Winslow Wheeler is the Director of the Straus Military Reform Project of the Center for Defense Information in Washington, DC. He has authored two books: The Wastrels of Defense (US Naval Institute Press) about Congress and national security, and Military Reform (Greenwood Publishers) on the serious, fundamental problems that currently face America’s defenses. He released a new anthology (America’s Defense Meltdown: Pentagon Reform for President Obama and the New Congress) after the presidential elections to help guide the new president out of the national security mess that Republicans and Democrats have jointly created in Washington.
From 1971 to 2002, Wheeler worked on national security issues for members of the U.S. Senate and for the US Government Accountability Office (GAO). In the Senate, Wheeler advised Jacob K. Javits (R. NY), Nancy L. Kassebaum (R, KS), David Pryor (D, AR), and Pete V. Domenici (R, NM). He was the first, and according to Senate records the last, Senate staffer to work simultaneously on the personal staffs of a Republican and a Democrat (Pryor and Kassebaum).
In the Senate staff, Wheeler was heavily involved in legislating the War Powers Act, Pentagon reform legislation, arms control and foreign policy, and oversight of the defense budget and weapons programs.
At GAO, he directed comprehensive studies on the 1991 Gulf War air campaign, the US strategic nuclear triad, and Pentagon weapons testing. Each of these studies found prevailing conventional wisdom about weapons to be badly misinformed.
In 2002 when he worked on the Republican staff of the Senate Budget Committee, Wheeler authored an essay, under the pseudonym “Spartacus,” addressing Congress’ reaction to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks (“Mr. Smith Is Dead: No One Stands in the Way as Congress Lards Post-September 11 Defense Bills with Pork”). When senators criticized in the essay attempted to have Wheeler fired, he resigned his position.
Wheeler joined the Center for Defense Information immediately after leaving Capitol Hill.