Thursday, March 28, 2013

USIP Hosting Four African Heads of State

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) will be hosting four African leaders tomorrow at an event titled "Consolidating Democratic Gains, Promoting African Prosperity."  The four leaders are:
  • Ernest Bai Koromo, President of Sierra Leone
  • Macky Sall, President of Senegal
  • Joyce Banda, President of Malawi
  • José Maria Neves, Prime Minister of Cape Verde

The event will be webcast live here.

The leaders are in Washington, DC to meet with President Obama.

USIP was just ranked as the 18th best think tank in the US by the annual University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.  It was also ranked as the 28th best security and international affairs think tank in the world.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Thinks Tanks a Hotbed for Spy Recruitment

Think tanks have long been a place for spies to recruit people.  Here is an excerpt from a recent Washington Post article on a US defense contractor who was allegedly approached at a military-related conference by a Chinese women and later began passing classified information to her.
In a classic espionage case, a 59-year-old former Army defense contractor in Hawaii was charged this month with passing classified information to his 27-year-old Chinese lover whom he first met at a military conference.
Benjamin Pierce Bishop, a former Army officer with a top-secret security clearance, worked at U.S. Pacific Command as a contractor. He is accused of turning over information about nuclear weapons, missile defense, and radar systems. The woman may have attended the conference “to target individuals . . . who work with and have access to U.S. classified information,” according to an FBI affidavit.
Last year, the FBI began a public campaign to alert the defense industry and other businesses to the “insider threat.” As part of the effort, billboards were placed along commuter corridors near nine leading research centers.
Here is more information from the FBI about the "insider threat" related to economic espionage.  Here is an FBI posting on how to spot a possible insider threat.  I wonder if the FBI will start putting up signs around think tank row.

Here is one more FBI memo on techniques that spies use to elicit information from people they meet at places such as think tank conferences.

Here is a Bloomberg report saying that American universities are "infected" by foreign spies detected by the FBI.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on which think tanks spies prefer.  Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on former US spies who have joined think tanks.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Think Tank Benefits - A Look at Brookings

How do benefits at think tanks compare to other work places?  Here is a look at the benefits that employees at the Brookings Institution get:
  • 5 weeks annual leave
  • 15 sick days per year
  • 10 paid holidays per year
  • 2 health plan options
  • Retirement - 12% contribution after 2 years
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • 25% discount on Brookings publications
  • Mass Transit & Parking Account (a pre-tax benefit)
  • Access to research seminars and briefings
  • On-site computer support and software training
  • On-site cafeteria
  • Think Tank Softball League 

Want to become a think tanker now?  Brookings, which was recently ranked as the #1 think tank in the world by the University of Pennsylvania's annual think tank rankings, has posted 24 job openings on its website since the beginning of 2013.
Here are the benefits that employment at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) offers.  Here is what American Enterprise Institute (AEI) offers.

How about think tank salaries?  Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on salaries that heads of think tanks receive.  Think Tank Watch will be posting an updated salary list in the coming weeks/months.

Think Tank Quickies #48

  • If you work at a think tank, you've probably been hacked.
  • Former Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), a newly minted AEI Senior Fellow, pens WSJ op-ed: America's nuclear deterrent/defenses eroding fast.
  • Brookings hosts Gen. John Allen to discuss Afghanistan.
  • Think tank boards: composition and practices.
  • Infographic: Funders of major conservative think tanks: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.
  • Campaigning charities must take note of think tanks. 
  • Washington, DC dominates new survey of "globally renowned" think tanks. 
  • Saudi Arabia needs oil and gas industry think tank. 
  • Center for Global Development (CGD) purchases office space at 2055 L Street, NW. 
  • US Department of Education official David Bergeron joins CAP.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Heritage a "Major Force" on Missile Defense

Here is what Politico is reporting:
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), who has emerged as one of the East Coast missile site’s most ardent advocates, gave a speech on missile defense Tuesday at a Heritage Foundation event commemorating 30 years since Reagan’s SDI speech.
Heritage is a major force on behalf of missile defense — it sponsored an hourlong movie, “33 Minutes,” that warns of what it calls the threat of a missile attack and calls for U.S. missile defense.
“Thirty years following President Ronald Reagan’s SDI speech, the United States still does not have a comprehensive ballistic missile defense system,” Heritage said in promoting its event. “While the geopolitical landscape has changed in the interim, the threat from ballistic missiles has continued to grow. Now more than ever, the United States needs a comprehensive ballistic missile defense system.”

