Mark Gunzinger

Mark Gunzinger

Senior Fellow

Areas of Expertise

Strategy Development, Force Planning, Long-Term Military Competition, Defense Transformation, Air Warfare, Quadrennial Defense Review


Mark Gunzinger is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

Mr. Gunzinger has served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Forces Transformation and Resources. He is the principal author or co-author of multiple Defense Planning Guidance directives, key strategic planning documents that shape DoD force planning. A retired Air Force Colonel and Command Pilot, he joined the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2004. He was appointed to the Senior Executive Service and served as Principal Director of the Department’s central staff for the 2005–2006 QDR. Following the 2006 QDR, he was appointed Director for Defense Transformation, Force Planning and Resources on the National Security Council staff.

Mr. Gunzinger holds a Master of Science degree in National Security Strategy from the National War College, a Master of Airpower Art and Science degree from the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, a Master of Public Administration from Central Michigan University, and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the United States Air Force Academy (Class of 1977).

He is the recipient of the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Medal, the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service, the Defense Superior Service Medal, and the Legion of Merit Medal.

Author Bibliography for Mark Gunzinger

The Unserious Air War Against ISIS

October 15, 2014 • By Mark Gunzinger and John StillionAnalysis

The campaign against Serbia in 1999 averaged 138 strike sorties daily. Against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria: seven. Since U.S. planes first struck targets in Iraq on Aug. 8,…

Toward a Balanced Combat Air Force

April 11, 2014 • By Mark Gunzinger and David A. Deptula

In what may prove to be a brief strategic pause following the end of major operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, Congress and DoD have the opportunity to accord priority to…

The Next Carrier Air Wing: Stealthy UCAS Needed for Contested Airspace

February 24, 2014 • By Mark Gunzinger and Bryan ClarkAnalysis

In early February, analysts from four Washington think tanks held a public event to recommend how the Pentagon could walk the fine line between developing a future military capable of…

Congress Handcuffs Pentagon Cost-Cutters

January 26, 2014 • By Todd Harrison and Mark GunzingerAnalysis

Bases that can’t be closed, weapons that can’t be retired, benefits that can’t be touched. What’s left? The essentials. While the budget battles in recent years have been difficult for…

Telling Hard Truths: Budget Cuts Are Coming; Protect Crown Jewels

June 24, 2013 • By Evan B. Montgomery and Mark GunzingerAnalysis

In August 2011, the Budget Control Act was signed into law and sequestration quickly became a buzzword in Washington. Facing the prospect of $500 billion in defense cuts over the…