Thursday, August 29, 2013

Think Tank Quickies #78

  • Third Way makes a mixtape for the summer of 2013.
  • Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to speak at Minnesota think tank Center of the American Experiment.
  • Catham House's Patricia Lewis tips Syria United Nations (UN) team; IISS says that though Assad lacks power, he has quite an artillery.
  • 66 former US government officials and think tanks experts sign letter urging President Obama to respond to Assad's chemical weapons attack.
  • The 16th class of Visiting Fellows joins Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies (CNAPS) at Brookings.
  • William McCants, a former Senior Advisor at the State Department, joins Brookings as a fellow in the Saban Center for Middle East Policy and as Director of the Project on US Relations with the Islamic World.
  • Former US Ambassador to China and presidential candidate Jon Huntsman joins CEIP board.
  • Ganesh Sitaraman, former Policy Director and Senior Counsel to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), named CAP Senior Fellow.
  • BPC to host screening of "Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal Reserve" on September 9 to mark the US Federal Reserve System's 100th anniversary. 
  • Arthur Brooks on CNBC: "AEI scholars prefer Janet Yellen over Larry Summers for top Fed post."

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hillary Clinton Wins Chatham House Prize 2013

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who many think will run for president in 2016, has just won the Chatham House Prize 2013, beating out the other two nominees for the prize: Zimbabwe Finance Minister Tendai Laxton Biti and President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos.

Ms. Clinton will be presented with a crystal award and scroll, signed by Her Majesty the Queen, patron of the Chatham House, at a ceremony in London in the fall.

She was selected for the prize in recognition of her "personal leadership in driving a new era of US diplomatic engagement and for her promotion of education and rights for women and girls."

Here is more about the prize:
The annual Chatham House Prize is awarded to the statesperson who is deemed by Chatham House members to have made the most significant contribution to the improvement of international relations in the previous year.
The selection process draws on the expertise of Chatham House's research teams and three presidents, who nominate candidates. Our members are then invited to vote for the winner in a ballot.
The winner is presented with a crystal award and a scroll signed by our patron, Her Majesty The Queen. The award is presented at a ceremony and dinner at a central London venue with keynote speeches by leading figures in international affairs. The recipient of the prize will also often address a members event at Chatham House on or around the day of the award.
The Chatham House Prize was conceived in 2004, under the directorship of Professor Victor Bulmer-Thomas. The concept and crucial early support came from Raj Loomba, founder of the Loomba Trust and a Chatham House council member. Together they supervised the first award in 2005, presented to Victor Yushchenko, and set the template that has ensured its ongoing success.
Here is a press release with some more details.  Previous recipients include Myanmar politician/activist Aung San Suu Kyi (2011), and former President of Brazil Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (2009).

Chatham House was recently ranked as the 2nd best think tank in the world, and was ranked as the top non-US think tank in the world by the annual University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.  The think tank is considered the 2nd best think tank in the world for security and international affairs, after the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

New Head at Wilson Center's Kissinger Institute

The Wilson Center announced this week the Robert Daly has been appointed to head the think tank's Kissinger Institute on China and the United States.  Mr. Daly is the new Director effective August 26, 2013.

Amb. J. Stapleton Roy, the Founding Director of the Institute will still remain with the Wilson Center as a Distinguished Scholar on US-China relations and Senior Advisor to the Kissinger Institute.

Here is more about Mr. Daly from a Wilson Center press release:
Before coming to the Wilson Center, Daly was director of the Maryland China Initiative at the University of Maryland, a position he held since 2007. From 2001 to 2007 he was American Director of the Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies, in Nanjing, China. He began work in U.S.-China relations as a diplomat with the United States Information Agency from 1989 to 1991, after which he taught Chinese at Cornell.
From 1992 to 1999 he worked on television projects in China as a host, actor, and writer, and helped to produce Chinese-language versions of Sesame Street and other Children's Television Workshop programs. During that same period he directed the Syracuse University China seminar and served as a commentator on U.S.-China relations and Chinese affairs for several U.S. and Chinese media outlets. In 2000 and 2001 he served as American Director of the U.S.-China Housing Initiative.  He is a regular commentator on current affairs for the Chinese service of the Voice of America.
The Wilson Center was recently ranked as the 11th best think tank in the world by the annual University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.  It was also ranked as the 6th best think tank in the United States.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Atlantic Council Opens Brand New Headquarters

The Atlantic Council of the United States (ACUS) has recently announced the opening of its new headquarters.

