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.