Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments

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Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
TypeDefense think tank
Headquarters1667 K Street NW
Thomas Mahnken
Revenue (2016)
Expenses (2016)$7,824,908[1]

The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) is an independent, non-profit, Washington, D.C.-based think tank specializing in US defense policy, force planning, and budgets. It is headed by Dr. Thomas G. Mahnken. According to its website, CSBA's mission is

to promote innovative thinking and debate about national security strategy, defense planning and military investment options ... [and] to enable policymakers to make informed decisions in matters of strategy, security policy and resource allocation.[2]

CSBA emphasizes initiatives the United States and its allies can take to wisely invest in the future, even during periods of fiscal austerity and uncertainty. CSBA evaluates its policy proposals through the net assessment methodology, wargaming, and by estimated impact on the Department of Defense budget over multiple Future Years Defense Programs.


CSBA traces its origins to the Defense Budget Project, which was established by Gordon Adams in 1983 at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in order to "fill a vital information gap in the policy debate" during the Reagan Administration's defense buildup." In May 1995, the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments was incorporated in its current form. Over the next two decades, CSBA played a prominent role in the debate over the revolution in military affairs (RMA) and the transformation of the US military.

Since September 11, 2001, CSBA has focused its analysis on linking near-term requirements to longer term challenges. According to the group's website, CSBA "looks out two to three decades to identify emerging security challenges and opportunities." CSBA describes its current efforts as "drawing attention to a set of worrisome and profound emerging areas of concern: a rising China threat in the Pacific Theater; a nuclear-armed Iran; maintaining the US defense industrial base; and realigning the defense budget." Over the past few years, CSBA has played a prominent role in the ongoing development of an AirSea Battle concept by the U.S. Air Force and Navy.[3] Following cuts to U.S. defense spending and accelerating foreign military modernization, CSBA has also taken a lead role in highlighting the need to rebalance the Department of Defense's force structure[4] and invest wisely for future challenges.[5]

CSBA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization. The group's public education and research program is funded by grants and contributions from a range of foundations and corporations. The majority of CSBA's income comes from research support under contract with the Department of Defense, military Services, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).


Notable key personnel employed by CSBA have included:

  • Dr. Thomas G. Mahnken, President (2016–present)
  • Andrew Krepinevich, Jr., (LTC, USA, ret.) President, (1993 to 2016)
  • Eric Edelman, Distinguished Fellow, former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy (2005–2009), Ambassador to Turkey (2003–2005), Ambassador to Finland (1998–2001)
  • Todd Harrison, Senior Fellow
  • Bryan Clark (CDR, USN, ret.), Senior Fellow, former Special Assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations

Distinguished alumni[edit]

  • Robert O. Work (Col, USMC, ret.), former Vice President for Strategic Studies, now Deputy Secretary of Defense
  • Michael G. Vickers, former Vice President for Strategic Studies, now Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations / Low-Intensity Conflict & Interdependent Capabilities (SO/LIC&IC)

Board of directors[edit]

Notable Board members include:


  1. ^ a b "Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments" (PDF). Foundation Center. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Our Mission". Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  3. ^ Carreno, Jose (August 2010). "What's New About the AirSea Battle Concept?". U.S. Naval Institute. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  4. ^ Anfilofyeva, Natalya (4 September 2014). "2015 Budget Insufficient for Defense Strategy". Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  5. ^ Freedberg Jr., Sydney J. (16 November 2014). "Hagel Lists Key Technologies For US Military; Launches 'Offset Strategy'". Breaking Defense. Retrieved 17 April 2018.

External links[edit]