid-19 Pandemic: International Laws, Policies, and Civil Liberties, Wiley, 2022.
  • Matei, F.C., “Mali: The Hot and Cold Relationship Between Military Intervention and Democratic Consolidation.” In Thompson, W. and Nassif, B. C. eds., Oxford Encyclopedia of Military in Politics, OUP, 2021.
  • Matei, F.C., and Halladay, C., “The Control-Effectiveness Framework of Civil–Military Relations.” In Thompson, W. and Nassif, B. C. eds., Oxford Encyclopedia of Military in Politics, OUP, 2021.
  • Matei, F.C., “The Quest for a Tradeoff between Democracy and Security: the Case of Post-Communist Romania,” in Leonard Weinberg, Elizabeth Francis, Eliot Assoudeh eds., Routledge Handbook of Democracy and Security, Routledge, 2020.
  • Matei, F.C., “Intelligence Oversight Committees,” in Greg Moore ed., Encyclopedia of U.S. Intelligence – Two Volume Set (Print Version) 1st Edition, Auerbach Publications, 2014.
  • Matei, F.C., “Central Intelligence Agency,” In Robert D. Morgan ed., The SAGE Encyclopedia of Criminal Psychology , SAGE, 2019.
  • Matei, F.C. and Halladay, C. “Intelligence, Security, and Democracy,” in Arcos, R. and Lahneman, W.J. eds., The Art of Intelligence. More Simulations, Exercises, and Games, Rowman & Littlefield, 2019.
  • Matei, F.C., “Case Study: Intelligence Reform in the United States after 9/11 – The Office of Director of National Intelligence: Efforts to Knit the Intelligence Community More Closely and Improve Intelligence Analysis,” in Maior, C.G., Nitu, I., eds., Ars Analytica, RAO, 2013.
  • Matei, F.C.,  “The Impact of U.S. Anti-gang Policies in Central America: Quo Vadis?”, chapter in Maras Gang Violence and Security in Central America, University of Texas Press, December 2012. 
  • Bruneau, T., and Matei, F.C., “Intelligence in the Developing Democracies: The “Quest” for Transparency and Effectiveness.” In Loch Johnson ed. Oxford Handbook for Intelligence, OUP 2010. 
  • Matei, F.C., “Romania’s Intelligence Reform: The Importance of the Legal Framework” – In Two Decades of Change: Romania 1989-2009Difin, Poland, April 2009.
  • Matei, F.C., “Romania’s Transition to democracy: the Role of the Press in Intelligence Reform.” In Bruneau, T.C. and Boraz, T.C. eds., Reforming Intelligence: Obstacles to Democratic Control and Effectiveness, University of Texas Press, 2007.