A video of the Heritage event with Sen. Kelly Ayotte mentioned in the article can be viewed here.

Heritage Foundation was recently ranked as the 18th best think tank in the world by the University of Pennsylvania's annual think tank survey.  It was also ranked as the 9th best think tank in the US and the 11th best think tank in the world for security and international affairs.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

CNAS Founders Rejoin as Board Co-Chairs

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) announced today (March 21) that Kurt Campbell and Michele Flournoy have been named Co-Chairs of the think tank's Board of Directors.

Campbell is the former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and Flournoy is the former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy.

Ms. Flournoy has served on the CNAS Board since May 2012.

Here is a complete list of CNAS Board members.

In the recently released University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings, CNAS was ranked as the 14th best think tank in the US.  It was also ranked as the 24th best security and international affairs think tank in the world.  It was ranked 25th in the world in terms of think tanks having the most significant impact on public policy.

It was also ranked 18th in the world in terms of best use of the Internet or social media.  It was ranked as the 21st best think tank in terms of best use of media (print or electronic).  CNAS was also ranked as the 20th best think tank in terms of best external relations/public engagement program.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on CNAS's new CEO, Tom Work.

Here is a recent Think Tank Watch post on the close ties between CNAS and the White House.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Think Tank Quickies #47

  • The think tank of Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-MA) daughter.
  • Think tank conferences are no substitute for travel.
  • AEI event with Uber: How bogus consumer laws hurts taxis, toys, and braids.
  • New Pathways to Policy project to link Congressional legislation to think tank analysis. 
  • Prospect Magazine launches new site - a "hub for think tanks" to display their best work.
  • An alternative to funding domestic think tanks. 
  • Entries now open for Prospect Magazine's "Think Tank of the Year" Awards. 
  • AEI created Romney's 47% gaffe? 
  • CFR's world events calendar
  • Actor Harrison Ford speaks at CFR.

K Street Chill Sends Lawmakers to Think Tanks

It seems that lukewarm hiring at lobby shops is sending many former Members of Congress to look for posts at think tanks as they wait for the market to heat up.

Here is what Roll Call reports:
K Street shops, many in revenue decline for the past couple of years, can no longer afford the luxury of a high-priced former member. Senators usually don’t entertain offers worth less than $1 million, and House members’ threshold is typically about $700,000. And it’s an investment with no guaranteed payoff. Ever.
Still, it’s a bet that some firms are willing to wager, especially when it comes to top-tier, big-name talent off the Hill. And in recent weeks, the revolving door has deposited former Republican Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona and Scott Brown of Massachusetts plus former Nebraska Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson into plum positions. Ditto for former Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, former California Democratic Rep. Howard Berman and a select few of their colleagues who have set up shop in law firms or other outfits.
But that’s a small percentage of the more than 100 lawmakers who found themselves, voluntarily or not, out of work in early January. Many of them seem missing in action — think former Missouri Republican Rep. Todd Akin, who hasn’t tweeted since Nov. 6.
Among the hot prospects in line for corporate jobs, former independent Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut is still considering his options, sources said. Lieberman last week joined Kyl in an American Enterprise Institute project, but that is not likely to be his only gig.
Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post discussing Sen. Lieberman's new position at AEI.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post which lists Members of Congress who work at think tanks.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

CU-Boulder Names Former Heritage Fellow as First Visiting Scholar of Conservative Thought and Policy

Here is what the Wall Street Journal is reporting:
The University of Colorado, Boulder, is the kind of campus that conservatives have long criticized as a bastion of liberal groupthink. That perception could start to change this year.
The school on Wednesday named Steven Hayward, a former fellow at the Heritage Foundation think tank, as its first visiting scholar of Conservative Thought and Policy. The position, which was funded with private donations and is among the first of its kind on a U.S. campus, was created to broaden the intellectual diversity among the faculty, said Earl Wright, a Denver banker who sat on the selection committee and helped fund the position.
Mr. Hayward, who has written a two-volume biography of Ronald Reagan, holds a Ph.D. in American studies from Claremont Graduate School. He is scheduled to teach four classes, including constitutional law and free-market environmentalism. He said he would sprinkle his syllabus with authors like Friedrich Hayek and would try to "fill in the gaps" on some subjects.
"I think a lot of people are watching this around the country," he said. "Other possible donors want to see if this actually adds something serious that is missing from the intellectual spectrum of the university or does it further politicize the campus. I'm hoping it's the former." A 2008 survey on campus found that of the 825 faculty members, just 23 were registered Republicans.
Jon Caldara, a Boulder resident and 1987 CU alum who now leads the Independence Institute, a free-market think tank, called Mr. Hayward a trailblazer. "I expect the National Guard will have to be called out to escort him in," he said.
Here are some publications that Mr. Hayward wrote while at the Heritage Foundation.  Mr. Hayward was also a former F.K. Weyerhaeuser Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

