Friday, November 30, 2012

Qatar Buying Influence at US Think Tanks?

Here is what the Washington Post in reporting:
Some of Qatar’s most significant investments have been in establishing outposts of Western universities and think tanks. Among others, the country has partnered with the Brookings Institution, Georgetown University and the Royal United Services Institute to open programs specializing in science, journalism, education, agriculture and foreign policy.
“An important question is: Why are they doing it and what, if anything, does Qatar get out it?” said Hanna, the Century Foundation expert, who suggested that “vanity and a real search for prestige” might be part of the answer.
As academic institutions, Brookings and the other affiliated organizations retain their intellectual independence, but their positions often echo those of the Qatari government. Scholars at Brookings Doha Center, for example, have emerged as key backers of U.S. military support for the armed opposition in Syria and as influential voices explaining and defending the role of the Muslim Brotherhood, a chief beneficiary of Qatar’s largesse.
Salman Shaikh, the director of Brookings Doha Center and a former adviser to Qatar’s first lady, said that the center has no institutional positions and that its analysts and fellows have a “healthy variety of views” on the fate of the region, including critics of military intervention in Syria.
“Just because some of our views happen to coincide with Qatar’s approach or Qatari interest shouldn’t be taken to mean something it doesn’t,” he said.
“I’ve not had one conversation where the Qataris have tried to sway me in one particular direction over the last two years,” he said. “That’s not to say they always agree with me. They clearly don’t. But I think, credit to the Qataris that they seem to be sticking with this when others have become more nervous. I think they see this in the long run as a public good.”
Here is commentary from The Peninsula titled "In Qatar, do think-tanks matter?"

The Think Tankers Advising the US Military in Kabul

This is from an article that ProPublica just published:
The most prominent and frequent traveler appears to have been the American Enterprise Institute’s Fred Kagan. Best known as the intellectual author of the Iraq surge strategy, Kagan said he and his wife, Kimberley Kagan of the Institute for the Study of War, spent a total of about 270 days in Afghanistan while Petraeus was in command from summer 2010 to summer 2011, and about 128 days under Gen. John Allen, who took command after Petraeus and remains in the position.
Like others we spoke with, Kagan said Petraeus and other generals have routinely brought think tankers to both Iraq and Afghanistan, both to solicit outside advice and to shape the debate back home.
Defense Department spokesman Bill Speaks told ProPublica that the Pentagon often reaches out to such outside experts to advise war commanders.
“We do periodically invite those experts involved in relevant research to receive briefings on the status of the campaign,” Speaks said in an email. He said the military does not have a comprehensive list of think tank members who have visited the U.S. headquarters in Kabul.
Indeed, the trips do not appear to have been part of any formal program, and they often differed in length and purpose.
Other think tankers we spoke with say they spent much less time in Afghanistan than Kagan, usually a few weeks or less. Those who have participated are from both Republican- and Democratic-leaning think tanks and they said they were not compensated.
“We did battlefield circulation, visited units in the field, and met with local political and security leaders,” says John Nagl, a retired Army officer and current fellow at the Center for a New American Security who took one military trip to Iraq and two to Afghanistan.
Nagl — who said attendees were responsible for getting to Kabul on their own and the military then covered transportation, lodging, and food — believed the trips allowed him “to be better informed in my analysis and advocacy.”
Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution, who has taken the trips several times to both Iraq and Afghanistan, says the practice first became common under Petraeus during the surge in Iraq in 2007.
Kenneth Pollack, also of Brookings, credits a 2007 military trip to Iraq with prompting he and O’Hanlon to write an influential New York Times op-ed supporting Petraeus’ surge strategy in the country.
“I hesitate to say these trips are uniformly good or bad. They can be both, they can be neither,” Pollack told us.  “It so depends on the people you meet and the people you’re taking” on the trip.  At times “there’s no question they’re trying to have you see things the way that they see them. But if you’re smart about it, you can get past that.”
Max Boot, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, has also gone on the trips. He declined to comment.
 Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on David Petraeus's connection to think tanks.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Think Tank Quickies #27

  • BPC: US needs National Energy Strategy Council.
  • Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) outlines plan to avoid fiscal cliff at CAP.
  • Heartland Institute has joined with ALEC to write model legislation aimed at reversing  state renewable energy mandates across the country.
  • BPC and Wilson Center hold roundtable discussions to fix Congress. 
  • Hillary Clinton live webcast at Brookings today. 
  • Heritage Foundation hijacks Obama's fiscal cliff hashtag on Twitter.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Think Tank Event of the Week

The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) will be holding an event tomorrow (November 29) titled "Changing Minds, Changing Course?  The Evolution and Education of American Think Tanks."  The talk will be given by Donald Abelson, professor of political science at Western University in Canada.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on Donald Abelson's new book titled "Do Think Tanks Matter."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

UPenn & State Dept. Host Euro Think Tank Summit

The University of Pennsylvania and the US State Department hosted a summit for leaders of Europe's top domestic and foreign policy think tanks on November 20.

