Fiscal Security Leadership Initiative

Empowering Congressional Staff for Informed Budget Decision-Making

At the center of America’s place in the world is its budget. Without it, none of the things we have come to expect for the US’s role in the world would be possible. Congressional staff, with their unique proximity in policy-making and ability to advise Members of Congress, have an urgent need for a comprehensive understanding of fiscal security.

As Admiral Mike Mullen stated, the national debt remains our largest national security threat. In response, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget introduces the Fiscal Security Leadership Initiative. This initiative aims to illuminate how the federal budget process intersects with national and international security, and how it shapes America's global standing. Through this initiative, we expect staffers to gain a profound nonpartisan understanding of budget issues, enabling them to provide well-informed advice to Members of Congress.


This program is designed for mid to senior-level Congressional staff who are currently employed in a Member office, Senate office or House and Senate Committee staff.


  • A course consisting of six classes, held on Friday afternoons:
    • April 12, April 19, April 26, May 3, May 10, May 17
  • An in-depth exploration of the federal budget process and its implications on national security
  • Analyses of how budget outcomes affect foreign policy and defense strategies
  • Interactive simulations that enhance budgeting and policy analysis skills
  • A formal acknowledgement of completion for all program graduates

How to apply:

  • Applications are now open for the spring 2024 cohort. Please click here to apply. Applications will be open until March 29, 2024.
  • The application consists of contact information and a few questions to gauge interest in the subject.
  • In order to be considered a graduate of the program, accepted applicants must complete five out of six classes.

Why is it relevant?

With U.S. national debt surpassing $34 trillion, America's fiscal situation poses significant domestic and global challenges. High debt levels can weaken the economy, make us reliant on foreign lenders, and restrict our capacity to respond to future emergencies. This, in turn, can reduce our influence in areas such as human rights, democracy, and peacekeeping.

The consequences of fiscal imbalance extend beyond our borders. The U.S. plays a pivotal role in world affairs, and its budget decisions impact global economic stability, defense, crisis management, and humanitarian aid.

Moreover, as interest payments on national debt are set to become the federal government's largest program, the available funds for essential services like defense, foreign aid, and crisis response are dwindling.