Monday, March 18, 2013

NAF President Steve Coll Stepping Down

New America Foundation (NAF) President Steve Coll has been named Dean of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

Think Tank Watch previously noted that Coll, last year, had announced his intention to step down as President of NAF.  Here is what was written then:
Steve Coll today announced his intention to step down as President of New America Foundation (NAF) later this year. Coll has led NAF for the last five years.

Coll, who is working on a follow-up to his Pulitzer Prize-winning book Ghost Wars, said that the amount of international travel required for his new book "will make it virtually impossible" for him to continue serving as President.

NAF said that when a new president is in place, Coll will transition into a Senior Fellow position with NAF's National Security Studies Program, which is directed by Peter Bergen.
NAF said that the Board-led search for a new president is underway and is being chaired by David Bradley, Chairman and Owner of Atlantic Media Company. Bradley, who founded and owned The Advisory Board Company and the Corporate Executive Board, is a member of the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

Coll's new role about Columbia University will begin July 1, 2013, according to a press release.

Slate's Matthew Yglesias notes that the estimated cost to attend Columbia's journalism school for the 2103-2014 academic year is $83,884.

Arsht Feted for $5 Million Gift to Atlantic Council

Here is what the Washington Post is reporting:
Adrienne Arsht's latest project: a $5 million gift to the Atlantic Council for a new center on Latin America. So trendy these days! Booming economy, host of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics, and home of the new Pope Francis.
The dinner Tuesday night at the home of Brazilian Ambassador Mauro Vieira was informally dubbed “the Adrienne Arsht conclave” by council president Fred Kempe. No cardinals, but an elite gathering of foreign policy, diplomatic and political leaders, including former national security advisers Zbigniew Brzezinski and Stephen Hadley, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Chief of Protocol Capricia Marshall, Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and ambassadors from Italy, Spain, Portugal and Israel.
Arsht says she joined the board of the Atlantic Council, in part, to open doors for other women at the male-dominated international think tank. The dinner was a thank-you to her from the council (originally focused on North America and Europe) and a way to highlight the new Latin America partners. (Fun bar bet: The country with longest coastine on the Atlantic Ocean? Brazil.)
Atlantic Council's new Latin America center will be called the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center.  The Atlantic Council says that it will officially launch the Arsht Center at its Distinguished Leadership Awards dinner on May 1, 2013 in Washington, DC.

Here is a previous Washington Post article on Adrienne Arsht's wealth and what she has been doing with it.

Here is a full list of the Atlantic Council's Board of Directors.

The Atlantic Council was recently ranked as the 17th best think tank in the US by the University of Pennsylvania's annual think tank rankings.

Think Tank Quickies #46

  • CFR's Corporate Program rang the opening bell of the NYSE to celebrate its 60th anniversary.
  • Russian lawmaker assailed for March 4 think tank-sponsored speech co-hosted by FPI.
  • Conservative think tank CEI hosted "Rainbow on the Right" panel at CPAC.
  • Heritage Foundation President-Elect Jim DeMint speaks at CPAC.
  • Heritage Foundation analysts and professionals featured in at least 12 panels at CPAC.
  • CNAS annual conference to be held June 12, 2013 in Washington, DC. 
  • New Urban Institute study says younger generations lag parents in wealth-building. 
  • AEI's Free Enterprise Bootcamp
  • Author Nicolai Zlobin launches a think tank called Center on Global Interests (CGI). 
  • Interview with new Brookings India head Vikram Mehta. 
  • UN think tank, International Peace Institute, to open office in Bahrain.

Video: Think Tank Presidents Panel @ CPAC

The heads of the Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, and American Enterprise Institute (AEI) were on a panel at this weekend's Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) conference titled "In the Tank: The Smartest Guys in the Room."  Here was the lineup:

The video, taped by C-SPAN, can be watched here.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Brookings Launches a "Mini-CIA"

This week the Brookings Institution announced the establishment of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence (21CSI), which will focus on defense, cybersecurity, arms control, and intelligence issues.