The meeting, titled "Think Tanks in a Time of Crisis and Paralysis: On the Sidelines or Catalysts for Ideas and Actions," was held at the US Embassy in Rome, Italy.

Here are some more details from a press release:
Participating institutions will include the Brookings Institution; Bruegel of Belgium; CASE, a leading think tank in Poland; the Untied Kingdom’s Chatham House; the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research in the United Arab Emirates; the French Institute for International Relations; the German Marshall Fund of the United States; SETA Foundation of Turkey; the World Economic Forum of Switzerland; and more than three dozen others.
The Summit is a precursor to the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program release of the Global Go-To Think Tank Rankings in January. Launched in 2006, the University of Pennsylvania’s Global Go-To Think Tank Rankings” annual report has become an authoritative source for the top public policy research institutes in the world.
A video and photo gallery of the event can be viewed here.

Think Tankers Make FP's 100 Top Global Thinkers

Several think tankers made this year's Foreign Policy (FP) list of 100 Top Global Thinkers:
  • Charles Murray, W.H. Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).
  • Thomas Mann, Senior Fellow, Government Studies, The W. Averall Harriman Chair, Brookings Institution.
  • Norman Ornstein, Resident Scholar at AEI.
  • Robert Kagan, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Center on the United States and Europe, Brookings Institution.
  • Wang Jisi, former director of the Institute of International Strategic Studies at the Central Party School in China.  He also served as director of the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).
Brookings Senior Fellow Kenneth Lieberthal and Wang Jisi co-authored an influential paper earlier in the year titled "Addressing US-China Strategic Distrust."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Think Tank Quickies #26

  • WellStar to take over Gingrich-created think tank.
  • Outgoing PIIE President Fred Bergsten appointed to Ex-Im Bank's Advisory Committee; CAP's Carol Browner also appointed.
  • Americans for Tax Reform, Cato, Heritage, PIIE, Progressive Economy and Third Way support Russia PNTR.
  • Chris Matthews: If Romney won, you'd have folks from AEI and Heritage running the DoD.
  • Brookings: US government should neither promote nor limit LNG exports. 
  • Obama official Zakiya Smith leaving to join CAP.
  • CSIS: US-India military ties can alter world power dynamics.
  • Heritage Foundation on the Twinkie shortage: Blame unions.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Petraeus's Lover Embraced Think Tanks

Paula Broadwell didn't just have a love affairs with former CIA Director David Petraeus, she also had a love affair with Washington think tanks.

Here is what the Washington Post reports:
In Washington, she became a frequent television guest and speaker at conferences sponsored by some of Washington’s most prestigious foreign policy think tanks.
She wrote combat dispatches on Foreign Policy magazine’s Web site and made frequent appearances at think tank events as an expert on counterinsurgency, Petraeus and the Afghan war.
In July 2012, Broadwell appeared on a media panel at the Aspen Security Forum. “I was embedded with General Petraeus in Afghanistan,” she said. She acknowledged that her dual role as a biographer and a military reservist with the highest top-secret clearances allowed her to view “secure compartmentalized intelligence” and caused confusion for some in Petraeus’s headquarters, who saw her as a journalist.
Before the panel discussion began, she warned journalists on it about the dangers of leaking classified material and e-mailed them a report from the conservative American Enterprise Institute detailing the five most damaging security leaks of the past year.
Michael O'Hanlon, Director of Research, Foreign Policy, and Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, 21st Century Defense Initiative at Brookings Institution, has come out in defense of both Broadwell and Petraeus, who are both friends of his.

Another big name who has been caught up in this whole drama is Gen. John Allen.  He served as a Marine Corps Fellow to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and was the first Marine Corps officer inducted as a Team Member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

Wilson Center President to Become Next CIA Head?

