The Center of Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) is an independent, nonprofit public policy research institute established to promote innovative thinking and debate about national security strategy, defense planning and military investment options for the 21st century. Founded in 1983 as the Defense Budget Project, CSBA has long been a leading source of independent, path-breaking research focused on the future of defense and defense budget data and analysis.
The heart of CSBA is its staff of uniquely qualified defense experts who conduct in-depth strategic and budgetary analyses. Experts include military veterans representing the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, with over 130 years cumulative experience in joint military operations. The staff also includes a number of experts who have served in senior level policymaking positions within the Department of Defense, Department of State and the National Security Council.
CSBA experts and strategists bring the benefit of diverse backgrounds and experiences to our research. Our research methods include:
Analytic studies look 20–30 years forward and are informed by history. They frame security developments in a broader context of strategic competition and identify critical areas of competition, particularly with regards to technological development, as well as the competitive advantages and disadvantages of the United States and potential adversaries. They take into account bureaucratic considerations and their influence on policy.
CSBA’s staff has the experience and technical knowledge to craft solutions to operational problems that leverage both new technologies and existing capabilities in unique ways. These concepts can be used to guide U.S. military training and investment decisions.
CSBA crafts scenarios that explore plausible future threats to U.S. national security in order to guard against strategic surprise. It uses these to assess present-day measures that may mitigate or preclude those challenges.
For over two decades, CSBA has conducted wargames that examine the many facets of modern and future military competitions—from high-end conflict against peer adversaries to gray zone situations to economic warfare. The wargaming environment allows participants to explore a range of possible responses to current and future challenges as well as expose shortcoming and vulnerabilities in current approaches.
CSBA’s workshops and seminars bring together a range of experts to consider potential responses to challenges facing the United States, from the tactical to the strategic level. The diversity of expertise represented at these events creates a fertile environment for cross-cutting insights and creative thinking.
CSBA has a long history of budgetary analyses that provide insights into the resourcing tradeoffs facing the nation and recommendations for efficiently allocating resources to meet national security challenges.
CSBA also runs programs and conducts events that engage with both the public and decision makers.