Can We Demilitarize the Economy? Loosening the Grip of the Pentagon

For the second year in a row, Congress is poised to add tens of billions of dollars to the Pentagon budget beyond what the department even asked for.  This urge to spend ever more on the Pentagon is driven in part by special interest politics – the jobs and income tied to the funding of weapons programs and military bases in states and Congressional Districts. Without implementing a strategy to reduce the economic dependency of communities around the country on military outlays it will be extremely difficult to reduce Pentagon spending and develop a more balanced approach to promoting the safety and security of America and the world.  This panel will look at ways to demilitarize the U.S. economy and pave the path to a more sensible approach to national defense.


Miriam Pemberton

Miriam Pemberton has been researching the military economy for decades, as a Research Fellow, now Associate Fellow, at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC. Her new book, Six Stops on the National Security Tour: Rethinking Warfare Economies, came out this month from Routledge Press. With William Hartung she edited Lessons from Iraq: Avoiding the Next War (Paradigm, 2008). She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

Heidi Peltier

Heidi Peltier is a Senior Researcher at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs and the Director of Programs for the Costs of War Project. Peltier is an Economist who has written on military-related topics including the employment impacts of military and other public spending; military contracting, or what she calls the “Camo Economy. ‘ She is the author of the book, Creating a Clean-Energy Economy: How Investments in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Can Create Jobs in a Sustainable Economy. Heidi has served as a consultant with the U.S. Department of Energy, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the International Labor Organization, and various other organizations.

Emma Claire Foley

Emma Claire Foley is Associate Partner for Policy and Research at Global Zero, where she works on research related to nuclear nonproliferation, risk reduction, disarmament advocacy efforts, and monitoring domestic and international policy developments. She received her Master’s degree from Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, and her Bachelor’s degree in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies and History from the University of Michigan. She is the author of The Real Cost of ICBMs: U.S. Economic Development Beyond Defense Spending

William Hartung

William D. Hartung is a senior research fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. His work focuses on the arms industry and the U.S. military budget. He was previously director of the Arms and Security Program at the Center for International Policy and co-director of the Center’s Sustainable Defense Task Force. He is the author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military Industrial Complex. He is also author of “Pathways to Pentagon Spending Reductions: Removing the Obstacles,” Quincy Institute, March 2022.