Here is what Politico reports:
Another frequently mentioned name [for CIA Director]: former Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), who served on the House Intelligence Committee and quit Congress last year to head up the Woodrow Wilson Center.
[Bush Administration Homeland Security Adviser Fran] Townsend said naming Harman would be “most in keeping with the two previous” directors in terms of appointing someone who knows the ways of Congress.

A CIA director’s ability to win over Congress is “hugely important,” said Hamilton, now at Indiana University. “You have to keep them on your side and it takes a lot of trips to the Hill and a lot of consultation, otherwise the leader in the intelligence [committees] get very nervous. … The relationship with Congress is a critical part of the job.”
Harman said this week she expects Obama to tap either Morell or Brennan, whom The Washington Post has pointed to as the leading candidates. “I think the two candidates whose names have been floated are likely be selected and would be an excellent choice, but I’m flattered to be on the lists various people have put forward,” she told POLITICO.
But some lawmakers said nominating Harman could resurrect questions about press reports that a wiretap captured her promising to lobby the Justice Department to drop a criminal case against two pro-Israel lobbyists. Harman has called the claims an “outrageous and recycled canard.”
As Think Tank Watch noted in a previous post, Harman is good friends with both David Petraeus and his wife.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Think Tanks Commissioned to Reduce US Deficit

Here is what the Washington Post reports:
For all the hand-wringing over the deficit, there still aren’t that many new deficit-reduction plans out there: the Ryan budget, Obama’s budget, and Simpson-Bowles remain the basic guideposts in the debate. To broaden the horizon of possibilities, the Peterson Foundation commissioned five think-tanks to come up with their own plans for reducing the deficit over 10 and 25 years: the Center for American Progress and the Economic Policy Institute on the left; the American Action Forum and the Heritage Foundation on the right; and the Bipartisan Policy Center in the middle.
At the link above, you can view a comparison of how the five think tanks would reduce the deficit in two charts.

Mother Jones has a similar article on the study.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sen. Lugar Ponders Think Tank Land

A spokesman for retiring Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) had this to say about Lugar:
A spokesman for Lugar says the senator has been talking with some think tanks and universities about positions taking advantage of his long tenure as a leading member of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee.
The Republican senator has been mentioned as a possible secretary of state or CIA director under President Barack Obama, but Lugar spokesman Andy Fisher tells WIBC-FM that such reports are "without any forethought or knowledge."
Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on which think tanks Sen. Lugar may join.

Congress' In-House Think Tank Takes Heat

This is what Roll Call reports:
Thomas L. Hungerford, a seven-year veteran analyst with the fiercely nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, has written countless reports for members of Congress about the economic effects of various tax policy proposals.
He works pretty much as his 500 analyst colleagues at the CRS do, churning out studies and updates that seek to give members an intellectual and informational framework for the policy decisions they debate in the House and Senate.
Though treasured by members, staff and all manner of policy experts in and around Capitol Hill, the work product of Congress’ in-house “think tank” isn’t always a dry, just-the-facts-ma’am recitation of academic literature. CRS analysts can and will step out of the shadows and deliver conclusions based on their considerable expertise and research.
The problem for Hungerford and his fellow analysts comes when those conclusions inflame, rather than just inform, the debate. What’s more, the institutional policies that the CRS employs to protect its staff analysts from controversy aren’t always clear or helpful.
That complicates the agency’s relationship with Congress, which has come to expect certain results from its requests for reports.
“No one asks for anything from CRS without knowing what the answer is,” said Ike Brannon of the American Action Forum. He was previously the chief economist for the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the principal economic adviser for Senate Finance ranking member Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah.
Hungerford, in his most recent report, wanted to answer a single question that he knew would continue to divide Democrats and Republicans as the fiscal cliff comes nearer: Was there an association between top tax rates and economic growth?
He found no association, a conclusion that went against conservative economic theory and bolstered the mainstream Democratic position.
That conclusion didn’t go unnoticed when his report was published in September. Congressional Republicans called foul on the findings, which they said were biased and methodologically flawed. When the CRS removed the report from its internal website in mid-October, Democrats accused the agency of caving to political pressure and Republicans of censoring results they did not like.
The episode made national news, but it’s just the most recent example of how the agency’s guidelines for analysts — or lack thereof — can lead to confusion, partisan tensions and, perhaps most damning, doubts about objectivity.
According to the latest think tank rankings by the University of Pennsylvania, CRS is considered the best government-affiliated think tank in the world.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