21CSI will be housed within the Foreign Policy program at Brookings.  Peter Singer will serve as the Founding Director.  Mr. Singer has founded and managed two previous projects at Brookings - the Project on US Relations with the Islamic World and the 21st Century Defense Initiative.

The Center will have four key focal points of policy research, according to a Brookings press release:
  • A Defense Policy team will be led by Michael O'Hanlon, one of the most influential and widely published defense scholars in the world, who also serves as director of research in the Foreign Policy program. He will be joined by other resident and nonresident scholars including Senior Fellow Vanda Felbab-Brown, a leading expert on counterinsurgency and illicit networks, and Senior Fellow Stephen Cohen, a pre-eminent expert in South Asian security issues. The team will also comprise the Federal Executive Fellows (FEFs), career officers from each military service and the Coast Guard, who spend a year in residence researching and writing on defense topics.
  • The new Intelligence Project, focusing on the nexus of intelligence and policymaking, will be led by Senior Fellow Bruce Riedel, a 30-year veteran of the intelligence community who also served on the National Security Council staff for three presidents. Riedel will be supported by a team of resident and nonresident scholars, including Paul Pillar and John McLaughlin, as well as career officers seconded from the intelligence community, and an advisory group of distinguished former senior intelligence officials and policymakers. The Intelligence Project is the first of its kind to be established at a major research institution.
  • The Arms Control Initiative will combine a focus on existing challenges of nuclear and conventional disarmament with new policy research on the Iranian and North Korean challenges to the nuclear nonproliferation regime. It is led by Senior Fellow Steven Pifer, a former special assistant to the president with substantial arms control experience. Robert Einhorn, currently the State Department’s special adviser for Nonproliferation and Arms Control, is expected to join later this spring as a Senior Fellow. The Initiative will also house a new program designed to cultivate and mentor the next generation of arms control and nonproliferation scholars.
  • The new Cybersecurity project will bring together the work of Visiting Fellow Ian Wallace, a former senior official at the British Ministry of Defence, who helped develop British cyber strategy, as well as its cyber-relationship with the United States, and a team of nonresident fellows, including Noah Shachtman, national security editor at Wired magazine, recently named one of the top 10 cybersecurity writers in the world; Ben Hammersley, a war journalist, noted technology writer, and author of the upcoming book Approaching the Future: 64 Things You Need to Know Now for Then; and Ralph Langner, the cybersecurity expert credited with “decoding” Stuxnet.

Brookings was just rated as the top think tank in the world by the annual University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.

Brookings was rated as the 3rd best security and international affairs think tank in the world, only behind the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS; #1) and Chatham House (#2).  The launch of this new Center may be an attempt by Brookings to push up a notch or two in the security/international rankings.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Think Tank Quickies #45

  • CFR's Thomas Bollyky makes World Economic Forum Young Global Leaders Class of 2013.
  • Cato's Patrick Michaels on the anatomy of DC's snowstorm forecast bust.
  • CSIS's James Lewis documents reports identifying by name Chinese cyber spies or units.
  • Cato University 2013 to be held July 28 - August 2 in Washington, DC.
  • On think tank row, a China critic from China. 
  • WikiLeaks: Malaysia's most prominent think tanks. 
  • US think tanks used to promote Malaysia.
  • Think tank''s ideas shifted as Malaysia ties grew (2005 flashback). 
  • Atlantic Community, an online collaborative think tank, tackles transatlantic issues. 
  • A Q&A with Dr. James McGann on think tank rankings and Chinese think tanks.
  • Former NAF Schwartz Fellow Chris Hayes gets 8pm time slot on MSNBC.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Obama's Econ Team Linked to Brookings Scholar

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) recently published an article titled "Tracing Budget Teams DNA," which says that one of the most influential people in the formation of the White House's economics team is former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin.

