Mark Cancian

About Mark Cancian

Mark Cancian (Colonel, USMCR, ret.) is a senior adviser with the CSIS International Security Program. He joined CSIS in April 2015 from the Office of Management and Budget, where he spent more than seven years as chief of the Force Structure and Investment Division, working on issues such as Department of Defense budget strategy, war funding, and procurement programs, as well as nuclear weapons development and nonproliferation activities in the Department of Energy.

Continuing Resolution Fears? OCO’s Ugly But It Might Work

The Trump administration proposed to add $30 billion to defense ($25 billion to the base, plus $5 billion for additional war requirements), but uber-deficit hawk Michael Mulvaney, the new director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB), required that half the defense increase be paid for by offsets to domestic programs. The result is a standoff: deficit hawks vs. defense hawks vs. most Democrats and the BCA hanging over all.

Reforming the Civilian Workforce: Two Carrots and Two Sticks

President-elect Donald Trump has proposed two goals for the federal government’s civilian workforce: making it smaller and increasing its quality. Both have also been long time Republican Party goals. Shrinking the size of the federal workforce can be accomplished initially by a hiring freeze, as Trump has pledged. To have a long term effect, however, the administration should concurrently conduct a broad analysis of all elements of government personnel to realign functions to the least cost component able to do the job. Improving the quality of the federal workforce, as Trump as also pledged, can be accomplished by tying compensation to skills, performance, and market factors, making elimination of poor performers easier, and expanding hiring authorities. Carrots and Sticks By ... Read more

National Security Reform: What Happened in Congress?

Summary On December 23, 2016, President Obama signed the long-awaited National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2017. The act makes more changes to national security organizations and processes than any legislation since the landmark Goldwater–Nichols act of 1986. The national security community has been watching this legislation closely, not only because of the large changes expected to occur, but also because of the interplay between the Senate and the House. Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, had taken an aggressive posture on reform, while the House’s approach was viewed as more measured. This paper looks at the NDAA outcome issue-by-issue to see what it means for a new administration. It focuses on changes to structure ... Read more

Rebuilding Military Forces: Needed, But In Phases

During the campaign, President–elect Trump laid out his vision for military forces: a regular Army of 540,000 soldiers, a Navy of 350 ships, an Air Force of 1,200 fighter attack aircraft, a Marine Corps of 36 active-duty infantry battalions, plus increased missile defense and cyber capabilities. (For additional detail on the president-elect’s proposal, see my analysis here. For a discussion of the status and issues regarding U.S. military forces, see my monograph U.S. Military Forces in the FY 2017 Budget). There is broad agreement in the national security community that additional forces are needed to meet the demand of on-going conflicts, crisis response, and wartime surge. The new administration should therefore begin some force expansion immediately. However, it should implement ... Read more

Two Cheers for OCO: Grease For Budget Wheels

Trump’s and Clinton’s Defense Policies Are Pricier Than Obama’s

Authorizing Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC)

In its FY 2017 budget proposal, the administration, for the fifth year running, requested authority for another base realignment and closing (BRAC) round.

Trump Proffers Pentagon Specifics: $60B More To Boost Troops, Ships

Revising the Strategy Formulation Process and Related Documents

There is widespread dissatisfaction with the existing strategy formulation process and resulting documents because of their perceived lack of prioritization.

Lengthening Tenure of the Chairman and Vice Chairman

Both the House and Senate bills contain provisions to lengthen the term of service for the CJCS from two years to four.