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Benjamin Cheatham

Senior Partner, Philadelphia
Leads analytics in our Public Sector Practice globally; specializes in applying analytics in the context of performance transformations at defense and security agencies.

About Benjamin

Based in Philadelphia, Ben is a leader in our Public Sector Practice, focusing on defense and security issues. He serves the NATO and Five Eyes defense agencies, helping them improve operational efficiency, agility, and logistics while preserving and enhancing combat readiness.

He also leads the firm’s work globally in security, assisting clients in law enforcement, corrections, immigration, and intelligence. He helps these organizations design more effective law-enforcement processes, build capabilities, and enhance public safety. In addition, he advises clients on the development and use of bespoke analytics solutions to deliver exceptional outcomes.

Examples of Ben’s work in defense:

  • leading a multiyear program to improve operations and reduce sustainment costs for a multirole Tactical Air Training platform, including developing and deploying tools to optimize complex trade-offs between mission readiness and cost
  • developing an innovative performance-based logistics-support strategy, including delivering on the first phase, for a swing-role combat aircraft; this included engaging second-tier suppliers to reduce total cost of ownership in engines, avionics, and hydro-mechanical systems
  • leading a strategic review of a high-readiness light mechanized brigade to identify methods to increase the utilization of combat and support assets and to improve brigade performance by rebalancing investments in training and equipment to match requirements in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan

Examples of his work in security:

  • conducting a top-to-bottom reform of one of the largest corrections departments in the United States, including the development of a suite of advanced analytic tools to classify, house, and monitor high-risk inmates and intercept and interrupt organized-crime syndicates
  • piloting a multichannel open-source platform with five leading global law-enforcement, intelligence, and immigration agencies to improve their understanding of and relationship with the community, to anticipate and prevent gang-related violence, and to monitor domestic and foreign terror threats
  • leading department-wide performance transformations with three of the largest police forces in the United States, with a three-part focus on reducing crime, improving community collaboration, and enhancing officer professionalism
  • developing a comprehensive national-security strategy for a Latin American country that encompassed improving police operation, stemming counternarcotics trafficking, and building cross-agency intelligence

Published work

Confronting the risks of artificial intelligence,” McKinsey Quarterly, April 2019

Improving disaster recovery,” McKinsey & Company, June 2015

Performance improvement and the stimulus,” (PDF–191 KB), McKinsey on Governance, Summer 2009

Private investment opportunities in public transport,” (PDF–193 KB), McKinsey Quarterly, April 2007


UK Ministry of Defence
Chief of Defence Logistics Commendation

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Tucker-Voss Award


Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MSc, civil engineering

University of Pennsylvania
BA, architecture