Robert Rubin in on the the Brookings Institution's Hamilton Project Advisory Council, and he is Co-Chair of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

Here is what the WSJ said about Rubin's deep connection to the economic team in the Obama Administration:
President Barack Obama nominated Mr. Rubin's former chief of staff, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, to be the next director of the Office of Management and Budget, a key policy-making slot that has broad influence on tax and spending proposals.
Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew worked closely with Mr. Rubin during the Bill Clinton administration and then followed him to Citigroup Inc. during the George W. Bush administration. Gene Sperling, the White House National Economic Council director, has known Mr. Rubin since they met during Michael Dukakis's presidential campaign, and they were allies during the Clinton-era budget battles. NEC principal deputy director Jason Furman ran the Hamilton Project, a left-leaning economic think tank that Mr. Rubin co-founded in 2006.
Here is a full list of others on The Hamilton Project Advisory Council.  Those of the Council include economic/business heavyweights such as:
  • Alan Blinder, former Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve and former member of Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers.
  • Richard Gephardt, former Democratic Congressman representing Missouri.
  • Peter Orszag, former Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
  • Robert Reischauer, former Director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
  • Sheryl Sandberg, CEO of Facebook.
  • Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google.
  • Lawrence Summers, former Treasury Secretary under Clinton and Director of the NEC under President Obama.
  • Laura D'Andrea Tyson, former Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) under Clinton.

Brookings was recently ranked as the best think tank in the world by the University of Pennsylvania's annual think tank rankings.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Sen. Joe Lieberman Joins AEI

The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) announced today (March 11) that former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) is joining the conservative think tank.

He will serve as Co-Chairman of the American Internationalism Project, along with former Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ).  That Project aims to rebuild and reshape a bipartisan consensus around American global leadership and engagement.

Here is a statement from AEI.

The Cable, which has the headline "AEI gets Joe-mentum," notes that Lieberman is not joining AEI in a formal sense, but he will be a leader of the Project, which will be coordinated by Research Fellow Philip Lohaus.

On March 7, 2013, Sen. Kyl joined AEI as a Visiting Fellow.  Here is a previous Think Tank Watch Post on that announcement.  Both Senators retired from the Senate this January.

Sen. Lieberman may also be seeking out other think tanks.  Australian think tank the Lowy Institute just hosted Sen. Lieberman during a recent visit to Austalia.  [Michael Green of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) recently became a Nonresident Fellow at Lowy.]

It would be no surprise if Lieberman, following in the footsteps of close pal Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), started his own think tank eventually.  Last year McCain launched the McCain Institute for International Leadership in Washington, DC.

But would he set up shop in Washington?  Or Connecticut?  Lieberman recently sold his house in Washington, but he can always buy another one if he want to use DC as a base to think tank full time.  [The US already has 1,919 think tanks, and Washington, DC has 394.  What's one more, right?]

Here is what The Atlantic Wire has to say about Lieberman's think tank annoucement:
Now, Lieberman will get to pow-wow on important foreign policy issues with AEI senior fellow John Bolton, America's U.N. representative during the Bush administration. Bolton pulls in about $190,000 in salary and benefits from the AEI, so one can assume Lieberman will make close to his $179,000 Senate salary.
But, money aside, it is hard to believe that Lieberman would find palatable a position with a conservative group. I mean, this is the man who was selected to run with Al Gore in part because he slammed Clinton over the Lewinsky affair, who supported warrantless wiretapping even before Bush came to office, who steadfastly supported the Bush administration's push into Iraq, who was literally kissed by the Republican president, who left the party in 2006 after getting demolished in the primary, who supported a guy named John Bolton as U.N. Ambassador, who advocated for a form of internet kill switch, who in 2008 endorsed John McCain, and who took McCain's side on basically every foreign policy issue that came up during his last term in office.
Nonetheless, we're optimistic. First, Lieberman's partnering with Jon Kyl will provide a real burst of birpartisanship on international issues, almost as if someone were able to convince John Kerry to work with Chuck Schumer. And, second, we've gone ahead and compiled the following list of all of the groundbreaking policy innovations and accomplishments created by former elected officials who transitioned to Washington think tanks. Feel free to suggest any we've missed.

(Note: this list does not actually exist.)

Here is a piece from the Center for American Progress (CAP) on why AEI and Lieberman are "perfect" for each other.

Here is what the National Interest has to say about Lieberman and AEI.

Here is a Muckety map showing the relationship between Jon Kyl and Joe Lieberman and their connection to AEI.

Last month, AEI announced that it would be moving to 1785 Massachusetts Ave., NW, the current headquarters of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

AEI was recently ranked as the 7th best think tank in the US and the 20th best think tank in the world by the University of Pennsylvania annual rankings.

