Director, Arms & Security Program


William D. Hartung is the director of the Arms and Security Program at CIP and a senior adviser to the center's Security Assistance Monitor. He is the author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex (Nation Books, 2011) and the co-editor, with Miriam Pemberton, of Lessons from Iraq: Avoiding the Next War (Paradigm Press, 2008). His previous books include And Weapons for All (HarperCollins, 1995), a critique of U.S. arms sales policies from the Nixon through Clinton administrations.


From July 2007 through March 2011, Mr. Hartung was the director of the Arms and Security Initiative at the New America Foundation. Prior to that, he served as the director of the Arms Trade Resource Center at the World Policy Institute. He also worked as a speechwriter and policy analyst for New York State Attorney General Robert Abrams. Bill Hartung’s articles on security issues have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The Nation, and the World Policy Journal.


He has been a featured expert on national security issues on CBS 60 Minutes, NBC Nightly News, the PBS Newshour, CNN, Fox News, and scores of local, regional, and international radio outlets. He blogs for the Huffington Post, the Hill, and Medium.

Recent Publications

Issue Brief: Turkey's Invasion of Syria, Made in the U.S.A.

After essentially giving a green light to Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria to attack the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) forces, President Trump took a slight turn when he declared that there would be severe economic consequences for Turkey’s economy if the intervention was not carried out in a “humane” fashion. If the president were to take action to try to stem a military incursion that he helped facilitate, he could start by cutting off support for Turkey’s military, which is heavily dependent on U.S.-supplied equipment.

by William Hartung


Latest News

Why America Needs to Rethink Its National Security Priorities


The leaders of the House Armed Services Committee just announced that they are postponing the scheduled markup of the National Defense Authorization Act to “a later time.” Good. It gives policymakers time to rethink their assumptions about what constitutes national security and how much money America should be spending on the military threats that have dominated traditional thinking.

co-authored by William Hartung

Arms & Security Program

Five Years Later, It's Time to End the Yemen War


Five years ago this month, a Saudi-led coalition began a bombing campaign in Yemen that was designed to defeat Houthi rebels and their allies and restore the government of Abd-Rubba Mansour Hadi, which the Houthis had overthrown. The Saudis and their backers naively assumed that it would be a short war – perhaps a matter of a few months at most. Five years and tens of thousands of lives later, the war has spiraled into the world’s greatest humanitarian catastrophe. With the likely spread of COVID-19 in a country whose health care system has already been devastated by the war, the situation is poised to get even worse.

by William Hartung

Arms & Security Program

Defense Giant Boeing Thinks Aerospace Needs A $60 Billion Bailout


In his 2012 book Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex, William D. Hartung noted that seeking to write your own rules and to enjoy an endless win-win scenario in the defense industry is nothing new. Since World War One, the defense industry benefited from “cost-plus contracts” where expenses were paid back by the government and automatic profit minimums were established. As Hartung writes, “these generous deals were compounded by a lack of effective oversight and minimal accountability for any malfeasance or misfeasance carried out with the taxpayers’ money.”

William Hartung quoted

Arms & Security Program

Pentagon Spending: A Primer


(Note: This article is based on a briefing for activists who will be participating in the Global Days of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS), which are being held from April 10th through May 9th, 2020.) Looked at on a global scale, in 2018 U.S. spending on the Pentagon is greater than the amounts spent by the next seven nations combined — China, Saudi Arabia, India, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Five of these seven nations are U.S. allies.

by William Hartung

Arms & Security Program

The U.S. Military Has Joined the War Against the Coronavirus. But Its Firepower Is Limited


William D. Hartung, a security analyst at the Center for International Policy, said Pentagon officials rightly point out that there are real-world limitations to relying on the military as a major player in responding to the COVID-19 crisis. “There is no substitute for a robust civilian response,” he said. “However, given that we are facing a national emergency, the Department of Defense should be showing a greater sense of urgency and flexibility in determining how best to add its existing resources to the fight against the coronavirus.”

William Hartung quoted

Arms & Security Program

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