British Think Tank Postpones Petraeus Award

Here is what AFP is reporting:
A leading British defence think-tank said on Wednesday it had postponed the presentation of its highest award to former CIA chief David Petraeus after he was involved in a sex scandal.
The retired US general had been due to visit London in late November to receive the Royal United Services Institute's (RUSI) Chesney Gold Medal Award for his counterinsurgency strategies in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"In light of recent developments, the presentation on Nov 26 of the Rusi Chesney Gold Medal for General Petraeus' distinguished lifetime service and contribution to international defence and security will now be postponed," Rusi said in a statement.
"The presentation of the award to General Petraeus will take place on a date to be determined, in early 2013, at the Tower of London." Previous recipients of the award include British prime ministers Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher.
Here is the media announcement by RUSI.

RUSI is considered the 44th best non-US think tank in the world according to the latest raking conducted by the University of Pennsylvania.  It is also considered the 20th best security and international affairs think tank in the world.

In more RUSI news, RUSI Japan was launched in October in Tokyo.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on David Petraeus' links to various think tanks.

Think Tank Quickies #25

  • Jewish security think tank JINSA seeking new Director.
  • New Latino digital think tank launches at Rutgers University.
  • CEI think tank to sue Treasury Department to make carbon tax proposal emails public.
  • On INSS's recent simulation on air strikes against Iran.
  • Why are think tanks popular among celebrities, journalists, and media moguls? 
  • National Review: Republicans prefer DC think tanks to community organizing. 
  • BPC's post-election summit in New Orleans.

Tweet of the Week: Post-Election & Think Tanks

Here is what MSNBC contributor and Slate journalist Dave Weigel tweeted:


Third Way = "Wall Street on the Potomac"?

Here is what William Black, Associate Professor at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, says about the think tank Third Way on his Huffington Post blog post titled "Wall Street Uses Third Way to Lead Its Assault on Social Security."
Third Way, lobbyists for and from Wall Street who are leading the effort to enrich Wall Street by privatizing Social Security, was created by Wall Street to fool some of the people all of the time. I have written previously to expose their fictional claims to be a moderate or liberal Democratic group.
I showed that Third Way makes itself useful by providing a faux "liberal" or "moderate" "Democratic" quote machine that can be used to discredit Democrats and Democratic policies such as the safety net. I gave examples of how Third Way gave aid and comfort to the effort to defeat Elizabeth Warren and the effort to unravel the safety net. Third Way continues to prove that you can fool some of the people all of the time.
Let me attempt again to make the basic facts clear. Third Way is not a "liberal think tank." It does not take "a centrist approach." It is not run by "fellow progressives." It is not concerned with "protecting entitlements." It is not even a "think tank." Third Way is a creature of Wall Street. It's version of "protecting" the safety net was made infamous during the Tet offensive in Vietnam when the American officer explained that "it became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it."
Third Way is the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party, which seeks to defeat Democratic candidates like Elizabeth Warren running against Wall Street sycophants like Senator Scott Brown and seeks to unravel the safety net programs that are the crown jewels of the Democratic Party. Wall Street's "natural" party is certainly the Republican Party, but Wall Street has no permanent party or ideology, only permanent interests. Third Way serves its financial interests and the personal interests of its senior executives. Wall Street has always been the enemy of Social Security and its greatest dream is to privatize Social Security. Wall Street's senior executives live in terror of being held accountable under the criminal laws for their crimes. They became wealthy by leading the "control frauds" that drove the financial crisis and the Great Recession. This is why Wall Street made defeating Warren a top priority.
Third Way is run by a man who Lautner terms an "acolyte" of Pete Peterson. Peterson is a Republican, Wall Street billionaire who has two priorities -- imposing austerity on America and privatizing Social Security. Privatizing Social Security is Wall Street's unholy grail. They would receive hundreds of billions of dollars in fees and ensure that their firms were not only "too big to fail," but "too big to criticize" if they could profit from a privatized retirement system. (We do not know who funds Third Way because it refuses to make its donors public. Given who dominates its Board of Trustees, however, the donors must be overwhelmingly from Wall Street.)
Third Way's self-description has some elements of honesty, admitting that it is "led by a prominent private sector Board of Trustees, drawn from finance, industry, academia, the non-profit sector and government." The order is revealing -- the board is dominated by finance, with a thin veneer provided by industry, and with the barest patina of "academics" and "government."
Third Way, founded in 2005, did not make the most recent list of top think tanks put together by the University of Pennslyvania.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fmr. CIA Director Petraeus Cozy With Think Tanks

