Tuesday, May 3, 2016

All Think Tankers Need to Take the "Bubble Quiz"

Whether your are a seasoned think tanker who has put in decades on think tank row, or a newly minted think tanker still trying to learn exactly where think tank row is, you need to take the "Bubble Quiz."

Or so says Chuck DeVore, Vice President of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, who discussed the Bubble Quiz in a recent post in Real Clear Politics.  Here is more:
Do the staff at national think tanks reflect the nation as a whole? Or are they more representative of the Acela Corridor, that narrow slice of America from D.C. to Boston where they are headquartered?
It's a serious shortcoming if national policy staffers too frequently have an urban pedigree, only have friends with similar views and education, and don't think much of their fellow Americans in flyover country, if they think of them at all. If staff at these institutions — who are charged with generating new ideas, turning those ideas into policies, and then convincing government officials to implement those policies — have little in common with the very people they claim to help, how can they be effective?
Elites' lack of familiarity with mainstream America is extensively documented in Angelo Codevilla's book The Ruling Class, and it was recently acknowledged by liberal writer Emmett Rensin in a Vox essay as well.
But state-level think tanks likely don't share this national-level weakness. Where national think tanks generally draw on a narrow base of experience, then offer advice to the entire nation, state think tanks are apt to more closely represent residents in the surrounding state and offer solutions crafted with first-hand knowledge.
To test this proposition, I turned to Charles Murray's "Bubble Quiz" — a 25-question survey that attempts to gauge a respondent's "isolation from mainstream white America" (which, while receding as a percentage of the population, is still a majority). Questions include whether you've lived in a small town, whether you've served in the military, etc.
Murray estimates that the mean for a nationally representative sample would be 44, with a lower score indicating more isolation from, and ignorance of, mainstream culture and experiences. When Murray analyzed scores from those who took the quiz online through PBS, he found that elite enclaves from Manhattan to Silicon Valley — and even Austin — had median scores ranging from 12.5 to 24.5.

As Kara Jones, nicely summarized in a tweet: "Translation: Make sure at least a few people at your beltway think tank still view Chili's as fine dining."

So go on think tankers, take the Bubble Quiz and let Think Tank Watch know how you do.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Think Tank Quickies (#218)

  • Think tankers step in to defend Donald Trump on foreign policy.
  • AEI's annual forum has big-name guests including Apple CEO Tim Cook,  Google co-founder Larry Page, Napster creator and Facebook investor Sean Parker, and Tesla head Elon Musk.
  • Eric Kanoy Siefring, a former lobbyist at Heritage Action, chairing new Computer Science Education Coalition.
  • For President Obama's last State of the Union (SOTU) address, White House used a tool created by World Resources Institute (WRI) for carbon pollution information.
  • British book retailer Waterstones has a book table titled "think tank." (h/t Jo Swinson)
  • The growing tribe of think tanks in India.
  • CNAS annual conference on June 20 to feature Vice President Joe Biden and SecDef Ash Carter.
  • Think tanks spending big bucks honoring lawmakers? 
  • In 2014, 19 of the 20 universities in the world that produced the most highly cited research papers were American.  What about think tank papers? 
  • Are there more retractions these days in think tank reports?
  • Think tank (Economic Cycle Research Institute) admits it was wrong in predicting 2011-2012 downturn.

Bigwig Think Tanker Calls Trump "Dangerous"

R. Nicholas Burns, a former Bush Administration official and think tanker, bashed Donald Trump's foreign policy speech this week, calling him a "dangerous" man.

Burns is the latest think tank power player to critique Mr. Trump's foreign policy.  Several weeks ago, more than 100 Republican foreign policy and national security leaders signed an open letter denouncing Trump.

Burns, who serves on the board of directors of Atlantic Council and the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), is also a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Over the past few weeks, Mr. Trump and his team have been cozying up more to think tanks, holding secret meetings with some of them.  Earlier this week, Trump was hosted by a conservative think tank in Washington, DC to present his foreign policy address.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Think Tank Quickies (#217)

  • Do female think tankers get less credit when they write with male colleagues?
  • Former US Ambassador to Mexico E. Anthony Wayne named Public Policy Fellow at Wilson Center's Mexico Institute.
  • Wilson Center: How many people take the DC metro
  • CNAS launches "Derwin Pereira Southeast Asian Foreign Policy Roundtables"; announces 2016 Next Generation National Security Fellows.
  • New York Times columnist David Brooks joins New America Board of Directors; Tyra Mariani, formerly at Department of Education, appointed to newly created Vice President post at New America.
  • New America's OTI joins roster of official collaborators on National Telecommunications and Information Administration's (NTIA) Community Connectivity Initiative.
  • Salih Booker named USIP's Vice President for External Relations. 
  • RAND Corp.: Autonomous vehicles cannot be test-driven enough miles to demonstrate their safety.
  • New RAND report: US national security decision-making processes need trimming.
  • Carl Bildt and Michael Hoffman join Council of Advisors for RAND Europe.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Donald Trump Holding Secret Meetings With Think Tanks

As Donald Trump gets closer to winning the Republican nomination, he is courting think tanks more aggressively and think tanks are courting Donald Trump more aggressively.  Here is more from the Associated Press:
Senior aide [to Donald Trump] Paul Manafort said last week that he’d met people at a number of think tanks and members of Congress to talk about bulking up the team’s policy component, which is smaller than that of leading campaigns in the past.
“We’re finding there’s a lot of interest in working with him, coming on board,” he told reporters.
Manafort spent about an hour at the Heritage Foundation headquarters in Washington last week meeting policy experts at the conservative think tank. Heritage officials cast the meeting as part of an ongoing series of briefings for candidates and their advisers.

Today, Donald Trump is giving a major foreign policy address that is being hosted by the think tank Center for the National Interest (CNI).

In conjunction with the speech, Trump is expected to announce new members to his foreign policy team, and many of them will likely come from the think tank community.  After steering clear of Trump, many conservative think tanks appear to be slowly warming up to him.

Trump Advisor Lied About Think Tank Experience?

Here is what the Washington Post is reporting:
George Papadopoulous, a 2009 graduate of DePaul University [and an advisor to Donald Trump], has described himself in several lengthy published resumes as an oil and gas consultant and expert in eastern Mediterranean energy policy.
But his claim to have served for several years as a fellow at the Washington-based Hudson Institute was refuted by David Tell, Hudson senior fellow and director of public affairs, who said the institute's "records indicate that Mr. Papadopoulos started here as an unpaid intern in 2011 and subsequently provided some contractual research assistance to one of our senior fellows."