Think Tank Quickies #44

  • State-level conservative think tanks outgunning their liberal counterparts.
  • CSIS releases its 2012 annual report.
  • International Economy interview with new PIIE President Adam Posen.
  • Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to speak about Iraq at AEI.
  • One goal of upcoming BRICs Summit is to establish a consortium of BRICs think tanks.
  • Conservatives don't have a think tank with the "heft" of the Tax Policy Center (TPC)?
  • TPC's new state and local finance initiative.
  • Robert Gordon, OMB Acting Deputy Director, to join Brookings as Guest Scholar in April.
  • ACUS's Brent Scowcroft Center on Int'l Security to hold missile defense conference.

Food Trucks Visit Think Tank Land

The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) recently held an event titled "Big Government and Big Food vs. Food Trucks, Foodies, and Farmers Markets."

Following is a description of the event:
If you like your food local, organic, or from a truck, government regulation might be your biggest obstacle. American restaurants lobby to choke off food trucks, and federal regulation of food safety leads to more consolidation in the industry. Moreover, farmers markets struggle to survive under the heavy hand of government.
What if food safety regulation is not about limiting the germs in our dinner, but is rather about limiting competition in America’s food industry? What if federal and local rules actually protect incumbent businesses instead of consumers?
Join us for a panel discussion about food competition, regulation, and safety catered by the BBQ Bus food truck.
The speakers included:
  • Doug Povich, founding member of the Food Truck Association of Metropolitan Washington and owner of the Red Hook Lobster Pound food truck.
  • Emily Broad Leib, director of Harvard Law School's Food Law and Policy Clinic.
  • Baylen J. Linnekin, executive director of Keep Food Legal.

A video from that event can be viewed here.  The event was part of AEI's Culture of Competition Project.  This was the first event in that initiative.

Here is more about the event from Timothy Carney, a Visiting Fellow at AEI and a prominent figure in the Culture of Competition Project.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Think Tank Watch Turns 1

This week is Think Tank Watch's one-year anniversary.  Here is a look back at some of the think tank highlights covered during the past year:
  • The Koch v. Cato fiasco.
  • Think tank rankings.
  • Best food experiences at a think tank.
  • The revolving door of think tanks.
  • The trend of women running think tanks.
  • Think tank salaries, compensation, and finances.
  • The connection between think tanks and lobbyists.
  • Think tanks and spies.
  • Think tank trends, such as "pop-up" think tanks.
  • Cyberspying on think tanks.
  • Think tank junkets.
  • Leadership turnover at PIIE, Heritage, CNAS, USIP, etc...
  • The explosion of libertarian think tanks and think tank partnerships.
  • Think tank book reviews.
  • The presidential campaigns and think tanks.
  • The move of Members of Congress to think tanks.
  • The think tank-media connection.
  • The establishment of new think tanks.
  • Foreign influence at think tanks.
  • Think tank war games.
  • Cool think tank events.
  • Washington's evolving think tank scene.
  • The expansion of Brookings to India; the upcoming moves of AEI and CSIS.
  • The end of think tank coverage of The Washington Post.
  • And much, much, much more.

Think Tank Watch looks forward to another productive year of think tanking.  Tips for stories are always welcome at info (at)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sen. Jon Kyl Joins AEI as Visiting Fellow

The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) announced today (March 7) that former Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) has joined the think tank as a Visiting Fellow.  Sen. Kyl will also be a Senior Advisor at the law firm of Covington and Burling.

AEI says that Sen. Kyl will lead the American Internationalism Project, a new effort from AEI's Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies.  The Project's focus will be to rebuild and reshape a bipartisan consensus around American global leadership and engagement.

AEI announced the creation of the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies last year.  Marilyn Ware, a former Ambassador to Finland under the George W. Bush Administration, is an AEI trustee.  AEI said Ware pledged a multimillion-dollar commitment for the establishment of the Center.

Sen. Kyl has already done his job promoting AEI and its President, Arthur Brooks.  Kyl cited Brooks, and his book, The Battle, in a floor speech last year.

Sen. Kyl has been a regular at AEI's annual World Forum, which was held last year at The Cloister, a swanky resort on Sea Island, Georgia.

As Think Tank Watch previously noted, Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC), who attended AEI's World Forum last year, ran into a bit of a payment issue related to a friend who joined him on the trip.

In related World Forum news, Mikheil Saakashvili, President of Georgia, reportedly will attend this years World Forum.

Sen. Kyl will join dozens of other Members of Congress who are affiliated with think tanks.  Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post that has a list of Members of Congress that are housed at various think tanks.

