MIT Security Studies research scientist wins MacArthur Grant

Dr. Cindy Williams to undertake major study national security resource planning
November 7, 2005

CAMBRIDGE, MA—Cindy Williams, Principal Research Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Security Studies Program, has received a two-year, $150,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. She will undertake a major project on national security strategy and resource planning, entitled “Improving the Nation’s Security Decisions.” Dr. Williams will partner with Gordon Adams, Director of Security Policy Studies at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. Professor Adams was awarded an additional $200,000 from the MacArthur Foundation to work on the project.

“Improving the Nation’s Security Decisions” will fill a gap in today’s knowledge about national security policy processes in the federal government. At present there is no one source that examines how the government sets priorities for national security budgets; this collaboration will provide one. 

Covering the full range of national security issues—international affairs, defense, intelligence and homeland security—this study will become an essential reference for university and professional education courses in national security resource planning.

“This year taxpayers will pour more than half a trillion dollars into national security, yet the decision-making process is so complicated that even the experts have trouble understanding it,” said Dr. Williams. “This project will shed light on how the United States plans and pays for national security, but more importantly it will show how to get more for our money.”

During the two years of the study, Dr. Williams and Professor Adams will engage federal policymakers and budget practitioners as sources of information and advisors. In addition to a book to be published by Routledge Press, Williams and Adams will produce Web materials and a Web site, briefings and articles. They also will establish a working group to evaluate the work and to help identify problems and potential solutions. A final conference will be held for senior officials to review reform proposals and provide additional insight into the national security resource process.

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