A recent peak at Mr. Papadopoulos's LinkedIn profile says that he was a Research Associate at the Hudson Institute from March 2011 to September 2015 and worked with three senior fellows there.

In related think tank news, Mr. Trump will be speaking on April 27 at an event sponsored by the Center for the National Interest.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Nixon's Think Tank to Host Donald Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump continues to embrace think tank land.  Having scooped up a number of advisors from think tanks, he is now being hosted by a Washington, DC think to give a major foreign policy speech.

Here is more from The New York Times:
Donald J. Trump will deliver his first foreign policy address at the National Press Club in Washington next week, his campaign said, at an event hosted by an organization founded by President Richard M. Nixon.
The speech, planned for lunchtime on Wednesday, will be Mr. Trump’s first major policy address since a national security speech last fall.
The speech will be hosted by the Center for the National Interest, formerly known as the Nixon Center, and the magazine it publishes, The National Interest, according to a news release provided by the Trump campaign.
The group, which left the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in 2011 to become a nonprofit, says on its website that it was founded by the former president to be a voice to promote “strategic realism in U.S. foreign policy.” Its associates include Henry A. Kissinger, the secretary of state under Nixon, as well as Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama and a senior adviser to Mr. Trump. Roger Stone, a sometime adviser of Mr. Trump, is a former Nixon aide.

Here is what Politico is reporting about the speech.  Here is what Brookings Institution scholar Thomas Wright is saying about the speech.

Dimitri Simes, the President of the Center for the National Interest (CNI) and a former aide to Richard Nixon, was reportedly on Sen. Rand Paul's (R-KY) foreign policy advisory team in 2014.

This Free Beacon article says that for years, Simes and CNI "have provided a sympathetic platform for the Russian government in the heart of the DC policy establishment."

Among those on the Board of Directors of CNI include Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), Leslie Gelb (President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations), former Gov. Jon Huntsman, Amb. Zalmay Khalilzad, Admiral Michael Mullen, Grover Norquist, Brent Scowcroft, Jeffrey Bewkes (Chairman/CEO of Time Warner), billionaire Peter Peterson, and Julie Nixon Eisenhower (daughter of Richard Nixon).

Henry Kissinger is the Honorary Chairman of CNI, and Maurice Greenberg is Chairman Emeritus of CNI.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on think tanks possibly controlling a Trump presidency.  Here is a previous post on how Donald Trump sees think tanks.  And here is a previous post about how Donald Trump has an affinity toward Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) president Richard Haass.  Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post showing that Trump has been consulting with think tanks for quite awhile now.

Update: Foreign Policy has a new parody piece entitled "Breaking: Richard Nixon Does Not Endorse Donald Trump."  The author, who pretends to be Richard Nixon, says, among other things, that he objected to the Nixon Center name change to Center for the National Interest, and said that the new name is "the sort of pointy-headed doublespeak that passes as nuance in the campus tearooms."

Also, John Bolton of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) said that Trump's foreign policy analysis was right on target.  Matt Mayer of AEI said that the devil is in the details in Trump's foreign policy speech.  Michael Auslin of AEI said that Trump "is still at sea" in Asia.  And here is Derek Scissors of AEI on Trump's speech and trade.

Think Tank Quickies (#216)

  • CAP says climate skeptics in Congress have grown from 169 last year to at least 180 now.
  • PIIE experts forecast slow, steady growth in 2016-2017; fears for world economy overblown.
  • AEI President Arthur Brooks guest hosts Squawk Box on CNBC.
  • Model Diplomacy, a new free simulation by CFR, to educate students on global affairs.
  • Bertrand Badre (World Bank) and Rory MacFarquhar (National Security Council under Obama) join PIIE as 2016 Visiting Fellows.
  • CSIS establishes Zbigniew Brzezinski Prize and Lecture; issues open letter on defense reform.
  • World Resources Institute: Since start of 21st century, 21 countries, including US, have fully decoupled their economic growth from carbon emissions. 
  • New America co-founder Michael Lind debates Jack Abramoff on corporate subsidies.
  • New paper released by think tank Third Way, and penned by investment banker Daniel Alpert, says build more roads. 
  • Carla Koppell, formerly of USAID, named VP of Center for Applied Conflict Transformation at USIP.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Russia Paid PR Firm to Connect with US Think Tanks

Here is more from Politico in a piece entitled "Putin's Washington":
[Dmitry] Peskov [Putin's influential press attaché] had handpicked Ketchum to work on the G-8 summit in St. Petersburg in 2006. Russia’s image needed buffing after taking a hit that winter when Gazprom, the massive state-controlled energy company, cut off natural gas to Ukraine. Peskov and other media-savvy members of the Putin administration understood that a Western-style makeover would help. And Ketchum delivered at the G-8, arranging media interviews and recording podcasts, and connecting with American think tanks and officials to show Russia in a more flattering light. Peskov was so pleased that he inked a broader contract for Ketchum to “facilitate dialog [sic] and a relationship between The Russian Federation and representatives of the United States government and media.”

The deal was a coup, even for a big global company. At about $5 million a year, it was “one of Ketchum’s top 10 accounts,” according to a former executive familiar with the Russia portfolio. And the arrangement was lucrative not only for Ketchum. The firm brought in private consultants, one of whom was paid more than $850,000 over five and a half years to court think tanks and seek investment dollars for Russia. Ketchum employees flew business class to Moscow and racked up expenses as they spun up their PR operation: op-eds in major newspapers, “influencer” outreach, a slick new web platform called ModernRussia (now thinkRUSSIA).

Think Tank Watch should note that foreign governments often pay law firms, lobby firms, public relations firms, and others to help connect with think tank experts and others.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

AEI Head Makes Fortune List of World's 50 Greatest Leaders

Arthur Brooks, President of the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute (AEI) made the 2016 Fortune list of the "world's 50 greatest leaders," ranked at #32 on that list.   He is the only think tanker who made the list.

David Wessel, Director of the Hutchins Center at the Brookings Institution, wrote a brief clip about him for the list:
If the right is to have a shot at steering American public policy, Arthur Brooks will be one of the architects of its vision.  Hi conservatism stands for something more than tax cuts for the rich and ever-tighter restrictions on abortions.  The New York Times' David Brooks described it as "capitalism for the masses": It includes a heavy emphasis on social entrepreneurship - leveraging business techniques to solve social problems.  Not what you'd expect from a Seattle-born French-horn player.