  • Matei, F. C. (2023). Not-So-Secret Secret Police: Yugoslavia’s Intelligence Apparatus. International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, 1–22.
  • Matei, F. C., & Rogg, J. (2024). Domestic Intelligence in Nondemocratic Regimes. International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, 1–5.
  • Matei, F.C., “Effectively Diversified Intelligence: A Sisyphean Effort?,” International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, 2022.
  • Puyvelde, Van, D., Wirtz, J.J., Holeindre, J.V., Oudet, B., Bar-Joseph, U., Kotani, K., Matei, F.C. and Fernández, A.M.D, “Comparing National Approaches to the Study of Intelligence,” International Studies Perspectives (2020) 21, 298–337,
  • Matei, F.C. & Castro García A., “Transitional Justice and Intelligence Democratization,” International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, Volume 32, 2019 – Issue 4, 2020.
  • Matei, F.C.,  Kawar, J., “Tunisia’s Post–Arab Spring Intelligence Reform,” International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, 33:1, 135-158, 2020.
  • Matei, F.C., Castro García, A. & Halladay, C.C., “On Balance: Intelligence Democratization in Post-Franco Spain,”  International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, 31:4, 769-804, 2018.
  • Matei, F.C. & de Castro García, A., “Chilean Intelligence after Pinochet: Painstaking Reform of an Inauspicious Legacy,” International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, 30:2, 340-367, 2017.
  • Matei, F.C., De Castro, A., Henfield, D. “Balancing civilian control with intelligence effectiveness in Latin America and the Caribbean: current trends and lessons learned.” In  “Intelligence and Democratization in Latin America and the Caribbean (2016),” Journal of Mediterranean and Balkan Intelligence.
  • Matei, F.C., Xharo M., Bala, E., “Albania’s Intelligence after Hoxha: The Cat’s Grin and Hidden Claws,” International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, 29:2, 299-327, 2016.
  • Matei, F.C., “The Media’s Role in Intelligence Democratization,” International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, 27:1, 73-108, 2014.
  • Matei, F.C., “Balancing Democratic Civilian Control with Effectiveness of Intelligence in Romania: Lessons Learned and Best/Worst Practices Before and After NATO and EU Integration,” Intelligence and National Security, 29:4, 619-637, 2014.  
  • Matei, F.C. & Bruneau, T.C., “Intelligence reform in new democracies: factors supporting or arresting progress,” Democratization, 2011.
  • Matei, F.C. & Bruneau, T.C., “Policymakers and Intelligence Reform in the New Democracies,” International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, 24:4, 656-691, 2009.  
  • Matei, F.C., “The Legal Framework for Intelligence in Post-Communist Romania,” International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, 22:4, 667-698, 2009.  
  • Matei, F.C., “The Challenges of Intelligence Sharing in Romania,” Intelligence and National Security, 24:4, 574-585, 2009.
  • Matei, F.C., “Romania’s Intelligence Community: From an Instrument of Dictatorship to Serving Democracy,” International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, 20:4, 629-660; 2007.
  • Matei, F.C., “Reconciling Intelligence Effectiveness and Transparency: The Case of Romania.” Strategic Insights 6, no. 3 (May 2007).  [../../../../../cmatei/Downloads/3_mateiMay07.pdf]file:///C:/Users/cmatei/Downloads/3_mateiMay07.pdf .
  • Bruneau, T., and Matei, F.C. “Is Argentina Going Totally Blind?” E-IR, HTTP://WWW.E-IR.INFO/2015/02/08/IS-ARGENTINA-GOING-TOTALLY-BLIND/ . 
  • Bruneau, T., and Matei, F.C., “Towards a New Conceptualization of Democratization and Civil-Military Relations,” Democratization, 15:5, 909-929, 2008. 
  • Bruneau, T., and Matei, F.C., Sakoda, S., “National Security Councils: Their Potential Functions in Democratic Civil-Military Relations,” Defense and Security Analysis, 2009. 
  • Matei, F.C., “Developing Effective Armed Forces in the Twenty First Century Case Studies of New Democracies,” Journal of Defense Resources Management 2:1 (2011): 21-38, 2011. 
  • Bruneau et al., “Civil-military relations in Muslim countries. The cases of Egypt, Pakistan, and Turkey Bruneau, Journal of Defense Resources Management; Vol.4, Issue 2 (7)/2013. 


  • Halladay, C., Matei, F.C., “Disconnected Dots between Homeland Security and Intelligence,” Review of Jeffrey Douglas Dailey and James Robert Phelps: Intelligence for Homeland Security: An Introduction, Lynne Rienner, Boulder, CO, 2021, International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, DOI: 10.1080/08850607.2021.2007563.
  • Matei, F.C., Review of Soldiers, Politicians, and Civilians: Reforming Civil–Military Relations in Democratic Latin America. By David Pion-Berlin and Rafael Martínez. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.


  • Bruneau, T.C., Matei, F.C., “Democratiile: transparenta si Securitate,” Revista 22, Newspaper Article,


  • Matei, F.C., “Shaping Intelligence As A Profession In Romania:  Reforming Intelligence Education After 1989,” Research Paper No. 110, June 2007 
  • Matei, F.C., “Combating Terrorism And Organized Crime: South Eastern Europe Collective Approaches,” Research Paper No. 133, July 2009: RIEAS Journal:
  • Florina Cristiana MATEI, “Romania’s Anti – Terrorism Capabilities: Transformation, Cooperation, Effectiveness,”

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