The new address of ACUS is 1030 15th St., NW, Washington, DC, in a building called The Executive Building.  The think tank used to be located just up the block, at 1101 15th St., NW.

Here is how the Lincoln Property Company describes the building:
With exquisite materials and classic detailing, The Executive Building is refined and welcoming. The 332,000 square-foot building's high-performance facade of energy-efficient metal panels and low-E glass projects confidence and sophistication, and its limestone and black granite portals create a human scale at the street–level elevation. In the evening, spotlighting dramatically highlights the building’s contemporary architecture, including its exceptional corner balconies on the top two floors. Structural glass canopies signal the major points of entry at 15th Street and L Street, and graciously welcome tenants and visitors into the stunning main lobby.

According to a presentation on the move, ACUS moved at the end of July and is located on the 12th floor of the building.  By the end of 2013, ACUS plans to expand to the 10th floor.

In December 2011, the Executive Committee of ACUS adopted "Growing Better," a new strategic plan that concluded the think tank required infrastructure and investments, including the office move, in order to be ambitious about impact, according to the presentation.

The new headquarters apparently has the capacity to host more than four simultaneous events.  Think Tank Watch will not miss the cramped event space at the old headquarters...

ACUS is not the only think tank on the move.  The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is preparing to move to its new headquarters next month, and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will be moving to think tank row in the future.  The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) recently moved to its new headquarters at 1152 15th Street, NW.  It has previously been at 1301 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.

As seen by these recent and upcoming moves, many think tanks have been able to save and/or raise significant amounts of money to secure fancier headquarters, despite the economic downturn in the US and other countries.

ACUS was recently ranked as the 17th best think tank in the US by the annual University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Think Tank Quickies #77

  • Tax deductions under the think tank microscope.
  • On Think Tanks to publish new weekly blog series focusing on key issues for think tanks.
  • Brookings questions US LNG exports. 
  • Think tank challenge: Surviving the competition.
  • When did the Heritage Foundation stop functioning as a think tank?
  • Vietnam develops math think tank - The Vietnam Institute for Advanced Study in Mathematics (VIASM).
  • On the future of think tanks in Latin America.
  • The future of think tank communications in Peru.
  • Williams Institute, a think tank on sexual orientation and gender identity, suggests nearly 700,000 transgender individuals live in the US.
  • Brookings Global's Think Tank 20 consortium reports on changes in central banks and monetary policy in the run-up to the G-20.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Petraeus Joins British Think Tank RUSI

David Petraeus, the former Central Intelligence (CIA) Director, has just been named as Senior Vice President of the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies (RUSI).  The British think tank says that his new position is an "honorary role."  Here is more from a RUSI press release:
This honorary role was created by RUSI's trustees and advisory council in recognition of General Petraeus' long association with the Institute and his distinguished contribution to the study and development of defence and international security concepts, as well as his implementation of those concepts in operations in the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Earlier this year, General Petraeus was conferred RUSI's Chesney Gold Medal for his lifetime service to the field of security studies and operations.
As the press release says, Petraeus was awarded RUSI's Chesney Gold Medal on June 10, 2013.  In late 2012 the think tank had postponed the presentation of the award after he was involved in a sex scandal.

In May 2013, it was announced that Petraeus would head KKR & Co. LP's new global investment think tank - the KKR Global Institute.

Here is a Muckety map of Petraeus and his various connections.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on how Petraeus has been "cozy" with a variety of think tanks.  Petraeus's former lover, Paula Broadwell, also had a connection to think tanks.

Last month, RUSI announced that former MI5 chief Sir Jonathan Evans would be a Senior Associate Fellow at the think tank.

RUSI was founded in 1831 by the Duke of Wellington.  It is a British institution but has satellite offices in Doha, Tokyo, and Washington, DC.  Her Majesty the Queen is a Patron of RUSI.  His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent is the President of RUSI.