An full biography of Arthur Brooks can be found here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

New Trend: Billionaire Think Tanks

We all know that billionaire's give tons of money to think tanks both large and small.  But a new trend has been taking shape that is redefining the traditional system of think tanks getting money from wealthy donors.

Now, a number of billionaires are starting their own think tanks rather than relying on ones that already exist.  Here is a recent example from The New York Times:
In a wood-paneled conference room in Stanford, Calif., a score of scholars, many of them eminent and some from as far away as Johannesburg and Beijing, gathered last month to compare philosophical notions of hierarchy and equality.
The gathering itself had no overt hierarchy, though one participant seemed a little more equal than the others. When Nicolas Berggruen spoke, no one interrupted. Only he occasionally checked his phone. And at dinner, the guests received fruit tarts for dessert — except for Mr. Berggruen, who was served chocolate mousse.
Mr. Berggruen, 54, is an investor and art collector who was once known as the “homeless billionaire” because he lived in itinerant luxury in five-star hotels. Now he is grounded in Los Angeles where he presides over a bespoke think tank, the Berggruen Institute.
The institute is a striking example of how wealthy philanthropists are reshaping the landscape with smaller versions of the foundations established by Bill Gates and George Soros. Sean Parker, one of the entrepreneurs behind Napster and Facebook, has a research institute, The Parker Foundation, which this month pledged $250 million for cancer immunotherapy. He is also a co-founder of the Economic Innovation Group, which labels itself an “ideas laboratory.” Tom Steyer, who made his fortune as a hedge fund manager in California, has several environmental nonprofit groups, and last year created the Fair Shake Commission to redress economic inequality.

The Berggruen Institute, founded in 2010 and based in Los Angeles, definitely has the coolest prize of any think tank that Think Tank Watch can think of - a $1 million prize in philosophy.

The think tank's Board of Advisors can be found here, and includes Arianna Huffington, Mohamed El-Erian, and former President of Mexico Ernesto Zedillo.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch on billionaires and think tanks.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Think Tank Quickes (#215)

  • Ian Bond: Pay for playing cello seems better than think tank pay (Panama Papers reference).
  • Ezra Klein chats with CAP's Neera Tanden about think tank work.
  • Mina Kimes on DC: Love the terrible bar scene and talking to people who work for think tanks.
  • Protocol at think tanks.
  • Heritage Foundation scholar critical of attacks on Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), which has just been served a subpoena demanding documents related to CEI's climate change research.
  • China can play a role in building capacity of African think tanks.
  • Brookings: Are the Russians behind the Panama Papers?
  • Leonard D. Schaeffer Initiative in Health Policy established at Brookings with $4 million; in partnership with Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics at University of Southern California (USC).
  • Heritage Foundation names Michael Gleba, Chairman/CEO, Treasurer and Trustee of the Sarah Scaife Foundation, to its Board of Trustees.
  • Beverly Hallberg, President of District Media Group, joins Heritage as Visiting Fellow in Communications.

The Think Tank Connection of Accused Spy Edward Lin

This is what Newsweek is reporting about Edward Lin, the naval flight officer accused of leaking sensitive information to either China or Taiwan (or both):
Among Lin’s Chinese contacts on LinkedIn was a former Washington, D.C.–based Taiwanese military attaché whose job was to “file intelligence reports on current statuses and events of U.S. Navy and Marine Corps to superiors in the home navy force.” Another Taiwanese who endorsed Lin listed himself as a current “security manager” for Apple who previously worked high up in Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense, where he was “responsible for U.S. and European think tanks engagement,” an intelligence-oriented billet. A former senior British nuclear submarine commander, who served as a Royal Navy liaison officer in Washington, D.C., from 2012 to 2015, also endorsed Lin for various military and communication skills.

Think Tank Watch has written extensively about think tank spying in the past, including in this 2013 post entitled "Think Tanks a Hotbed for Spy Recruitment."

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Cato Think Tanker Opening Up a Restaurant

In the revolving door of think tank land, most think tankers end up leaving their think tank to enter a new Administration, or to go into the corporate world, or academia.

But one scholar from the libertarian think tank Cato Institute has taken a different route: He is opening up a restaurant.  That scholar is Justin Logan, the former Director of Foreign Policy Studies at Cato, who is in the process of opening up a Latin American wine and spirits bar called Ruta del Vino in the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, DC.

Mr. Logan is opening up the restaurant with his wife Jessica, who worked as an accountant at Cato.

Although opening a restaurant is not the typical route for a think tanker, Mr. Logan will have knowledge and access to Cato's broad writings on the food/restaurant industry, including the think tank's latest work on the "futile effort" of menu mandates and obesity.

Think Tank Quickies (#214)

  • Sen. John McCain's think tank received $1 million from Saudi Arabia.
  • Whole Foods CEO John Macket quits Marc Gafni's think tank (Center for Integral Wisdom).
  • New America: We are not on Instragram because we are a think tank.
  • Brookings interactive poverty map (think tank row is not poor).
  • CFR getting lots of Cabinet officials for events in April, including Secs. Pritzker (Commerce), Carter (Defense), and Lew (Treasury); SecDef Carter also does CSIS, and Lew does Carnegie.
  • RAND Corp. analysis spells doom for Taiwan (via Defense News).
  • What think tanks are thinking on Japan and the EU.
  • Heritage: Over 2 million manufacturing workers employed by foreign-owned companies.
  • PIIE: The moral case for globalization.
  • Head of Center for American Progress (CAP) bashes Bernie Sanders's campaign.
  • Think tanks represent a blind spot for critical analysis?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

New Book on Conservative Think Tanks

Dr. Jason Stahl has written a new book on conservative think tanks entitled "Right Moves: The Conservative Think Tank in American Political Culture Since 1945."  Following is an overview from Amazon:
From the middle of the twentieth century, think tanks have played an indelible role in the rise of American conservatism. Positioning themselves against the alleged liberal bias of the media, academia, and the federal bureaucracy, conservative think tanks gained the attention of politicians and the public alike and were instrumental in promulgating conservative ideas. Yet, in spite of the formative influence these institutions have had on the media and public opinion, little has been written about their history. Here, Jason Stahl offers the first sustained investigation of the rise and historical development of the conservative think tank as a source of political and cultural power in the United States.