Here is what the Washington Post reports:
Prominent members of conservative, Washington-based defense think tanks were given permanent office space at his headquarters and access to military aircraft to tour the battlefield. They provided advice to field commanders that sometimes conflicted with orders the commanders were getting from their immediate bosses.
Here is another excerpt from a different Washington Post article on Petraeus:
He [Petraeus] published on counterinsurgency, an idea that earned him some attention in D.C. policy circles – including some conservative think tanks with access to the White House – and would later guide his “surge” approach in Iraq.
The Atlantic asks which think tanks Petraeus was courting.

Rod Dreher of The Conservative American asks the same questions.  Wanders Dreher:
Who are these prominent think tank members, and who funds their think tanks? Is there a reasonable explanation for this, one that would also justify allowing prominent members of liberal think tanks to have similar privileges? I can’t think of any. Help me out here.
Retired US Army Lt. Col. John Nagl, the former President of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), is friends with Petraeus.  Nagl remains a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at CNAS.  Thomas Ricks, a Senior Fellow at CNAS, is also considered somewhat close to Petraeus.  He says that he has been friends with Petraeus for about 15 years.

As Think Tank Watch noted in a previous post, Brookings Institution scholar Michael O'Hanlon is a close friend of Petraeus.  During the time of that post, there was some speculation that Petraeus could become the next president of Princeton.  O'Hanlon, Director of Research and Senior Fellow at the liberal-leaning Brookings, is also on the Board of Advisors at CNAS.  He is also on the CIA's External Advisory Board.

Former Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) has also said that she is good friends with David Petraeus and his wife, Holly.  Harman is currently Director, President, and CEO of the Wilson Center.  She is also on the CIA's External Advisory Board, just like Michael O'Hanlon.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) also has connections to Petraeus.  The Institute's President, Dr. Kimberly Kagan, assisted Petraeus with key transition tasks following his assumption of command in Afghanistan in 2010.  Kagan is the spouse of the neoconservative writer Frederick Kagan.

ISW hosted Petraeus for a conversation in January 2010.  At that event, Petraeus reportedly praised Kim Kagan and husband Frederick Kagan, who is the Christopher DeMuth Chair and Director, Critical Threats Project, at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).  [A recent op-ed in the Washington Post that the Kagans penned on Afghanistan troop levels can be found here.]

Petraeus lauded the "surge" in Iraq and reportedly praised a study sponsored by AEI titled "Choosing Victory: A Plan for Success in Iraq."  That study was led by Fred Kagan and retired Gen. Jack Keane (an ISW board member), with Kim Kagan and a number of AEI scholars including Danille Pletka, Michael Rubin, Reuel Marc Gerecht, Thomas Donnelly, and Gary Schmitt, among others, as advisors.

Here is another article on Petraeus and think tanks.  It mentions the two part series by Michael Flynn (linked above) in his article titled "Surge of Think Tanks Blurs US Policy Lines."  Part II on that series can be found here.  The article notes that David Petraeus was awarded AEI's Irving Kristol Award in 2010.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on former CIA officials who have joined think tanks.

Think Tankers Invited to Private Obama Meeting

Here is what Reuters is reporting about a meeting President Obama is planning to hold today with liberal and progressive leaders:
Also at the session on Tuesday would be leaders of civic and politically progressive groups. They were John Podesta and Neera Tanden of the Center for American Progress, Robert Greenstein of the think tank Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Laura Burton Capps of Common Purpose Project, Max Richtman of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security, Justin Ruben of MoveOn and Deepak Bhargava of Center for Community Change.
It does not look like there is an olive branch being extended to conservative think tanks this time around.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Think Tank Quickies #24

  • Israeli think tank INSS simulates aftermath of strike on Iran nuclear facilities.
  • WRI President Andrew Steer says a global carbon trading market may be established this decade.
  • Mexican think tank on pot legalization.
  • How I learned to stop being bitter and love the think tanks. 
  • Brookings Doha Center reshaping the Syrian opposition. 
  • Brookings: China's Top 25 Leaders to Watch.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Think Tanks Abound With Former Spies

