Steven Kosiak

Adjunct Senior Fellow, Defense Program

Research Areas

Steven Kosiak is a nationally-recognized expert on the US defense and international affairs budgets, with extensive experience in national security planning and budgeting. Presently, he is a partner with ISM Strategies, a Washington, DC based consulting firm that provides high-value counsel, expert assessments and other strategic support to a range of clients working in the defense and international affairs fields. Areas of expertise include the federal budget process, especially within the Executive Branch, and the national security planning and budgeting processes within the Executive Office of the President, as well as the programs and budgets of the Department of Defense, and the Department of State and other international affairs Agencies. Mr. Kosiak is also an adjunct faculty member at American University’s School of International Service (SIS), where he teaches a graduate-level course on US Budgeting for Foreign Policy and National Security.

Prior to joining ISM Strategies in the fall of 2014, Mr. Kosiak served for five-and-a-half years as the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB’s) Associate Director for Defense and International Affairs, the senior White House official for national security and foreign policy budgeting. In that position, he was responsible for overseeing the budgets of the Departments of Defense, State/USAID, Treasury (International), and Veterans Affairs, as well as the National Nuclear Security Administration, the Intelligence Community and a range of smaller agencies. Mr. Kosiak led OMB’s oversight and direction of those agencies from the initial development of budgetary guidance, through the review of their budget submissions, OMB’s issuance of “Passback” decisions, and the resolution of agency appeals, to the drafting of the final budget request and its submission to Congress. He also served as the OMB representative to the National Security Council (NSC) Deputies Committee, and coordinated efforts to ensure that Presidential priorities were protected and advanced through agency budgets.

From 1996 to 2009, Mr. Kosiak was Vice President for Budget Studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA). While at the Center, he authored numerous reports and dozens of briefing papers, concerning everything from weapons modernization, space programs, force structure, readiness, and military compensation, to the cost of military operations, homeland security programs, and the implications for national security spending of overall federal budget trends and priorities.

Mr. Kosiak also supervised, directed and edited all staff work concerning national security spending issues, including the work of senior analysts and outside consultants. In addition, from 2000 to 2008, he served as an adjunct faculty member at Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program, where he taught a graduate-level course on US National Security Budgeting and Planning. Mr. Kosiak has been widely quoted in the national and defense media, frequently testified before Congress, and briefed many members of Congress, and senior government and industry leaders. He holds a JD from the Georgetown University Law Center (1998), a MPA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University (1986) and a BA in History and Political Science from the University of Minnesota (1982).

Support CNAS