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Michael Bayer

52 - Michael Bayer
2012 Rank: 59

President & CEO, Dumbarton Strategies
Bayer, one of Washington’s ultimate defense insiders, is a man on a mission: over dinner and in briefings nationwide, trying to convince America’s defense leadership of the stakes involved in screwing up this ongoing budget downturn. A retired Army Reserve colonel turned adviser, strategist and sounding board for the Pentagon’s leading civilian and military leaders, Bayer worries top officials don’t fully recognize that this round of cuts will have far greater consequences than past downturns because everything, from people to weapons to operations, is more expensive now than 20 years ago. And given sequestration, several cliff-like drops in funding will demand far more careful planning and bigger tradeoffs that — as of presstime — leadership has been avoiding. It’s a message he’s been preaching even before defense spending peaked, urging top officials to start preparing for the inevitable downturn when he was chairman of the Defense Business Board. He now serves as a Defense Science Board member and top management consultant.

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