RUSI was recently ranked as the 42nd best think tank in the world by the annual University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.  It was also ranked as the 23rd best non-US think tank.  RUSI was ranked as the 17th best security and international affairs think tank in the world.  The think tank was also ranked as the 4th best government-affiliated think tank in the world (after the World Bank Institute, United States Institute for Peace, and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences).

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

USIP Tapped by Defense Dept. for 2014 QDR

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) has been asked by the US Department of Defense to facilitate the work of the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) National Defense Panel (NDP).  USIP previously facilitated the work of the 2010 QDR Independent review panel.

USIP's coordination of the NDP will be directed by Paul Hughes, a retired US Army colonel currently serving ac the Acting Vice President of USIP's Center for Conflict Management.  Hughes also directed the 2010 QDR Independent Review Panel.

Here is what USIP says about the QDR:
Required by Congress, the QDR is a review of Department of Defense (DoD) strategy and priorities and sets a long-term course for DoD as it assesses the threats and challenges faced by the U.S.  In turn, Congress directed that members of the National Defense Panel review the QDR, assess the assumptions, strategy, findings, and risks in the report, conduct an independent assessment of a variety of possible force structures, review the resource requirements, and provide recommendations to Congress and the secretary of Defense.
USIP President and CEO Jim Marshall, a former Member of Congress, and board member Eric Edelman were appointed earlier to serve as members of the NDP.   Edelman is currently a Distinguished Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment (CSBA), and a Senior Associate of the International Security Program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University.

Stephen Hadley, a Senior Advisor for International Affairs and a Member of the Board of Directors at USIP, was a co-chair of the 2010 QDR Independent Review Panel.

USIP was recently ranked as the 18th best think tank in the US by the University of Pennsylvania annual think tank rankings.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Think Tank Quickies #76

  • A cheat sheet for UK think tanks.
  • Chart: Political leanings of selected UK think tanks.
  • Justin Wolfers re-joins Brookings as a Senior Fellow in Economic Studies; he will co-edit the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity (BPEA); his appointment lasts 13 months.
  • CSIS and CSBA hold joint press briefing on SCMR options.
  • Richard Lindzen, MIT professor and prominent climate scientist, joins Cato Institute as a Distinguished Senior Fellow.
  • Fact: Two Distinguished Senior Fellows at Cato (the think tank's most prestigious appointment) have been awarded Nobel Prizes while affiliated with Cato.
  • NAF's Sascha Meinrath meets with Senior White House officials on US surveillance activities.
  • Former Bush security advisor Stephen Hadley joins USIP Board of Directors for 2nd term.
  • USIP fills Asia-Pacific and Economies positions with Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt and Ethan Kapstein.
  • USIP tapped to facilitate Congressionally-mandated national defense panel.

Heritage's New $550K "Defund Obamacare" Campaign

Today Heritage Action for America, the lobbying arm of the Heritage Foundation think tank, announced a $550,000 "Defund Obamacare" ad campaign.

The online campaign, which will run in 100 Republican-controlled districts, will encourage House Republicans to support conservative efforts to stop Obamacare by defunding the entire law.

The launch of the ad campaign coincides with Heritage Action's Defund Obamacare Townhall Tour.  Last week, Heritage Action released a poll showing a move to defund Obamacare would not jeapardize the Republicans' House majority.

The Heritage Foundation was recently ranked as the 18th best think tank in the world by the annual University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.  It was rated the 9th best think tank in the US.  It was also rated as the #1 think tank in the world in terms of best use of social media and the Internet.  Heritage was also rated as the 10th best think tank in the world in terms of most significant impact on public policy.