What we now know as conservative think tanks--research and public-relations institutions populated by conservative intellectuals--emerged in the postwar period as places for theorizing and "selling" public policies and ideologies to both lawmakers and the public at large. Stahl traces the progression of think tanks from their outsider status against a backdrop of New Deal and Great Society liberalism to their current prominence as a counterweight to progressive political institutions and thought. By examining the rise of the conservative think tank, Stahl makes invaluable contributions to our historical understanding of conservatism, public-policy formation, and capitalism.

Dr. Stahl is a Lecturer in the Department of Organizational Leadership and Policy Development at the University of Minnesota.

In the past, Dr. Stahl has delivered a lecture at the Library of Congress (video can be viewed here) entitled "Conservatives in a Marketplace of Ideas: Think Tanks, Interests, and Expertise in the 1970s."

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Think Tank Quickies (#213)

  • Think tank reports competing with 28,100 journals publishing 2.5 million articles a year. 
  • Legal Progress, the legal policy program at CAP, launches new website focusing on US Supreme Court: NeedTheNine.org; CAP hosts tech event with Google.
  • Liz Kennedy, formerly of Demos, joins CAP as Director of Government and Democratic Reform.
  • CAP teams up with Funny or Die to bring humor to Common Core debate; CAP hosts Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor.
  • New PIIE report from Robert Lawrence and Tyler Moran tries to defend January 2016 PIIE study by Peter Petri and Michael Plummer, which was criticized by some academics and lawmakers.
  • New PIIE study "Rich People, Poor Countries" by Carline Freund draws a distinction between rich-world billionaires and those of emerging economies.
  • Did anyone fall for the April Fool's piece on the Brookings-Heritage merger?
  • Brookings, AEI, and CAP present findings and lead discussions on electoral/policy implications of demographic change. 
  • Atlantic Council hires media guru David Ensor (most recently of VOA) to be EVP for External Relations; Adwoa Jones promoted to Atlantic Council's 1st Chief Talent Officer; former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Evelyn Farkas joins Atlantic Council as Nonresident Senior Fellow.
  • Atlantic Council and Qualcomm launch multi-year collaboration on US's tech leadership; Ryan Crocker to chair Task Force on the Future of Iraq.
  • President Obama nominates Chris Brummer of Atlantic Council as Commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

USTR Cozy With Some Think Tanks; Hates Others

The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) seems to like a number of powerful think tanks, and it has held many private meetings with think tankers.

For example, on July 22, three think tanks met with USTR: Third Way, Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE), and New Democrat Network.

Earlier this year, USTR Michael Froman spoke about trade at the Wilson Center.

However, USTR does not like think tanks whose ideas conflict with its own studies and ideas.  Here is more from Politico:
The administration wasn’t impressed by a new report from the Economic Policy Institute, which calculates that a $177.9 billion trade deficit with the other TPP countries translates to 2 million lost jobs, arguing that the methodology has already been debunked.
“The method EPI uses to create these numbers was given ‘Four Pinocchios’ by The Washington Post’s independent fact-checker last year for being a ‘whopper’, yet they continue to use it,” a USTR spokesman said. “The International Trade Administration's most recent official numbers show that 11.7 million jobs were supported yearly by exports of American goods and that 45 percent of those goods went to TPP countries. It’s unfortunate that opponents of trade, like EPI, continue to use faulty data to avoid having an honest debate about expanding American made exports through TPP.”
Many trade economists argue that imports don’t have a straightforward impact on jobs because some of them are used as inputs in other products made here, and some don’t compete directly with U.S. goods.
Rob Scott, one of the authors of the EPI paper, said the methodology he used is similar in some ways to the Public Citizen methodology but not exactly the same. He also noted that, unlike Public Citizen, his paper used data from the Census Bureau on trade flows, which is considered by the administration to be the most accurate.

USTR doesn't only rely on US think tanks to get its message across.  For example, in a trip to Malaysia last year, USTR Michael Froman promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) at a think tank event.

Also, former Administration officials use think tanks to promote various policy initiative such as trade deals.  For example, former State Department official Kurt Campbell and former Ambassador to Myanmar Derek Mitchell praised TPP this week at the Truman National Security Project.

Monday, April 11, 2016

AEI Launches Open Source Policy Center

During the week of April 4 the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) formally launched the Open Source Policy Center (OSPC), which is dedicated to making policy analysis transparent and accessible through open source computer modeling.

On April 4, OSPC launched its first web application, TaxBrain.  Here is more from a press release:
Today, OSPC launches its first web application, TaxBrain, which allows the public and experts alike to study the effect of individual income and payroll tax policy reforms using open source economic simulation models.
This breakthrough in open source public policy research inaugurates a new era in government transparency by making economic modeling and data analysis both accessible and collaborative.
Here is more from another AEI press release:
TaxBrain relies on several open source simulation models that work together to allow for “static” scoring and various types of dynamic scoring of individual income and payroll tax reforms. In static scoring, the overall size of the economy is held fixed. In dynamic scoring, policy changes can affect the size of the economy.
A core team of contributors oversees each simulation model. The core team members for models currently available on TaxBrain are T.J. Alumbaugh, Jason DeBacker, Richard Evans, Daniel Feenberg, Martin Holmer, John O’Hare, Amy Xu, and Matt Jensen.

Matt Jensen is the Founder and Managing Director of OSPC at AEI.  He is also a core contributor to open source modeling projects such as Tax-Calculator and TaxData.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) just had a lead editorial entitled "Cracking Washington's Black Box," which praised the opening of the Open Source Policy Center.  Here is an excerpt from WSJ:
The American Enterprise Institute will soon unveil its Open Source Policy Center in an effort to crack the codes used by government bean counters. The think tank’s goal is to produce open-source economic modeling to give outside academics, experts and average Americans the tools to test, check and improve the hidden calculations that government uses to design policy. This is wonky stuff, and therefore it won’t make the cable TV shows, but it is an essential step toward holding accountable the increasingly powerful administrative state.

Here is a link to OSPC and here is a link to TaxBrain.