Think tanks are filled with former intelligence community officials.  Following are some examples of former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officials who are now (or recently have been) at think tanks:
  • Christopher Johnson, Senior Advisor and Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), is a former CIA senior China analyst.
  • Scott Modell, Senior Associate (Non-Resident), Burke Chair in Strategy at CSIS, was a senior officer in the National Clandestine Service of the CIA.
  • Guy Caruso, Senior Advisor in the Energy and National Security Program at CSIS, worked at the CIA as an international energy economist in the office of Economic Research.
  • Sameer Bhalotra, Senior Associate (Non-Resident), Technology and Public Policy Program at CSIS, worked at the CIA.
  • Clark Murdock, Senior Advisor and Director, Project on Nuclear Issues at CSIS, served in multiple roles at the CIA.
  • David Addington, Senior Vice President and Deputy Chief Operating Officer at the Heritage Foundation, was a senior official at the CIA.
  • Lisa Curtis, Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, worked as an analyst for the CIA.
  • Bruce Klinger, Senior Research Fellow, Northeast Asia at the Heritage Foundation, worked at the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).
  • Douglas Paal, Vice President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP), was a senior analyst at the CIA.
  • Bruce Riedel, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings, had a 30-year career at the CIA.
  • Kenneth Pollack, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings, was an Iran-Iraq military analyst for the CIA.
  • Marie Harf, a current Media Spokesperson for the CIA, was in the Next Generation National Security Leaders class of 2010-2011 at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).
  • Melvin Goodman, Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy (CIP), is a former CIA analyst. 
  • Arturo Munoz, Senior Political Analyst at Rand Corporation, worked at the CIA for 29 years. 
  • William Young, Senior Policy Analyst at Rand Corporation, worked for ODNI and the CIA. 
  • Benjamin Lambeth, Senior Research Associate at the Rand Corporation, worked at the CIA. 
  • Fiona Hill, Director of the Center on the United States and Europe, and Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Program at Brookings, served as a National Intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia at The National Intelligence Council (2006-2009). 
  • Philip Mudd, Senior Research Fellow at New American Foundation (NAF), is a former high-ranking CIA counterterrorism official.
  • Aki Peritz, Senior Policy Advisor for National Security at Third Way, is a former CIA counterterrorism official. 
  • Richard Bush, Director of the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies at Brookings,was a National Intelligence Officer for East Asia at the National Intelligence Council.
  • Paul Pillar, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at Brookings, was an intelligence officer with the CIA and National Intelligence Council. 
  • John McLaughlin, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at Brookings, was the former Acting Director of the CIA. 
  • Joseph Nye, a Trustee at CSIS, was the former Chairman of the National Intelligence Council. 
  • Eugene Rumer, who is joining CEIP as Associate and Director of its Russia and Eurasia Program, was a national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia at the National Intelligence Council. 
  • Michael Shurkin, a political scientist at the RAND Corp., was a former CIA analyst. 
  • Eugene Rumer, a Senior Associate and Director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at CEIP, served as a national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia at the National Intelligence Council.
  • Matthew Burrows, Director of the Strategic Foresight Initiative at Atlantic Council, used to work for the CIA. 
  • Susan Hennessey, a Brookings fellow, is a former NSA lawyer. 
  • David Shedd, a Visiting Distinguished Fellow at Heritage is former acting director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). 
  • James Clapper, a Distinguished Senior Fellow for Intelligence and National Security and CNAS, was the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). 
  • Sue Mi Terry, a Senior Fellow for the Korea Chair at CSIS, was a former CIA analyst.
  • Jung Pak, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, is a former Korea analyst at the CIA.

It looks like CIA Director David Petraeus, who resigned on November 9, 2012 citing an extramarital affair, will be on the market for a think tank job.

The CIA has its own internal think tank, The Global Futures Partnership (GFP), which has a website here.

Please note: This list is periodically update, and some of the above-mentioned scholars may no longer be affiliated with think tank land.

CAP Beefs Up National Security & Int'l Policy Team

The Center for American Progress (CAP) announced several new people with be joining its National Security and International Policy team.  They include:
  • Patrick Murphy, a Senior Fellow at CAP, is a former US House member (D-PA).  He was a member of the Blue Dog Democrats.
  • David Miliband, a Distinguished Fellow at CAP, is the former British foreign secretary.  He will be based in the UK where he remains a British Labour Party politician.
  • Glen Fukushima, a Senior Fellow at CAP, was a Senior Vice President of Airbus SAS, and Chairman and Director of Airbus Japan K.K.
Is CAP trying to become a foreign policy and national security heavyweight in the think tank community?

