Deputy Director of the National Security Program

Ben Freeman, Ph.D

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Dr. Freeman grew up working in the family business, selling sea shells by the sea shore (seriously), and was headed down that path until the George W. Bush administration chose to invade Iraq—a decision Ben fundamentally disagreed with. So, he did what any aspiring sea shell seller would do: went to graduate school for six years, earning a Master’s degree and Ph.D. in Political Science to shape national security policy in D.C.

Ben’s passion for understanding what went wrong with the decision to invade Iraq and the subsequent occupation, has led him to become an expert in the defense budget. From major weapon systems to the smallest service contracts to the costs of fighting wars, there are few areas where the Department of Defense spends money that Ben doesn’t know intimately. At Third Way, he uses this expertise to inform policymakers by providing cutting-edge analyses of the budget, including identifying wasteful spending at the Pentagon and illustrating how we can better manage the challenges of declining defense budgets.

Previously, Ben worked at the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), where he investigated waste, fraud, and abuse at the Pentagon and testified before the Senate on the military’s unprecedented top-heavy command structure. Before making the transition to policy wonk, Ben was known only as “Dr. Freeman” to his students in Texas A&M’s Political Science Department and Bush School of Government and Public Service. While earning his Ph.D. in Political Science at Texas A&M, Ben laid the groundwork for what would become his first book, The Foreign Policy Auction, an investigation of the foreign influence industry in America.

While he’s come a long way from the sea shells at the seashore, he never forgets what drove him to leave those beautiful Florida beaches behind—a passion for making the U.S., and the world, a safer place to live. 

Follow Ben on Twitter @BenFreemanDC.