Cindy Williams is a Research Affiliate of the Security Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she was a Principal Research Scientist of the Security Studies Program until her retirement in 2013. Her work at MIT includes studies of budgets and budgeting for national security and international affairs and research into the capabilities and personnel practices of armed forces in North America and Europe. Formerly she was an Assistant Director of the Congressional Budget Office, where she led the National Security Division. Dr. Williams has served as a director and in other capacities at the MITRE Corporation in Bedford, Massachusetts; as a member of the Senior Executive Service in the Office of the Secretary of Defense; and as a mathematician at RAND.
Dr. Williams holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of California, Irvine. She teaches a course at MIT on U.S. national security budgets. She is co-author, with Gordon Adams, of Buying National Security: How America Plans and Pays for Its Global Role and Safety at Home (Routledge 2010). She is co-editor, with Curtis Gilroy, of Service to Country: Personnel Policy and the Transformation of Western Militaries (MIT Press 2006). She is the editor of Filling the Ranks: Transforming the U.S. Military Personnel System (MIT Press 2004) and Holding the Line: U.S. Defense Alternatives for the Early 21st Century (MIT Press 2001). She is a former Shapiro Professor of the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University and a former member of the Naval Studies Board. She is an elected fellow and a former member of the board of directors of the National Academy of Public Administration and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She serves on the editorial board of International Security and the advisory board of the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs at the Bush School of Government and Public Service of Texas A&M University.