CAP is currently ranked as the 11th best think tank in the US, according to the most recent University of Pennsylvania "Global Go To Think Tanks Report."  CAP is ranked #25 in the world in terms of best "security and international affairs" think tank.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

CNAS CEO Stepping Down to Join CIA-Linked Firm

It was announced today that Center for a New American Security (CNAS) CEO Nathaniel Fick is stepping down at the end of November to become CEO of Endgame, Inc., a cyber security company.

Endgame was started by executives from Internet Security Systems (ISS; acquired by IBM in 2006) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Endgame reportedly raised $29 million in venture funding in 2010 from Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP), Columbia Capital, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB).  Fick has been an Operating Partner at BVP since 2011.

Fick will remain on CNAS's Board of Directors

The CNAS Board of Directors is leading the search for a new CEO.  That effort is being chaired by Dr. Richard Danzig, Chairman of the CNAS Board of Directors.

As Think Tank Watch noted in an earlier post, CNAS got a new President in May 2012.

Think Tank Heads React to Obama's Win

Center for American Progress (CAP) President and CEO Neera Tanden had this to say about President Obama's win:
This election offered a clear choice between an America that works for everyone, and a top-down America that works only for the wealthy few. The outcome was decisive: voters chose an America where everyone pays their fair share, where we create shared prosperity by strengthening the middle class, and where we treat all people with dignity and respect. As we look forward to the critical issues Washington faces, this election was a decisive mandate for a fair tax system where the wealthy contribute to address our deficit challenges. No issue was more litigated in the campaign than a fairer tax system and Americans will expect real action on this and other important priorities.
Here is an excerpt from what Heritage Foundation President Ed Fuelner had to say:
Yes, conservatives are disappointed that a President who recklessly spent trillions, expanded government and put many of our values and institutions at risk has won a second term. But many of us have been here before. In Washington, there are no permanent victories or permanent defeats, just permanent battles.
Now is the time to stand up and declare we will continue to fight against big government and for freedom.
We will see unfold over the next four years a crucial battle for the soul of America. This struggle requires committed warriors for the cause. The line must be held against bad policy while we continue advocating conservative solutions. We must fight against the efforts to divide the country through class warfare.
The Heritage Foundation has started a new webpage (SignWithHeritage.com) asking people to commit to five issues it deems most critical:
  • We must repeal Obamacare and bring real health care solutions for the American people based on consumer choice and free market principles.
  • We must cut spending, fix the debt, reform entitlements, and balance the budget within ten years without raising taxes.
  • We must ensure our nation has a strong national defense.
  • We must restore limited, constitutional government.
  • We must preserve American exceptionalism, because we think Lincoln was right when he called America “the last, best hope of earth.”
As of this morning, 1,791 people have signed the Heritage pledge.

Here is a Washington Post article on what Heritage Action for America, the lobbying wing of the Heritage Foundation, is saying about the Obama win.

Here is a Muckety piece about how conservative think tanks reacted to President Obama's win.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Brookings: New Poll Forecasting Model is Superior

Writes Brookings:
Justin Wolfers and David Rothschild present a new model on voter intention that may predict election results better than traditional polls. In the 345 elections they analyze, the new model—based on voters' expectations—predicted the winner 81 percent of the time, compared with 69 percent for the standard polling question.
The full paper can be found here.

Brookings will be one of among many think tanks to host post-election events.  Brookings will also be hosting a live web chat on the results of the 2012 elections.

On a similar topic, Brookings scholar Darrell West has put together the top five campaign ads for President Obama and the top five for Gov. Mitt Romney.

American Enterprise Institute's (AEI) Michael Barone is predicting a Romney win for tomorrow.  AEI will be hosting its own post-election event later this week.

As noted in this previous Think Tank Watch post, the RAND Corporation is predicting an Obama win.

More Think Tanks = More Military?