Kyl's Senate colleague from Arizona, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who is still in Congress, started his own think tank last year - the McCain Institute for International Leadership.

Last month, AEI announced that it would be moving to 1785 Massachusetts Ave., NW, the current headquarters of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

AEI was recently ranked as the 7th best think tank in the US and the 20th best think tank in the world by the University of Pennsylvania annual rankings.

At the end of 2012, AEI said that its small community of donors - nearly 1,000 individuals, foundations, and corporations - helped the think tank mark a record fundraising year in 2012.  "We have more donors, in more places, contributing more money than at any point since our founding in 1938," said AEI.

AEI said that in 2012 its think tankers testified more often on Capitol Hill than scholars from any other think tank, university, or non-profit policy or academic organization.  AEI also says that in 2012 its scholars published nearly 90 op-eds and they authored dozens of books and monographs, five of which were national bestsellers - unprecedented in the history of US think tanks.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

In a Global Crisis, Should USIP Take Charge?

The Washington Post's David Ignatius asks who should take charge in order to stabilize a global political or security crisis - US Agency for International Development (USAID), the State Department's Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), or the US Institute of Peace (USIP)?

Here is what Ignatius says about USIP:
Does the stabilizing mission belong to the facilitators and analysts at the U.S. Institute of Peace, which was created in 1984 to help resolve conflicts peacefully?
The U.S. Institute of Peace, headed by Jim Marshall, prides itself on being a small, nimble organization with a cadre of specialists who can travel to crisis zones and meet with different sects, tribes and parties. But the organization likes its independence and doesn’t want to be an arm of the State Department or any other bureaucracy. It’s a boutique, but that means its efforts are hard to multiply. And its presence can create confusion about who’s doing what.

Here is a USIP manual from 2009 titled "Guiding Principles for Stabilization and Reconstruction," which USIP says presents the "first strategic doctrine ever produced for civilians engaged in peacebuilding missions."

USIP says that it is helping to develop metrics for measuring progress in reconstruction and stabilization operations.  It is doing so in partnership with the State Department, the Fund for Peace, the US Army, and the US Army Corps of Engineers.

USIP's Center for Post-Conflict Peace and Stability Operations is currently conducting work in the following zones of conflict: Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Haiti, Iraq, Liberia, and Sri Lanka.

USIP will be holding a five-day course from October 14-18, 2013 titled "Stabilization and Peacebuilding: Understanding Dynamic Processes and Making Them Work."  An example course syllabus can be found here.

In related USIP news, Stephen J. Hadley has just been nominated by President Obama to be on the Board of Directors of the USIP.  Mr. Hadley is currently a Senior Adviser for International Affairs at USIP.  Previously, he was Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs in the Bush Administration.

USIP's Board of Directors list can be found here.  Here is what the law says in terms of USIP Board Members:
The board is composed of twelve members from outside federal service appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate, and four ex-officio members: the secretary of state (who may designate another Senate-confirmed State Department official), the secretary of defense (who may designate another Senate-confirmed Defense Department official), the president of the National Defense University (who may designate the vice president of the National Defense University), and the president of the Institute (nonvoting). The board is prohibited by law from having more than eight voting members of the same political party.
USIP was just ranked as the 18th best think tank in the US by the annual University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.  It was also ranked as the 28th best security and international affairs think tank in the world.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Washington Post Ends Think Tank Coverage

The Washington Post's coverage of think tanks via its "Think Tanked" blog is no longer.  The last post by blogger/reporter Allen McDuffee was on February 6, 2013.

Mr. McDuffee's Twitter feed now says that he is a "former" Washington Post reporter/blogger.  He is now blogging at a site called governmentality.

In a previous Think Tank Watch post which reviewed a book by Thomas Medvetz called Think Tanks in America, I quote what Medvetz had to say about the Washington Post's think tank coverage:
From 1999 to 2003, the Washington Post ran a weekly column about think tanks called "The Ideas Industry."  The punchy feature, which typically strung together several short items, was soon replaced by "Think Tank Town," a series of columns submitted on a rotating basis by 13 major think tanks.  In 2010, the Post began publishing a blog called "Think Tanked," by Allen McDuffee, a political journalist and ex-think tank fellow.
It will be interesting to see if the Post will begin any new coverage dedicated to think tanks.  The Washington Post recently laid off dozens of employees in its latest round of cuts.

