The Debt Ceiling and the Defense Budget: What’s Next for FY24

The National Security Institute and the Software in Defense Coalition held a panel discussion on the implications that the recent debt ceiling agreement will have for the FY24 Defense Budget. Several provisions will directly affect defense spending, but what are they and what will happen? How will all of this affect defense modernization, supplementals for Ukraine, and how can industry adjust to these changes? Watch the recording of this experienced panel on all-things-budget-negotiations to learn what will happen. 

Please note, this conversation was under Chatham House Rules, and was a widely attended event.


  • Will Dunham, Former Deputy Chief of Staff and Policy Director, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (Brownstein)
  • Robin Juliano, Former Staff Director, House Appropriations Committee for Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (Cornerstone)
  • Cornell Teague, Former House Appropriations-Defense Lead Staff (Alpine Group)
  • Jane Lee (moderator), NSI Fellow & VP, Policy and Government Affairs, Rebellion Defense

About our speakers:

Will Dunham served for seven years as now-Speaker McCarthy’s top policy staffer, managing his policy team prior to joining Brownstein as a Policy Director. In that role, he served as the House Republican staff lead for negotiations ranging from appropriations, to defense authorizations, from debt limits to emergency COVID legislation. He also was the point staffer coordinating committees, working with staff directors of every committee to craft and advance the House Republican agenda. Prior to working for Speaker McCarthy, Will served as the Executive Director at the Republican Study Committee for then-Chairman Steve Scalise.



Robin Juliano joined Cornerstone in March 2023 as a principal, after serving as clerk and staff director for the House Committee on Appropriations. In this role, she was the principal advisor to the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee Representative Rosa DeLauro on all aspects of Committee business, including policy decisions, legislation, communications and outreach strategies. She managed the development of the annual appropriations bills reaching every corner of the federal budget, as well as numerous supplemental spending bills including those related to disaster assistance and Ukraine. Prior to this role, Juliano served as clerk for the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies as well as a senior policy advisor for the Executive Office of the President’s National Economic Council. Juliano also served as professional staff on the Senate Appropriations Committee and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.



Cornell Teague, a Principal at the Alpine Group, provides clients strategic advice and advocacy around the federal budget and appropriations processes, including especially, insight into the convergence between the Nation’s national security and fiscal policy objectives.  Teague joined Alpine Group in 2017, after spending seven years on the House Appropriations Committee, including the last three as a Professional Staff Member with the Subcommittee on Defense. Before joining the Defense Subcommittee, Teague worked as a Professional Staff Member on the Committee’s Homeland Security Subcommittee, focusing primarily on cybersecurity and transportation security. He first began working on the Committee as an aide in the Front Office to then Full Committee Chairman Hal Rogers of Kentucky.  While on Capitol Hill, he participated in 114th Congress’ John C. Stennis Fellows Program for Public Service, a bipartisan, bicameral leadership program for senior staff in the U.S. Congress. Prior to that Teague worked in private sector and in The White House, serving President George W. Bush at the Homeland Security Council and USA Freedom Corps.


Jane Lee (moderator) is the VP of Policy and Government Affairs at Rebellion Defense. She previously served as the Senate Majority Leader’s senior adviser on fiscal policy where she helped steer the successful passage of the bipartisan pandemic economic rescue packages, prior spending cap deals, and budget reconciliation statute. Jane has also served as a conference whip adviser to the Senate Majority Whip and held senior positions in the Senate, House, and the White House – as a senior policy adviser and subcommittee director on the Senate Appropriations Committee and as policy director and defense analyst at the House Budget Committee. She also held senior roles at the White House Office of Budget and Management, as a principal spokesperson on procurement, digital technology and financial management policy, and as a budget examiner for DoD’s Defense-Wide programs.

Thank you to all the contributors who participated in this important discussion.