Also, Think Tank Watch has noticed that OSPC is looking to hire.  Want to be an economics research assistant?  How about a summer intern?  Apply today!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Think Tank Quickies (#212)

  • Do think tanks have to apply for a business license, via Dana Shultz?
  • YouTube video: The story of the Ukrainian Think Tanks Liaison Office in Brussels.
  • German Marshall Fund holds high-level Brussels Forum March 18-20, 2016 (just before bombings).
  • Max Fisher in Vox: How Saudi Arabia captured Washington think tanks.
  • CSIS event brings 45 current and former women ambassadors.
  • Price Floyd: Some DC think tanks may have problems finding women panelists, but not Project 2049.
  • Tamara Cofman Wittes of Brookings on being a think tanker.
  • Insights from Aaron Swartz on DC think tanks. (h/t Frank Pasquale)
  • British aid money wasted on terrorists and think tanks?
  • Russia Direct says it is "something of a hybrid between a media outlet and a think tank." 
  • Think tanker Justin Wolfers blasts flaws in academic study about Bernie Sanders's economic plan; and Jeffrey Flier of Harvard on how to keep bad science from getting into print.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

UK Goes Crazy Over Its Funding of US Think Tank

Some in the United Kingdom are not very happy that taxpayer money is going to fund a fairly well-off think tank based in Washington, DC - the Center for Global Development (CGD).  Here is more from the Daily Mail:

It is one of the richest countries on Earth, yet millions of pounds of British taxpayers’ money is being sent to fund aid organisations in the US, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. 
One Washington think-tank, the Center for Global Development (CGD), received £5.9 million – yet was so cash-rich that it moved into new £12 million offices complete with a 60-seat ‘ideas lab’.
According to the Department for International Development (DFID) website, Washington-based CGD has received nearly £6 million since November 2011 for ‘global development, research-based aid, food security, global health, technology and anti-corruption cases’.
While CGD is an internationally recognised and respected think- tank that focuses on ‘rigorous independent research’ into how to make aid more effective and reducing global poverty, it appears to have few qualms about spending money on its own highly paid bosses and moved into new offices at the end of 2013.

The most recent publicly available tax records show that the organisation’s president, Nancy Birdsall, received a £300,000 salary in 2014 while chief operating officer Todd Moss (who writes thrillers in his spare time) was paid £200,000.
Birdsall lives in a £1.1 million home in the Washington suburbs with her lawyer husband David. She recently announced she was stepping down as president and has hired a firm of top Californian headhunters to find her replacement.
Moss is a former US State Department official who served under President George W. Bush. Moss balances his work with CGD with writing airport thrillers involving a character called Judd Ryker, who works in the State Department’s ‘Crisis Reaction Unit’ and becomes embroiled in adventures in Africa and Latin America.
The CGD’s new headquarters occupies the 33,000 sq ft fifth floor of a modern office in one of Washington’s most prestigious areas.
The offices cost £9 million to buy, with a further £3 million spent on fixtures and fittings, including a ‘multi-media lab’ and 170-seat conference hall. Lawrence MacDonald, CGD’s then vice-president of communications, sought to head off criticism of the office purchase in a blog post that said: ‘Sometimes the thriftiest thing to do is buy your own place.’
He said the millions ploughed into the building were available because the charity, which has around 50 US-based staff, had accumulated ‘a modest reserve fund’.
Staff at CGD – which also has offices in London’s exclusive Pimlico area – are encouraged to have fun. During President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address in January, they had a ‘bingo’ night complete with drinks and pizza. The winner was the first to cross off a card filled with words commonly used by the President, such as ‘terrorism’, ‘immigrations’ and ‘poverty’.
In an email, a CGD spokesman said: ‘The funding we receive from DFID supports our independent academic research. None of the funding we received from them was used to buy our offices.
‘The support from DFID funds specific programmes of work including research into how wealthy countries can make aid money more effective, strengthening education systems and strengthening global health, food security, anti-corruption and technology policies.’

The UK is not the only one funding CGD.  Other funders include the governments of Australia and Canada, as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, Omidyar Network, The Rockefeller Foundation, UBS, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, and many others.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Rising Stars in Think Tank Land Under 40

In its March 2016 edition, Washington Life Magazine has its new list of rising stars 40 and under.  While many of those who made the list are in the media, Congress, White House, PR, and lobbying worlds, there are a few think tankers who made the list:

  • Elbridge Colby, Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS)
  • Daniel Costa, Director of Immigration Law and Policy Research at Economic Policy Institute (EPI)
  • Ilya Shapiro, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute
  • Emily Tisch Sussman, Director of Campaigns at the Center for American Progress (CAP)

And, Think Tank Watch noticed a few former think tankers, such as Amanda Terkel, a reporter/editor for The Huffington Post, who used to work at Center for American Progress.

Carnegie Competes with Brookings on Foreign Soil


Today (April 6) the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) launched Carnegie India in New Delhi.  It is Carnegie's sixth international center after Beijing, Beirut, Brussels, Moscow, and Washington, DC.  The official launch of Carnegie India has been anticipated for months, and comes as the think tank competes head-to-head with the Brookings Institution for think tank influence in the world's second most populated country.

Here press release on the launch, which was welcomed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  Following is an excerpt from that release:
Carnegie India's research and programmatic focus will include the political economy of reform in India, foreign and security policy, and the role of innovation and technology in India's internal transformation and international relations.
The center’s founding director, C. Raja Mohan, has been a nonresident senior associate at Carnegie since 2012. He has also served as a distinguished fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi, a visiting research professor at the Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore, and a member of India’s National Security Advisory Board.
The center’s creation has been supported by Carnegie India’s Founders Committee, a group of Indian and international donors co-chaired by former cabinet secretary and Indian ambassador to the United States, Naresh Chandra, and former United States ambassador to India, Frank Wisner. 

Brookings announced the opening of its New Delhi office in 2013, giving it a significant head start in India, a country which has 280 think tanks.  Only the United States, China, and United Kingdom have more think tanks.
Carnegie India’s research and programmatic focus will include the political economy of reform in India, foreign and security policy, and the role of innovation and technology in India’s internal transformation and international relations. Led and staffed by Indian experts, it will build on decades of scholarship on India and South Asia across Carnegie’s programs, while placing special emphasis on developing a cadre of young, up-and-coming Indian scholars.

Read more at: http://carnegieindia.org/2016/04/05/launch-of-carnegie-india/iwns
Carnegie India’s research and programmatic focus will include the political economy of reform in India, foreign and security policy, and the role of innovation and technology in India’s internal transformation and international relations. Led and staffed by Indian experts, it will build on decades of scholarship on India and South Asia across Carnegie’s programs, while placing special emphasis on developing a cadre of young, up-and-coming Indian scholars.