Here is what Anti-Think Tanks wrote in a recent Tweet:


Based on the University of Pennsylvania's "Global Go To Think Tanks Report," here are the countries with the largest number of think tanks:
  1. US: 1815
  2. China: 425
  3. India: 292
  4. UK: 286
  5. Germany: 194
  6. France: 176
  7. Argentina: 137
  8. Russia: 112
  9. Japan: 103
  10. Canada: 97
The Tweet does not define "big" in terms of military (i.e., expenditures, size of force, etc...), but in terms of spending, here are the top ten:
  1. US
  2. China
  3. UK
  4. France
  5. Russia
  6. Japan
  7. Saudi Arabia
  8. Germany
  9. India
  10. Italy
In general, if a country is large or wealthy, it has more think tanks, and almost inevitably, it will have a bigger military.  Argentina (#7 in terms of think tanks) and Canada (#10 in terms of think tanks), however, are in the top ten in terms of number of think tanks, but are not in the top ten in terms of military spending.

Of course, one could also make many other similar correlations.  For instance, the more think tanks a country has, the more McDonald's restaurants it has.  But does correlation imply causation in these cases?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Think Tankers Jockey for Romney Cabinet Posts

A variety of powerful think tankers are being rumored as candidates to fill top posts in the Mitt Romney Administration should be win next week's election.

Among them include:
  • Robert Zoellick, former George W. Bush Administration official who recently stepped down as head of the World Bank, is being mentioned as a possible head of the State Department or Treasury Department.  He is now a Distinguished Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) and a Senior Fellow at Harvard's Belfer Center.
  • John Bolton, former Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security as well as US Permanent Representative to the UN, is a possible pick for Secretary of State.  He is a Senior Fellow at American Enterprise Institute (AEI).
  • Richard Williamson, a top foreign policy official in the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush Administrations, is a possible pick for National Security Adviser.  He is currently on a leave of absence from the Brookings Institution.
  • Dan Senor, Chief Spokesman in the Bush Administration for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, would likely be named to a top security position.  He is an Adjunct Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
  • Richard Haass, former Director for Policy Planning at the State Department, is named as a possible pick for Secretary of State.  He is the President of CFR.
  • Mitchell Reiss, Director of the Office of Policy and Planning at the State Department, is mentioned as a possible pick for a top foreign policy post.  He is on the Board of Directors at CNAS.
  • Elliott Abrams, Bush's Deputy National Security Advisor, is mentioned as a possible pick for a top foreign policy post.  He is a Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at CFR.

Think Tank Quickies #23

  • Hong Kong think tanks rise and fall on the fortunes of politicians.
  • Heritage set to host briefing sessions for new Members of Congress. 
  • CAP report: Cut $1 trillion from defense, but not through sequestration. 
  • Brookings predicts unemployment rate.
  • CFR's "Crisis Guide" on climate change.
  • AEI chart: Which US events in the last 25 years have caused the most economic uncertainty?

Two Presidential-Connected Think Tanks Make Top 100 Nonprofits List

The Carter Center and the George W. Bush Presidential Foundation (related to the George W. Bush Policy Institute) made the 2012 Top 100 Nonprofits list, a survey conducted by The NonProfit Times (NPT).

The Carter Center was #84 on the list, with $202,858,134 in revenue.  The George W. Bush Presidential Foundation was #99 on the list with $161,017,490 in revenue.

The Pew Charitable Trusts also made the list (#49) with $300,131,637.  They fund the Pew Research Center, which is often called a think tank.

The William J. Clinton Foundation also made the list, although that organization is typically not considered a think tank.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Think Tankers Make "Top Lobbyists" List

The Hill has just published its 2012 "Top Lobbyists" list, and a couple think tankers made this year's cut.
  • Matt Bennett, Third Way: The centrist think tank has been nudging Congress toward a grand bargain on the federal debt and will be urging lawmakers to "go big" if deal making takes place after the election.
  • Daniel Weiss, Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAPAF): Weiss leads the climate change team at CAP, a liberal think tank that is hard at work on an agenda for the next Democratic majority - whenever it arrives.
I have not included people from "quasi-think tanks," such as Americans for Tax Reforms' (AFT) Grover Norquist, who made The Hill list.

Think Tanks Partner to Solve US Debt Crisis

A group of well-connected think tanks and former Members of Congress have been holding a series of meetings in order to raise awareness of the US's growing and unsustainable debt.  The effort is called Strengthening of America - Our Children's Future.

The effort is a joint project of the following think tanks and organizations:
The Steering Committee for the effort includes more than 30 former Members of Congress.

Strengthening of America - Our Children's Future, is also working closely and coordinating with:
Videos/audio of recent meetings can be found here.  This link to the Concord Coalition has some more information.