Critics Question Impartiality of BPC

Here is what the is being reported by the Washington Post's Wonkblog:
As the self-proclaimed “only Washington, DC-based think tank that actively promotes bipartisanship,” it says it “drives principled solutions through rigorous analysis, reasoned negotiation and respectful dialogue.”
Over the past month, the center faced attacks for perhaps being not nearly so principled as it claims. The Nation magazine dinged the center for its role in shepherding a plan for major U.S. retailers to improve conditions at Bangladeshi garment factories, when it had received funding from Walmart and several of its affiliated scholars had worked or lobbied for some of the other companies involved. Investigative journalist Ken Silverstein, in a piece for Harvard’s Safra Center for Ethics, outlined how the BPC takes money from oil and gas interests while promoting expanded drilling in a report overseen by a lobbyist who’d done work for ExxonMobil.
This week, the BPC is the subject of a scathing report from Ralph Nader’s consumer advocacy group, Public Citizen. The authors charge that, soon after receiving funding from the American Banking Association and Citigroup, the center convened a project on financial regulatory reform stacked with industry advocates meant to examine what could be improved in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act as implementation got underway.
Public Citizen’s worries were bolstered by the resignation of John Coffee, a Columbia University law professor who was among the few on the task force who was not affiliated with industry.
Here is a link to Public Citizen's full report on BPC which is titled "Made in the Shade: An Examination of Whether the Bipartisan Policy Center is Truly Neutral."

BPC, which formally launched in 2007, was founded by four former Senate Majority Leaders: Howard Baker (R-TN), Tom Daschle (D-SD), Bob Dole (R-KS), and George Mitchell (D-ME).

Friday, August 16, 2013

Think Tank Quickies #75

  • Why think tanks should focus on people as much as policy.
  • Report says BBC has a bias towards left-wing think tanks.  Full Centre for Policy Studies report.
  • Why think tanks will become ever more important.
  • Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) targeting Cato Institute and Goldwater Institute?
  • On think tanks' executive directors.
  • Brookings's partnership with think tanks in Africa.
  • Chart of advocacy spending for a handful of DC think tanks.
  • John Locke Foundation President John Hood analyzing think tank influence.
  • Montreal Economic Institute President/CEO Michael Kelly-Gagnon on the role of think tanks.
  • Chinese think tank CASS criticizes labor camps as outdated.

The Rapper of Libertarian Think Tank Land

Comedian Remy Munasifi is the new face of the libertarian think tank scene.

The Washington Post recently noted that he has teamed with Reason TV, linked to the libertarian think tank Reason Foundation, to create short rap parody videos.

Says the Washington Post:
He has lampooned the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, the debt ceiling, Jay Z and BeyoncĂ©’s Cuban vacation, and, most recently, Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal. One of his catchier spoofs, “Tap It: The NSA Slow Jam,” satirizes the National Security Agency’s electronic-surveillance program.
Here is the debt ceiling rap video mentioned in the article above, and here is the one on Anthony Weiner.  Here is one called the TSA Pokey Pokey.  Here is one called Why They Fought.  Here is one called The Equality Song.  Here is the one called Jay-Z's Cuba State of Mind.

The Reason Foundation, based in Los Angeles, California, publishes the magazine Reason.  That magazine was first published in 1968, and the Reason Foundation was created in 1978.  The think tank also has an office in Washington, DC.

David Nott has served as Reason Foundation's President since 2001.   Previous presidents of the think tank include Reason founder Robert Poole, now director of transportation studies, and Lynn Scarlett, who left Reason in 2001 and served as Assistant Secretary of Policy, Management and Budget at the Department of the Interior for the George W. Bush Administration.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wilson Center President Leaving for France?

The Washington Post's Al Kamen is reporting that former Congresswomen Jane Harman (D-CA), who is now the Director, President, and CEO of the Wilson Center, could be tapped by President Obama to be the next US Ambassador to France.

Harman is the first female Director, President, and CEO of the think tank.  Here is the Wilson Center's section on France.

In late 2012, there was speculation that Harman could become the next head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).  John Brennan was eventually selected for that position.

The Wilson Center was recently ranked as the 11th best think tank in the world by the annual University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.  It was also ranked as the 6th best think tank in the United States.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fresh Hacker Assault on Unnamed Think Tank

Here is what is being reported on Raw Story via Agence France-Presse:
The hackers who penetrated the computer network of The New York Times last year have resurfaced with an attack on “an organization involved in shaping economic policy,” experts warned Monday.
The security firm FireEye said the original perpetrators “appear to be mounting fresh assaults that leverage new and improved versions of malware.”
FireEye said it had detected “a retooling of what security researchers believe is a massive spying operation based in China.”
“The new campaigns mark the first significant stirrings from the group since it went silent in January in the wake of a detailed expose of the group and its exploits,” FireEye researchers Ned Moran and Nart Villeneuve said in a blog post.
FireEye said its researchers “spotted the malware when analyzing a recent attempted attack on an organization involved in shaping economic policy.”
The name of the organization was not disclosed.