Read more at: http://carnegieindia.org/2016/04/05/launch-of-carnegie-india/iwns
Carnegie India’s research and programmatic focus will include the political economy of reform in India, foreign and security policy, and the role of innovation and technology in India’s internal transformation and international relations. Led and staffed by Indian experts, it will build on decades of scholarship on India and South Asia across Carnegie’s programs, while placing special emphasis on developing a cadre of young, up-and-coming Indian scholars.

Read more at: http://carnegieindia.org/2016/04/05/launch-of-carnegie-india/iwns
Carnegie India’s research and programmatic focus will include the political economy of reform in India, foreign and security policy, and the role of innovation and technology in India’s internal transformation and international relations. Led and staffed by Indian experts, it will build on decades of scholarship on India and South Asia across Carnegie’s programs, while placing special emphasis on developing a cadre of young, up-and-coming Indian scholars.

Read more at: http://carnegieindia.org/2016/04/05/launch-of-carnegie-india/iwns

Monday, April 4, 2016

Think Tank Quickies (#211)

  • 7 rules for avoiding all-male panels at think tanks, by Jacqueline O'Neill.
  • What Max Abrahms wants to see: A political science dissertation on the independent effect of ideologically driven donor money on think tank pundit analysis.
  • Conservative leader of Canada gets standing ovation after calling Center for American Progress (CAP) "anti-Canadian."
  • Ann Coulter: Trump is the only one with real solutions, not think tank talking points.
  • Inside Gay Talese's "subterranean think tank."
  • CFR President Richard Haass on what the next US president's challenges will be; Haass coming out with new book: A World in Disarray.
  • Canadian Prime Minister Gary Trudeau does CAP.
  • Cato's David Boaz: A "proud" think tank moment. 
  • The On Think Tanks School launches Evolving Think Tanks starting April 5.
  • Does your think tank order cookies with your book cover on it for a book launch?  FDD does.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Sources: Brookings to Merge with Heritage Foundation

Think Tank Watch has learned that the center-left Brookings Institution is in the late stages of a merger deal with the conservative Heritage Foundation to form a new think tank behemoth called "Brookitage."

The deal, a shock to many in the think tank world, could be completed around the end of 2016, according to think tank sources close to the deal.

Assuming the deal is completed, it would be unprecedented for the think tank world, a place where think tanks with competing ideologies generally interact with caution.

A Brookings official tells Think Tank Watch that the deal is being announced in conjunction with the think tank's 100-year anniversary this year.

Brookings is nearing completion of a $600 million fundraising effort as part of its "Second Century Campaign," and it decided that its new vision would include bringing Democrats closer to Republicans, according to people familiar with the talks.

"We cannot afford to be just a liberal think tank in today's polarized political atmosphere," said a senior level Brookings official.  "Bringing the most well-known liberal think together with the most well-known conservative think tank would send a huge message to Capitol Hill.  Things need to change."

A Heritage Foundation official, speaking on condition of anonymity because she is not authorized to speak about internal negotiations, said that there are some grumblings among senior management about the new name of the think tank.  "We just don't want Heritage to lose its identity," she said.

Neither Brookings nor Heritage officials would comment about possible staff reductions or headquarters moves.  But one official with knowledge of the discussions said that President Barack Obama is among the top candidates to become president of Brookitage when he steps down in January 2017.

Editor's Note: April Fool's.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Violence Erupts on Think Tank Row Amid Visit by Turkish President


The usually subdued think tank row in Washington, DC erupted into violence today as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was visiting the Brookings Institution.

Erdogan was giving a keynote speech at the think tank entitled "Global challenges and Turkey's goals for the year 2023."  A video can be watched here.

Foreign Policy has done an excellent job of covering all the chaos that occurred.  Here are some excerpts:
A planned speech by the controversial Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan descended into violence and chaos Thursday, with one journalist physically removed from the event site by Turkish security personnel, another kicked by a guard, and a third — a woman — thrown to the sidewalk in front of a Washington think tank where he was to speak.
A small group of protesters gathered across the street from the Brookings Institute near Dupont Circle in Washington, with one holding a large sign reading “Erdogan: War Criminal On The Loose,” while another used a megaphone to chant that he was a “baby-killer.”
When the protesters tried to cross the street, Washington police officers blocked traffic and physically separated them from Turkish personnel. A Secret Service agent standing nearby told a colleague that “the situation is a bit out of control.”
Later, a shoving match between what appeared to be a Brookings Institute worker and Turkish security broke out. “I am in charge of this building,” the apparent Brookings employee shouted as the two tangled. A Foreign Policy reporter and others holding cameras outside the event were also scolded by Turkish security.  One cameraman was chased across the street by Turkish guards.
There were also confrontations between Turkish security and D.C. police. The Turkish officials wanted police to remove protesters, and the cops refused.
In a statement late Thursday, Brooking’s spokesperson Gail Chalef said that the think tank did its “best to ensure that journalists and other guests who had registered in advance for the event were able to enter.” She added that she believes all journalists who registered were able to attend.

The full, must-read Foreign Policy piece can be read here (make sure to watch the embedded videos).  We told you that think tank events aren't ALWAYS boring.

Ironically, in 2013, Turkey blamed the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) for protests in Turkey.  We wonder if Turkey will blame Brookings for protests on US soil...


Update: Foreign Policy in now reporting that Brookings threatened to cancel the Erdogan speech after his security personnel "pushed, threatened, and kicked both Western and Turkish journalists" and protestors in front of the think tank.  FP says: "In a tense exchange, Brookings President Strobe Talbott told a Turkish official that the organization was prepared to call off the visit even though Erdogan's motorcade was already en route to the event."  FP adds that the cancellation of the event would have been an embarrassment for both Brookings and Erdogan because the speech had been heavily publicized and attracted an overflow crowd.

Think Tanks Increasingly Important to Policy Campaigns

Here is more from Politico:
Outside organizations such as think tanks and pressure groups are increasingly important to policy campaigns, according to Brunswick Insight's new survey of 19 public affairs heads from advocacy groups, think tanks, trade associations, and companies. On issues including the Ex-Im Bank, SOPA-PIPA, sentencing reform, oil exports, fiduciary rule and trade promotion authority, outside groups were crucial. Campaigns now need vectors besides shoe-leather lobbying: As one respondent put it, "the lobbyists in direct communications with staff and members is probably the most minor element."

