top of page

Resourcing the National Security Enterprise: Connecting the Ends and Means of US National Security

by Susan Bryant and Mark Troutman

“This book is important because it explains how to resource national security. The hard bureaucratic work necessary to implement national security and defense policy is not glamorous, but it is essential. This collection of essays is unique in its clarity and comprehensiveness. Resourcing the National Security Enterprise is a must-read for practitioners and students in the areas of strategic studies and public policy."
H.R. McMaster
author of Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World


About the Book

Few military officers can ascend to the ranks of senior leadership without eventually being assigned to Washington, DC, where newcomers navigating the system inevitably become emmeshed, flabbergasted, and stymied by entrenched bureaucratic processes they had no idea existed. A career in diplomacy or working on the Hill often involves the process-oriented work necessary to keep departments funded and the government functional. In order to succeed, one must understand these rules, especially as they apply to resourcing. Without funding, strategies and policies are merely interesting ideas. Getting an idea or a program resourced requires a thorough understanding of the process.

Considering the national security enterprise from the standpoint of strategic resourcing is neither simple nor straightforward. To succeed requires a multidisciplinary approach; a team with substantial background knowledge on such diverse and byzantine topics as the Department of Defense acquisition system, the president’s budget submission, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Preparedness Frameworks, in addition to a basic understanding of macroeconomics. Further, the development of a cohesive and logical narrative is difficult because the Framers’ intended checks and balances among the executive and legislative branches effectively preclude the possibility of seamless integration among national security priorities. Anyone aspiring to have a career in national security must understand the process in order to be effective.

Graduate school programs in security studies, public policy, and political science offer multiple courses that consider bureaucracy from academic and theoretical perspectives, but these classes generally do not attempt to offer a practitioner’s view of surviving and thriving within the Washington bureaucracy. And although individual government departments and agencies such as the Department of Defense’s Joint Staff and the Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute (FSI) offer courses for personnel newly assigned to Washington, the majority of the learning occurs through on-the-job training.

This book fills the gap and provides a much-needed, theoretically grounded, and practical guide. Each chapter in this volume is by a practitioner with decades of experience working on resourcing issues in Washington. Their perspectives are informed by the cultures of the agencies in which they have worked and the positions they have held. Many currently teach in DC-based graduate degree programs in a variety of disciplines, including strategy, economics, and organizational leadership. Resourcing the National Security Enterprise will be a valuable resource for aspiring practitioners who are beginning or seeking careers in the American federal government and to those who wish to learn more about the inner workings of resourcing the national security enterprise.


"As we consider the national security implications of competition with China and other major powers, Resourcing the National Security Enterprise uniquely fills a gap in the basic education of national security practitioners. While budget and fiscal policy processes are chaotic, this volume mitigates the risk of mishaps, omissions, and inefficiencies the country can no longer afford in the current domestic and geo-political environment. For its encouragement to consider national security-prosperity paradigm changes, its ah-ha insights regarding process, the innovative ideas that would create synergy inside and among institutions, and its deep dive into the what-for and how of defense resourcing, this book should be required reading for all those embarking on a career in national security." —Brigadier General Kim Field (ret.)

bottom of page