Think Tank Quickies #43

  • Why have Indian think tanks failed to find their way into global rankings?
  • CEI says EPA helps friends FOIAs, while foes' are delayed or blocked.
  • Brussels think tanks on Twitter: A performance ranking.
  • CEIP's Ray Struyk on managing human and financial resources at think tanks. 
  • Guyana think tank accuses Canadian mining firm of exploitation, corruption. 
  • Brookings scholar and former Obama adviser Vali Nasr criticizes Obama on Afghan War. 
  • CEIP scholar Moises Naim on the end of power and stability. 
  • AEI President Arthur Brooks op-ed on Republicans and their "faulty moral arithmetic." 
  • Cato's new Distinguished Senior Fellow, Czech President Vaclav Klaus, faces treason charges. 
  • Stimson Center wins $1 million MacArthur Foundation award. 
  • Ranking the top Latin American think tanks. 
  • 60 ways RAND has made a difference.

Think Tank Fact of the Day: Cato Comedians

Comedians Penn & Teller are fellows at the libertarian Cato Institute.  No joke.  They are both self-proclaimed libertarians.

Penn Jillette and Teller (born Raymond Joseph Teller), are both H.L. Mencken Research Fellows.

The duo are magicians, illusionists, comedians, and writers.

The Cato Institute is featured prominently in the Penn & Teller Showtime TV series Bullshit! that aired from 2003 to 2010.

Here is a 1996 commentary by Teller on the V-chip, technology used in TVs which allows the blocking of programs based on their ratings category.

Here is a 2011 Cato podcast featuring Penn.  Here is a Cato video of Penn talking about capitalism, magic, and morality.

Interestingly, economist and philosopher F.A. Hayek (1899-1992) is also listed as a fellow at the Cato Institute.  His biography on Cato's site notes that he was a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the think tank.  Cato's auditorium is named after him.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Think Tank Quickies #42

  • AEI annual dinner on May 8, 2013 to honor Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).
  • TED made $45.1 million in 2012. 
  • New think tank launches in Sierra Leone - EASL. 
  • Arming Asia's think tanks to take on climate change. 
  • Johnathan Pollack named Director of the China Center at Brookings. 
  • CEIP's Thomas Carothers on balancing research with engagement at Washington think tanks.
  • RAND to measure well-being of residents in Santa Monica, where it is headquartered. 
  • Cato's free e-books. 
  • RAND on making good decisions without predictions.
  • Wilson Center to start foreign policy fellowship program.
  • Hillary Clinton among those nominated for Chatham House Prize 2013.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Event: Think Tanks & Trans-Pacific Relationship

On March 7, 2013, James McGann, Assistant Professor of the International Relations Program and Director of the Think Tank and Civil Societies Program (TTCCP) at the University of Pennsylvania, will be speaking at an event titled "Think Tanks and the Trans-Pacific Releationship."

The event, to be held at The Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), is open to the public and one can RSVP here.

Dr. McGann recently released his annual think tank ranking report.

Czech President Joins Cato, Starts New Think Tank

Václav Klaus, who will step down as the President of the Czech Republic next week, is joining the libertarian Cato Institute as a Distinguished Senior Fellow starting March 7.

A Cato press release details Klaus's close connections to Cato over the years:
Klaus has been a regular guest at the Cato Institute over the years, speaking for the first time in 1992 as finance minister of Czechoslovakia. Cato has published multiple articles and lectures by Klaus on topics including the environment, the fall of communism, and the Eurozone.
“I consider the Cato Institute one of the most prominent public policy research organizations in the United States which has been consistently advocating the classical liberal principles,” Klaus said in a letter to Cato Founder and President Emeritus Edward H. Crane. “I am truly honored to join Cato.”
Klaus will headline an event at Cato on March 11, The European Crisis Continues: No Solution on the Horizon.
The press release also notes that Klaus has also started his own think tank in the Czech Republic, the Václav Klaus Institute, in Prague.

Here is a December 2012 interview with Klaus in which he discusses his new think tank, including the fact that he is "not very happy" that the institute will bear his name.

Klaus will not be the first former foreign president to join a US think tank.  Here is a previous Think Tank Watch Post on foreign influence in US think tanks.  It notes, for example, that the former heads of state of Mexico, Colombia, Singapore, and Finland are closely affiliated with US think tanks.

The Cato Institute was just ranked as the 19th best think tank in the world by the University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.  That same ranking said it is the 10th best think tank in the US.

Another ranking by the Center for Global Development (CGD) lists Cato as the #1 US think tank.