BENS Focus Areas
Addressing Today's and Tomorrow's National Security Challenges and change it on the menu from Projects to Focus Areas

At BENS, we are dedicated to fortifying national security through strategic initiatives in four key focus areas: Geopolitical Risk Assessment & Economic Security, Technology Advancements, Defense Innovation & Readiness, and Critical Infrastructure Protection. Through collaborative efforts and actionable insights, we empower leaders from the private sector and national security enterprise to address complex challenges and ensure enduring strength in the face of evolving threats.

Strengthening the Future Industrial Network


Improving the Department of Defense’s ability to fully access and leverage the innovation and productivity of the nation’s industrial base.

Learn more by reading General Joe Votel's remarks outlining the BENS mission and its focus on the Future of the Industrial Network (FIN)

The U.S. industrial base produces technologies and capabilities that help defend the United States and its allies. BENS helps partners across the Department of Defense modernize practices and procedures designed for 20th century industry to better align them with the 21st century industrial base. This work entails discussions with service acquisition arms on improving their access to innovation, outreach to Pentagon leadership on acquisition reform, and thought leadership on the trends driving the future of the industrial base.

Developing the National Security Workforce

National Security Workforce

Providing expertise on human capital strategy, recruitment and retention to ensure the national security community has the best talent America has to offer.

Building and maintaining a skilled and agile workforce is a priority across the national security enterprise, and since 2014, BENS members have helped government partners tackle a range of their workforce challenges – from recruitment and retention to diversity, equity and inclusion. Today, a Special Working Group comprised of senior executives with extensive experience in leadership development and talent management serves as a dedicated resource for partners across the enterprise.

Technology Initiatives

Climate Change

BENS recognizes the pivotal role of technology in shaping the landscape of national security. Through our Technology Initiatives, we facilitate collaboration and bring together experts to leverage and safeguard cutting-edge advancements such as AI, biotech, quantum computing, cybersecurity, and big data analytics to fortify our nation's defense and critical infrastructure.

In today's rapidly evolving world, technology serves as a cornerstone of national security, revolutionizing the ways in which we protect our interests and confront emerging threats. BENS, as a catalyst for private sector expertise and public-private collaboration, plays a critical role of convening experts that will employ a multifaceted approach to both leverage and protect cutting-edge technologies such as AI, biotech, quantum computing, cybersecurity, and big data analytics. This dual focus strengthens national defense and critical infrastructure, ensuring resilience against evolving challenges.

Our Technology initiatives encompass a comprehensive strategy aimed at both leveraging and safeguarding cutting-edge advancements crucial to modern defense and infrastructure systems. Technologies ranging from artificial intelligence and biotechnology to quantum computing and cybersecurity provide unprecedented opportunities for enhancing capabilities, yet also introduce new challenges and vulnerabilities. Through its extensive network of relationships, BENS serves as a facilitator at the forefront of addressing these dual imperatives, ensuring the protection of our nation's critical assets against emerging threats in an increasingly complex landscape.

Building upon our Geopolitical Risk Assessment & Economic Security initiatives, BENS takes a targeted approach to technology, recognizing its pivotal role in modern national security. Through various engagements like round-table discussions, tech engagement forums, and strategic workshops, we facilitate collaboration and exchange of insights focused on leveraging cutting-edge technologies to bolster our nation's defense.

Our project initiatives delve into specific technological security challenges, fostering innovation and developing practical solutions through collaborative efforts. Additionally, our National Security Travel Program offers immersive experiences to provide firsthand exposure to technology's critical role in national security, enhancing understanding of both domestic and international complexities.

Furthermore, we actively engage with stakeholders across sectors, harnessing their expertise to help inform comprehensive technological solutions to security challenges. Through these collaborative efforts, BENS strengthens our nation's defense capabilities, ensuring resilience against evolving global threats and promoting stability and prosperity.

Geopolitical Risk Assessment & Economic Security Initiatives


At BENS, we recognize that geopolitical shifts and economic vulnerabilities pose significant threats to our nation's security. Through our Geopolitical Risk Assessment & Economic Security initiatives, we actively foster collaboration and strategic foresight by leveraging the expertise and insights of the private sector's best and brightest, who are acutely familiar with the impacts of a fragile geopolitical environment and its economic consequences. These insights are invaluable as they advise senior leaders in the national security enterprise who are on the front lines of some of the most vexing geopolitical challenges facing our nation. It is of critical importance that both sectors share their unique perspectives and insights, guiding our collective efforts to effectively address the complex security challenges we face.

In today's complex geopolitical landscape, safeguarding our nation's security demands proactive engagement and collaboration across sectors. BENS, as a leader in fostering public-private collaboration and actionable insights, recognizes the critical importance of addressing geopolitical risk and economic vulnerabilities to protect our national interests.

Building upon our Geopolitical Risk Assessment & Economic Security initiatives, we implement a comprehensive strategy that unites business executives with senior national security leaders to confront our nation's most pressing security challenges head-on. Through various engagements, including small group discussions, round-tables, and war-gaming exercises, we facilitate the exchange of insights and recommendations among diverse stakeholders. These efforts are complemented by our project initiatives, which delve deeper into specific security challenges and foster innovative solutions through collaborative efforts.

Additionally, our National Security Travel Program provides members with immersive experiences, offering firsthand exposure to the intricacies of the national security landscape. These experiences enhance our understanding of both domestic and international security complexities.

Furthermore, we actively engage with key stakeholders across sectors, fostering a culture of collaboration and knowledge-sharing. By leveraging the collective expertise of government agencies and business leaders, we develop comprehensive solutions to complex security challenges.

Through these concerted efforts and collaborative partnerships, BENS strengthens our nation's defense capabilities, ensuring enduring strength and resilience in the face of evolving global challenges. Our proactive engagement and strategic foresight enable us to navigate the complexities of geopolitical and economic landscapes, safeguarding our national interests and promoting stability and prosperity for all.

Special Projects

The Commission on the National Response Enterprise

When COVID-19 exposed critical weaknesses in America’s planning and processes for responding to threats and emergencies, BENS convened its Commission on the National Response Enterprise (CNRE) to develop substantive recommendations for a path forward.

The Commission was comprised of some of the United States’ most accomplished leaders on this issue—from four-star generals, admirals, and former cabinet-level officials, to past and present CEOs of some of the country’s most respected corporations to research and analyze the many facets of an effective emergency response and identify opportunities for improvement. (Credit...Gerald Herbert/Associated Press)

Sharpening DOD's Competitive Edge: Tail-to-Tooth at 20

BENS hosted a public forum on February 24 on the 20th anniversary of our Tail-to- Tooth Commission, which in 2001 convened defense and business leaders to devise recommendations focused on reducing excessive Pentagon overhead and inefficient functions that took away from the resources available for U.S. warfighters.

The virtual public forum brought together BENS members and former Secretaries, Deputy Secretaries and other experts to celebrate the legacy of the original Commission and advance the next decade of transformations that will assist the DOD in adapting to geostrategic competition in an environment of burgeoning defense and budgetary challenges.