Business Executives for National Security
Business Executives for National Security (BENS) is an American nonpartisan, nonprofit organization. Founded in 1982 by mining executive Stanley A. Weiss, BENS provides a channel through which senior American business leaders volunteer their experience and expertise to help national security agencies become more efficient and effective. BENS has 7 regional offices across the country, with a national office based in Washington, D.C.
BENS’ early work focused extensively on initiatives aimed at U.S.-Soviet threat reduction and inefficiencies within support functions of the Department of Defense, e.g., the maintenance and construction of military housing. The organization was also active in BRAC, championing the process and helping develop transition plans for locations affected by base closure. Over the last decade, the organization expanded their focus, addressing issues such as cybersecurity, domestic counterterrorism, and talent management. They have also broadened their partnerships to include other government agencies such as the Departments of State, Treasury, and Homeland Security; the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; and the unified combatant commands. Work provided by BENS members is pro bono.
The organization's current president and CEO is retired Air Force General Norton A. Schwartz, the 19th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, and their current chairman is Norman C. Chambers, former Chairman of NCI Building Systems. Prominent members include Jeff Bezos, John P. Morgridge, and Charles E. Phillips.