Dr. Phillip Karber


Dr. Phillip A. Karber is President of the Potomac Foundation. He was named to this position in 2012, having been a Senior Fellow since the Foundation’s inception in 1988.

Dr. Karber is an internationally recognized authority on defense and national security matters; an accomplished business executive; and a university professor. He has prepared studies and recommendations on defense strategy for the highest levels of the U.S. government; advised many NATO governments on defense issues; headed BDM Corporation’s International Division; served as JFK International Air Terminal’s Chairman of the Board; and teaches courses in national security and military affairs at Georgetown University.

A former Marine, Dr. Karber earned his B.A. in political science from Pepperdine College, his Ph.D. in international law from Georgetown University, and certificates from Harvard’s JFK School of Government, the Wharton Business School, and the Harvard Business School.

Career Highlights

U.S. Government

Professional staff assistant for national security to Representative Craig Hosmer (R-CA), then-Ranking Member of the Joint Congressional Committee on Atomic Energy.

Member of Defense Secretary Schlesinger’s DARPA/DNA Selective Nuclear Options panel.

Participated in the Department of Defense “Lessons Learned from the 1973 Mid-East War.”

Director of interagency study of U.S.-USSR multipurpose forces that produced the Pentagon’s standard comparative assessment for NATO and Warsaw Pact force development trends.

Served on the U.S. Army Science Advisory Board.

Founding Director of Strategic Concepts Development Center in 1981 and Defense Strategy Advisor, reporting directly to Secretary Weinberger and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Led first NATO Net Assessment in the mid-1980s at the request of U.S. Ambassador to NATO David Abshire.

Directed for Secretary of State Shultz “The Denuclearized World” study prepared for President Reagan in advance of his 1986 Reykjavik Summit with Mikhail Gorbachev.

Member of Defense Secretary Carlucci’s delegation to Quadripartite Talks on Security in Asia.

Participated in the U.S. Army’s “Lessons Learned from the Russo-Ukraine War.”

Advisor to Foreign Governments

Was external advisor to British PM Margaret Thatcher.

Served as advisor to NATO Secretary General Manfred Wӧrner.

Testified before parliamentary defense committees of Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Poland, South Korea, Sweden and The Netherlands.

Co-authored the influential 2010 “China Macht” study, commissioned by the German Ministry of Defense, which addressed PLA modernization and implications for the EU embargo on military technology and dual-use transfers to China.

Private Sector Positions

Over 20-year career at BDM corporation, rose to position of Group Vice President overseeing International Division’s 6,000 overseas employees and business operations in more than 20 countries.

Member of the Board of Directors of Weirten Steel Corporation for seven years, and served as the Head of that NYSE listed enterprise Audit Committee.

Between 1997 and 2004, served as Chairman of the Board of the billion-plus-dollar JFK International Air Terminal project — the international consortium selected by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to privatize, rebuild and operate the Kennedy Airport International Arrivals facility.


Since 1978 has taught courses in international security studies and military strategy in Georgetown University’s Government Department, School of Foreign Service, National Security Program, as well as Science, Technology & International Affairs curriculum.

Started the University’s Asian Arms Control Project.

Co-founder of Georgetown’s Machiavelli Seminar in Florence and professor of Strategy & Praxis there.

Co-chairs the semi-annual European-American Security Workshop jointly sponsored by European Ministries of Defense.


Strategic Assessments & Planning

Future Warfare

Concept Development

Defense Planning

Long-Term Military Competition

Nuclear Proliferation & Extended Deterrence

Political-Military Relations


Dr. Karber earned his B.A. in political science from Pepperdine College, was a Graduate Fellow at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, and earned his Ph.D. in international law from Georgetown University, as well as certificates from Harvard’s JFK School of Government, the Wharton Business School, and the Harvard Business School.