Congress and the Convergence of Economics and National Security – Brookings Institution

by | May 11, 2022 | Financial

On Dec. 18, 2020, the Congressional Study Group on Foreign Relations and National Security met to discuss the growing convergence of economic and national security policy. Once thought of as separate domains, legal authorities associated with economic policy have often been used to advance national security objectives in recent years–and sometimes vice versa. Should the two areas of law and policy be treated separately? Or as a cohesive whole?
This topic was proposed and developed by two study group members, Martin Weiss and Kathleen McInnis of the Congressional Research Service. They were joined by Professor Harlan Cohen of the University of Georgia School of Law; Professor Ben Heath of Temple University Beasley School of Law; and Professor Rebecca Ingber of Cardozo School of Law.
Prior to the session, the participants recommended several pieces as background reading to the study group, including:

Kathleen J. McInnis and Martin A. Weiss, Strategic Competition and Foreign Policy: What is “Political Warfare”?, CRS In Focus (March 8, 2019),;
Harlan G. Cohen, Nations and Markets, Journal of International Economic Law (2020),;
Benton Heath, Trade and Security Among the Ruins, Duke Journal of Comparative and International Law (2020),;
Rebecca Ingber, Congressional Administration of Foreign Affairs, Virginia Law Review (2020),

Weiss and McGinnis opened the discussion, arguing that we must begin considering national security and economic issues using an integrated, whole-of-government approach. For years, government agencies called for inter-agency guidance, but this seldom materialized. The economics and national security spaces are thus like ships in the night; there is rarely t …

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