Respondents said outside groups are critical allies but can be hard to find and even harder to control. Think tanks like Brookings, the Heritage Foundation and the Center for American Progress lend credibility, but they're expensive and academic freedom makes them hard to keep on message. Advocacy groups such as Americans for Tax Reform and Human Rights Campaign have strong expertise in narrow and specific issues but can be purists loath to compromise and eager to take credit. Ideological groups such as Heritage Action or Americans for Democratic Action also have sway but can be polarizing.
The Readmond Group commissioned the survey.

So remember, for your policy goals to be implemented, you need both lobbyists AND think tanks.  Or, you can hire shops like Podesta Group, a lobby firm that will help you lobby think tanks so they can lobby the government and other groups.  It doesn't get any more Washington than that.

Will Think Tanks Control President Trump's Policies?

Will think tanks play a big role in a Trump Administration?  According to Justin Vaughn, Associate Professor of Political Science in the School of Public Service at Boise State University, they very well might.  Here is more:
The president today is arguably more of a manager than ever before, overseeing thousands of staffers and millions of bureaucrats. Sure, the president generally sets the White House’s agenda, chooses many of the individuals tasked with achieving it and ultimately serves as what George W. Bush called The Decider. (Or, if you prefer, as Harry Truman suggested, the president remains where the buck stops.) But what they are not is deeply involved in the minutiae of the policy proposals they attempt to get through Congress, or even many of the unilateral policy actions such as executive orders, signing statements and memoranda that the White House routinely issues.
Instead, a great deal of what is included in these bills and actions comes not only from the president’s chosen advisers, but also from relevant government agencies, think tanks, private industry and previous versions of failed legislation.
In fact, research I’ve conducted with José Villalobos and Julia Azari shows that when the president stresses the influence that bureaucrats and policy experts have had on a policy the White House is pushing, the legislation is more likely to pass than if they instead emphasize that a bill is a priority of the president, that it is something popular with the public, or even that the bill is the result of bipartisan cooperation.


A number of think tankers are very concerned about a Trump presidency because it appears that he would not rely as much on think tanks and think tankers compared to past presidents, the current president, and other possible future presidents such as Hillary Clinton.

Richard Reeves, Senior Fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution expresses those exact concerns here.  A scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said that everyone is turning to Google to find out about Trump's new team.

As Jack Caravelli recently reminded us, competition for the president's attention is keen, particularly in a city like Washington, DC that is full of think tanks.

Of course, think tanks have been bashing Mr. Trump for months, so it is no surprise that there may be some tension.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Think Tank Quickies (#210)

  • Should all think tank research be free?  Is it?
  • Former White House aide Will Jawando is running for a congressional seat in Maryland, and his wife Michelle (who earned $65,000 in the 1st half of 2015) works at Center for American Progress.
  • Why a Silicon Valley funder is doubling down on a Beltway think tank (CGD).
  • PS21 sponsors March 28 event: Think Tanks - What Do They Really Contribute?
  • Jennifer Rubin: Heritage Foundation gives Trump legitimacy.
  • China launches joint South China Sea think tank with Indonesia's CSIS; will invite other Southeast Asian think tank to join.
  • Max Abrahms Twitter poll: Why did Western think tank pundits get basic facts of Syria so wrong?
  • What is the Cato Institute's role as a think tank? (via Ed Crane and others)
  • Women in think tanks reading list, via On Think Tanks.
  • CFR on challenges of the world's oceans.
  • HUD Secretary Julian Castro and DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx do Brookings.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Pivot: French Ambassador Now Hates Think Tankers

At one time, Gerard Araud, French Ambassador to the United States, loved to hang out and party with think tankers.  Now, after a year and a half in Washington, DC, it looks like he has had a bit of a falling out with think tankers.

Here is more from Moises Naim in The Atlantic:
Gerard Araud, the French ambassador to the United States, has said, in the words of the Financial Times, that Washington “is mostly about ‘PR’” and that he feels like a prisoner in the city. The ambassador also mocked Washington’s men and the city’s mores. He feels, in the FT’s words, that in D.C. “men wear suits three sizes too large for them, and dinners always start too early. Socializing with Washington’s politicians, journalists and ‘think-tankers’ takes more out of him than bargaining with adversaries.”

As a remedy, Mr. Naim actually suggests that Amb. Araud embrace think tanks even more, saying that he "could participate in one of the dozens of talks, conferences, and panel discussions held daily at the 393 think tanks that are just minutes away from his embassy."  Think Tank Watch is not sure if that was meant to be or joke or not...

Why the hate?  Is it because he has created some waves at certain think tanks?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Likelihood of a Think Tanker Being Invited to a State Dinner?

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's recent visit to Washington got Think Tank Watch thinking about how often think tankers get invitations to presidential state dinners.

Fortunately, The New York Times has done much of the leg-work, analyzing the previous nine state dinners to come up with an answer.  Here is the breakdown of who gets invited:

  • Wall Street and business sector: 35%
  • Intelligentsia: 17%
  • Media: 16%
  • Hollywood and arts: 14%
  • Sports, tech, and health: 12%

In other words, around 17% of state dinner guests are from "intelligentsia," which includes the think tank world.  However, that category also includes authors, professors, and others in similar fields.  That means the chances of a think tanker securing a coveted state dinner invite are probably harder than getting into Harvard or Yale.

NYT notes that think tank guests for state dinners under President Obama have included Robert Kagan and Strobe Talbott of Brookings, and George Shultz of the Hoover Institution.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Ted Cruz's National Security Team Abounds With Think Tankers

Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has announced a national security team that is filled with conservative think tank power players.  Following are a few examples:

  • Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy
  • Fred Fleitz of the Center for Security Policy
  • Clare Lopez of the Center for Security Policy
  • Jim Hanson of the Center for Security Policy
  • Elliott Abrams of Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)
  • Ilan Berman of American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC)
  • Katharine Gorka of the Council on Global Security
  • Steven Groves of The Heritage Foundation
  • Mary Habeck of American Enterprise Institute (AEI)
  • Michael Ledeen of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD)
  • Charles Stimson of the Heritage Foundation
  • Jim Talent of AEI
  • Daniel Vajdich of the Atlantic Council

Here is the latest Think Tank Watch post on Donald Trump's reliance on think tanks and think tank scholars.

