Past Event

The Big Picture

A Unified National Security Budget

12:00 AM - 11:59 PM EDT

The Big Picture
A Unified National Security Budget

May 16, 2005
As budget wars flare up in Congress, discussions are focused on specific programs and line items. Lost in the debate, as usual, is the bigger picture. In what direction does the overarching flow of federal funds steer us? And does the budget reflect our priorities? For two years, Foreign Policy in Focus and the Center for Defense Information have been leading a task force of military and non-military security experts to craft a strategy for a unified national security budget that integrates the offensive, defensive, and preventive elements of our national defense and assesses tradeoffs among all three components. The budgets of the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, State, Treasury and Energy can no longer be viewed separately when the concerns that motivate them are shared. To confront the reality of today’s national security environment, we must look beyond the usual arguments over military hardware and direct more funds to programs ranging from port inspection to foreign assistance to public diplomacy. As FPIF and CDI release their latest version of the “Unified Security Budget for the United States” amid unprecedented constraints in federal resources, the need to reframe our spending priorities takes on a new urgency.

Video & Transcript
 Welcoming remarks: Video
 Drew Portacerra: Video
• Emira Woods: Video
• Lawrence J. Korb: Video
• Miriam Pemberton: Video
• Marcus Corbin: Video
• Thomas Donnelly: Video
• Q&A Session: Video
• Transcript: Full Text  (PDF)

Note: All video provided in QuickTime (MPEG-4)  format.

Miriam Pemberton is a Research Fellow at Foreign Policy in Focus, a joint project of the Institute for Policy Studies and the International Relations Center. She and Marcus co-chaired the Task Force that produced last year’s Unified Security Budget for the United States. Her writing recently has focused on federal budget priorities, military spending and the economic costs of the Iraq war. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.
Thomas Donnelly is a Resident Fellow at American Enterprise Institute and the author of AEI’s National Security Outlook. At AEI he specializes in defense and national security. His most recent book, Operation Iraqi Freedom: A Strategic Assessment was released in July 2004. From 1995 to 1999, Mr. Donnelly was Policy Group Director and a professional staff member for the Committee on National Security (now named the Committee on Armed Services) in the U.S. House of Representatives. He has also been Editor of Army Times and Deputy Editor of Defense News.
Marcus Corbin rejoined the Center for Defense Information in 2000 as a Senior Analyst to work on CDI’s Straus Military Reform Project. He co-authored a national defense review published by CDI entitled “Reforging the Sword: Forces for A 21st Century Security Strategy.” During 1996-2000 he was Director of Defense Investigations at the Project On Government Oversight, where he focused on procurement, defense industry, and military reform issues. In 1995-96, Corbin was a Senior Research Analyst at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, D.C. At FAS he worked with the Military Analysis Network, a project principally focused on analyzing U.S. military strategy, forces, and spending. From 1989 to 1995 Corbin analyzed military issues at CDI. His portfolio at the Center included military spending and defense industry, as well as Korea, Japan, and current wars around the world. Corbin directed the Center’s Military Spending Project, which provided policymakers and the public with information about military spending. Corbin has also worked at the World Bank and the National Security Archives. He obtained his Master’s degree in International Relations from the School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. in 1988, and his undergraduate degree in Public Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University in 1984.
Lawrence J. Korb is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and Senior Advisor to the Center for Defense Information. He was Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Reagan Administration (1981-85). Prior to joining the Center, he was a Senior Fellow and Director of National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. From July 1998 to October 2002, he was Council Vice President, Director of Studies, and holder of the Maurice Greenberg Chair. Prior to joining the Council, Mr. Korb served as Director of the Center for Public Policy Education and Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution, Dean of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, and Vice President of Corporate Operations at the Raytheon Company. Mr. Korb served as Assistant Secretary of Defense (Manpower, Reserve Affairs, Installations and Logistics) from 1981 through 1985. In that position, he administered about 70 percent of the Defense budget. For his service in that position, he was awarded the Department of Defense’s medal for Distinguished Public Service. Mr. Korb served on active duty for four years as Naval Flight Officer, and retired from the Naval Reserve with the rank of Captain.


The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. We work to find progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems and develop policy proposals that foster a government that is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Foreign Policy In Focus (FPIF) is a think tank for research, analysis, and action that brings together scholars, advocates, and activists who strive to make the United States a more responsible global partner. The International Relations Center (IRC) in Silver City, New Mexico and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington, D.C. have jointly managed FPIF since 1996. FPIF provides timely analysis of U.S. foreign policy and international affairs and recommends policy alternatives. We believe U.S. security and world stability are best advanced through a commitment to peace, justice and environmental protection as well as economic, political, and social rights. We advocate that diplomatic solutions, global cooperation, and grassroots participation guide foreign policy.

The Center for Defense Information provides expert analysis of the myriad components of U.S. national security, international security and defense policy. CDI seeks to contribute alternative views on security in order to promote wide-ranging discourse and debate on issues such as nuclear weapons, space security, missile defense, small arms, and military transformation.