National Security Experts


Winslow T. Wheeler

Biography provided by participant

Winslow T. Wheeler is the Director of the Straus Military Reform Project of the Center for Defense Information in Washington, DC. He has authored two books: "The Wastrels of Defense" (US Naval Institute Press) about Congress and national security, and "Military Reform" (Greenwood Publishers) on the serious, fundamental problems that currently face America's defenses. He released a new anthology ("America's Defense Meltdown") after the presidential elections to help guide the new president out of the national security mess that Republicans and Democrats have jointly created in Washington. From 1971 to 2002, Wheeler worked on national security issues for members of the U.S. Senate and for the US Government Accountability Office (GAO). In the Senate, Wheeler advised Jacob K. Javits (R. NY), Nancy L. Kassebaum (R, KS), David Pryor (D, AR), and Pete V. Domenici (R, NM). He was the first, and according to Senate records the last, Senate staffer to work simultaneously on the personal staffs of a Republican and a Democrat (Pryor and Kassebaum). In the Senate staff, Wheeler was heavily involved in legislating the War Powers Act, Pentagon reform legislation, arms control and foreign policy, and oversight of the defense budget and weapons programs. At GAO, he directed comprehensive studies on the 1991 Gulf War air campaign, the U.S. strategic nuclear triad, and Pentagon weapons testing. Each of these studies found prevailing conventional wisdom about weapons to be badly misinformed. In 2002 when he worked on the Republican staff of the Senate Budget Committee, Wheeler authored an essay, under the pseudonym "Spartacus," addressing Congress' reaction to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks ("Mr. Smith Is Dead: No One Stands in the Way as Congress Lards Post-September 11 Defense Bills with Pork"). When senators criticized in the essay attempted to have Wheeler fired, he resigned his position. Wheeler joined the Center for Defense Information immediately after leaving Capitol Hill. He has periodically appeared in interviews on national TV and radio and has written articles and commentaries for national, local, and professional publications. These venues include "60 Minutes," C-SPAN's "Book Notes," National Public Radio, the PBS News Hour, the Washington Post, the Politico, Mother Jones, Barron's, Defense News, and Armed Forces Journal. He lives with his wife, Judy, and son, Matthew, in Maryland. Another son, Winslow B., lives in Florida with his wife and their three sons.

Recent Responses

August 11, 2010 03:44 PM

Based on Gates comments and the DOD press release, I understand the announcements to include the following (with my comments appended).

1) 10% reduction per year for three years in "support contractors." (The total number of these contractors appears to be unknown. One estimate is that the DOD contractors number 790,000; other numbers are higher. In any case, the denominator for this 10% reduction appears to be unknown. Also, it is unclear if this 10% reduction pertains to all contractors or a subset. If the correct number is 790,000, will there actually be three years of reductions of 79,000 of these people?)

2) A freeze of the number of OSD, defense agency, and COMCOM "billets" at the 2010 level for three years. Plus, no more OSD positions to replace contractors ("except for critical needs") and a "clean sheet review" of what everybody is doing. This "rebaselining" will res

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August 2, 2010 12:50 PM

The miscreant uncle crashed the family Lexus and was charged with reckless driving. His response to the judge when told he needed to learn self-control? “I want a Ferrari.”

The analogy can go on (the family couldn’t afford the Lexus; it was in bad need of a complete overhaul, etc.), but the point should be obvious. Having participated avidly in driving our military forces into the ground, the members of the recently released “Final Report of the Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel” have proposed that more of the same is inadequate; they want much more of the same.

Most of the members of this panel have been reported to have some conflicts of interest (find a USA Today article at That, in itself, is more of the same for a panel appointed by the Pentagon and Congress

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