Here is a link to the FireEye blog post that is referenced in the story.  It gives fairly detailed information about the new cyber attacks.

"An organization involved in shaping economic policy" describes any number of think tanks, such as the Brookings Institution, Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE), and the Center for American Progress (CAP), to name a few.

Of course, hacker attacks on think tanks is nothing new.  Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on think tanks being targeted by Chinese cyber spies.  Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post detailing a hack attack against the Aspen Institute.  Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post noting that China's 100,000 person cyber army has shifted its focus to think tanks.

Jennifer Rubin: The "Once Great" Heritage Foundation

The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin, a neoconservative, has just written a piece titled "Where Did The Think Tank Go?," in which she calls the Heritage Foundation a "once great" think tank.  Here is more of what Ms. Rubin says:
There is nothing approaching the conservative thought or scholarship one would expect of a think tank. It’s pure politics, and the sort of amateur, unthinking brand that has gotten Republicans in trouble both in office and in campaigns. [Heritage President Jim] DeMint is hawking a series of town hall meetings, which I am sure will generate additions to the group’s e-mail list and hence to its funding base.
Heritage folks will announce that this is all under the guise of Heritage Action, a political entity, not the think tank per se. But who is kidding whom? DeMint speaks on behalf of both, and the latter has been entirely subsumed by the hard-knuckle political screeching for which Heritage Action is famous.
In sum, DeMint isn’t really trying to run a think tank. He’s running a political racket that takes the most extreme right-wing positions imaginable, decries those who won’t go along, wails when the stances they advocate fail and then uses the burning resentment it has stoked to generate headlines and donations. When do you suppose conservatives will realize they are being fleeced by this operation?

The Heritage Foundation was recently ranked as the 18th best think tank in the world by the annual University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.  It was rated the 9th best think tank in the US.  It was also rated as the #1 think tank in the world in terms of best use of social media and the Internet.  Heritage was also rated as the 10th best think tank in the world in terms of most significant impact on public policy.

Think Tanks: Power, Policy, and Plagiarism

A new working paper was just published by the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University titled "Think Tanks' Dirty Little Secret: Power, Public Policy, and Plagiarism."  The paper was written by Dr. J.H. Snider, President of and Non-residential Fellow at Harvard University's Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics.

Here is an abstract of the paper:
In academics, idea plagiarism is a sin of the first magnitude, whereas in business and politics, it is considered, well, academic - of no practical significance. Where do think tanks fit on that spectrum? Are they fish or fowl, or neither?

Compared to academic scholars, think tank scholars have a greater incentive to plagiarize ideas. The pressure to claim credit in both scholarly communities is great, but the pressure to give credit is relatively weak in think tanks. One reason is that the problem-solution structure of think tank work doesn’t include a contribution-to-literature section. Another reason is that think tanks don’t publish their work in peer-reviewed publications, which are well-designed for cost-effectively weeding out idea plagiarism.

Think tanks may claim to respect original work as much as universities. But that doesn’t mean it’s in their self-interest to act in accordance with those values. This paper provides eight case studies related to such behavior. The paper assumes that if think tank scholars, like academic scholars, claim to provide original work, then they should be held accountable for proving that they in fact do so. The author hopes that others will investigate the limitations of such an assumption.

Unfortunately, the two traditional approaches to discouraging idea theft, passing intellectual property law (primarily used in commerce) and relying on private institutions to cultivate social sanctions (primarily used in academics) are not well suited for think tanks. An alternative approach is a hybrid policy where law is used to strengthen social sanctions. For example, libel and transparency laws pertaining to think tanks could be reformed to encourage a more robust market in evaluations of public policy credit claims.
The paper includes case studies from think tanks such as the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), New America Foundation (NAF), and the Cato Institute.

Dr. Snider has commented on think tanks in a variety of other publications, including:

From 2001 to 2007 Dr. Snider was a Markle Fellow, Senior Research Fellow, and Research Director at the New America Foundation (NAF).