Trump Loves CFR's President

Donald Trump is not the biggest fan of think tanks, but he does have affection for at least one think tanker: Richard Haass, the President of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

Reuters has previously reported this:
Asked who he trusts on national security, Trump had warm words for three men with world views that differ from one another, and who diverge sharply on some key issues from Trump himself. They are former diplomat Richard Haass and retired U.S. Army officers Gen. Jack Keane and Col. Jack Jacobs.
Haass is a centrist foreign policy thinker and president of the Council on Foreign Relations, a think tank seen as a fixture of the U.S. foreign policy establishment. The State Department's policy planning director at the time of the Iraq invasion, he wrote later that he was largely against the war.
A spokeswoman for Haass, Iva Zoric, said that he briefed Trump on foreign policy in August 2015. In a tweet late on Thursday, Haass wrote: "I do not endorse candidates. What I have done is offered to brief all candidates, & have briefed several, D(emocrat) & R(epublican) alike."

When recently asked by Fareed Zakaria about working in a Trump Administration, Mr. Haass declined to answer directly, saying that CFR has offered briefings to all of the presidential candidates and many have taken the think tank up on its offer.  Mr. Haass added that he spent about one hour together with Mr. Trump during their August 2015 meeting.

As Think Tank Watch has previously reported, Donald Trump has been consulting with think tank scholars for months.  Is this how Trump sees think tank land?

In early March 2016, a number of scholars, including think tankers, penned an open letter to Trump in opposition of his presidency.

That letter has 120 signatories, including Robert Zoellick of the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE), Ray Takeyh of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), David Adesnik of Foreign Policy Initiative, Michael Auslin of American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Robert Blackwill of CFR, Daniel Blumenthal of AEI, Max Boot of CFR, Ellen Bork of Foreign Policy Initiative, Anna Borshchevskaya of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), Joseph Bosco of Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and many others.

So basically, the entire conservative think tank establishment is against Trump, leaving only slim pickings in the think tank world.  That is probably why on March 21, when Trump revealed part of his foreign policy team, there were few mainstream think tankers to speak of on the list.  Of course, there was Walid Phares (a former senior fellow at the conservative think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies), George Papadopoulos (former researcher at the Hudson Institute), and Joseph Schmitz (who has ties to the Center for Security Policy).

However, Mr. Trump just met with Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint and others at the Washington law firm of Jones Day in Washington, DC.  DeMint and staffers at the Heritage Foundation have reportedly met with numerous candidates in the past year, including current and former 2016 presidential candidates.

Here is what a Heritage spokesman said:
Heritage spokesman Wesley Denton stressed that DeMint’s role in the meeting was restricted to discussions about policy and avoided more political topics.
“As a section 501(c)(3) organization, Heritage cannot participate in any political campaign in support of or in opposition to any candidate for public office,” Denton said in an emailed statement.

The article also notes that  the Heritage Foundation's lobbying arm (Heritage Action) has reportedly expressed the desire to work with Trump "to advance its policy goals" if he wins the Republican nomination and November’s general election.

Also, with the help of the Heritage Foundation, Trump has been making a list of Supreme Court nominees he would choose if he becomes president.

In related news, Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has recently announced his national security team.  It is heavy with think tankers from conservative think tank outfits.

Monday, March 21, 2016

AIPAC Conference Filled With Think Tankers

Dozens of think tankers from Washington's most powerful think tanks and beyond will be speaking at this year's annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington, DC.  Among them include:

  • Elliott Abrams of Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)
  • Ghaith al-Omari of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP)
  • Yaakov Amidror of JINSA's Gemunder Center
  • Dan Arbell of the Brookings Institution
  • Ilan Berman of the American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC)
  • Michael Breen of Truman Center and Truman Project
  • Shawn Brimley of Center for a New American Security (CNAS)
  • William Burns of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP)
  • Daniel Byman of the Brookings Institution
  • Soner Cagaptay of WINEP
  • Mike Doran of the Hudson Institute
  • Mark Dubowitz of Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD)
  • Charles Dunne of Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Zack Gold of the Atlantic Council
  • Lawrence Haas of AFPC
  • John Hannah of FDD
  • Michael Herzog of WINEP
  • Oren Kessler of FDD
  • Emily Landau of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Matthew Levitt of WINEP
  • Tanvi Madan of the Brookings Institution
  • Alan Makovsky of WINEP
  • Tara Maller of New America
  • William McCants of the Brookings Institution
  • Aaron David Miller of the Wilson Center
  • Emanuele Ottolenghi of FDD
  • Peter Pham of the Atlantic Council
  • David Pollock of WINEP
  • Dennis Ross of WINEP
  • Michael Rubin of American Enterprise Institute (AEI)
  • Natan Sachs of the Brookings Institution
  • Jonathan Schanzer of FDD
  • David Schenker of WINEP
  • Randall Shriver of the Project 2049 Institute
  • Vance Serchuk of CNAS
  • Brenda Shaffer of Atlantic Council
  • Michael Singh of WINEP
  • Eric Trager of WINEP
  • Dmitri Trenin of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Alex Votanka of MEI
  • Benjamin Weinthal of FDD
  • Leon Wieseltier of Brookings
  • Sarah Yerkes of Brookings
  • Neri Zilber of WINEP

More about the 2016 conference can be found here.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Think Tank Quickies (#209)

  • FYI: Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests do not apply to think tanks.
  • Rush Limbaugh: Nobody puts think tanks on TV because nobody wants to watch them. (C-Span?)
  • Center for American Progress (CAP) released booklet highlighting ideas for the future of the global progressive movement; contributions from Bill Clinton, Justin Trudeau, and Matteo Renzi.
  • Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) on retirement from US House offers advice: "You can get caught up in the Washington Beltway think tanks.  You've got to stay connected to your local district."
  • Lugar Center and Georgetown University release 2015 ranking of how partisan each Member of Congress is.
  • Think tankers such as Jeremy Barofsky (Brookings), John Holahan (Urban Institute), and Alex Brill (AEI) sign Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease open letter to presidential candidates.
  • The 2015 New Establishment Summit hosted by Vanity Fair in association with the Aspen Institute, brought in the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Bob Iger, Elon Musk, Jared Leto, and Lena Dunham.
  • The problem with Turkey's think tanks. 
  • Book review of "How Think Tanks Shape Social Policy Development.
  • Flashback: MSNBC's Chris Hayes spars with Employment Policy Institute over think tank moniker.