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Influence of CSIS

The Boston Globe has just outlined the "new era of partisanship" at many think tanks and the role that money plays in those institutions.

The piece highlights the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) as a particularly influential think tank.  Here is what was said about CSIS:

An example of the hidden reach of such [think tank] sponsorships arose in June, when [Defense Secretary Chuck] Hagel arrived in Singapore’s plush Shangri-La Hotel for one of his first major policy addresses to a large gathering of defense ministers and generals from across Asia. He outlined plans for a long-term — and costly — US security umbrella requiring a greater commitment of forces, warships, training, and foreign weapons sales.
Undisclosed to Hagel’s audience — or the public, for that matter — was the fact that his remarks were crafted with help from scholars at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, one of the most respected of Washington think tanks.
National security agencies increasingly rely on the center to help formulate strategy, even as the think tank receives its biggest share of tax-deductible contributions for research from arms manufacturers, energy companies, and other major corporations seeking to shape policy — nearly a third of its $33 million in revenues last year, according to think tank officials and public records.
Roughly 4 percent of annual revenue is raised from foreign governments, including the Canadian province of Alberta; Norway; and several Persian Gulf emirates.
CSIS is building a new 15,000-square foot, $100 million headquarters in Washington with money raised by a high-powered collection of former senior government officials and titans of industry representing defense giants Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Raytheon, along with pharmaceutical conglomerate Procter & Gamble, oil giant Chevron, and a top adviser to the Sultan of Oman, according to CSIS officers and documents.
CSIS maintains that it has rigorous internal procedures to prevent donors’ interests from infecting scholarship or its large volume of advice to the government.
“We have 130 projects right now, and I keep close track of them. I know who is funding each of them,” said John Hamre, a former deputy defense secretary who has been president of CSIS since 2000.
Its full-time researchers, meanwhile, must annually disclose any outside business clients to an internal management committee, he said. That applies to at least one member of the team whose assistance was sought by senior Pentagon officials on Hagel’s Asia speech: Ernest Bower, a leading Asia scholar at CSIS who also runs a large business consulting firm, Bower Group Asia, with offices in nine Asian countries.
Bower told the Globe he discloses all of his business clients to CSIS, but he says he cannot reveal their identities publicly, due to contractual agreements.
“We listened to ideas from experts at several think tanks,” said Pentagon press secretary George Little. He would not identify the think tanks, however.
“It’s perfectly appropriate for government officials to listen to ideas from nongovernment sources, including think tank experts,” he said. “This is America, after all, where compelling ideas don’t always originate inside government agencies and departments.’’
But Hagel's office acknowledged that it was not aware when it sought Bower's independent advice that he is also a paid consultant for unidentified companies with interests in Asia. It declined to respond to questions about whether Hagel or his aides believe they should have been made aware.

CSIS was recently ranked as the best think tank in the world for security and international affairs by the University of Pennsylvania annual think tank rankings.  It was also ranked as the 5th best think tank in the world.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on CSIS's new headquarters.

The New "Think Tank Industrial Complex"

Bryan Bender of The Boston Globe has a new piece titled "Many D.C. Think Tanks Now Players in Partisan Wars," which says we have arrived in the era of the "think tank industrial complex."  He essentially says that these days think tanks are more concerned with money rather than good ideas.

Here are some highlights:
  • It now is difficult to tell the difference between truly objective advice and high-priced advocacy for political or private profit, according to a Globe review of public and internal documents and interviews with dozens of current and former think tank scholars, management staff, and donors.
  •  “They [think tanks] have evolved into what looks like a business,” said Alan Dye, a Washington attorney who has represented think tanks, including Heritage, for three decades. “A brain trust for sale.”
  • The aggressive politicking is making even some of the think tank’s own scholars uncomfortable, according to a number of insiders who declined to be identified for fear of reprisal.
  • The study found that the newer think tanks are increasingly specialized and “focused on a single issue or area of policy.” A greater share of their funding is also tightly targeted. 
  • Heritage’s lobbying efforts this year have been focused on defeating proposals in Congress backed by think tanks like CAP, such as the extension of unemployment benefits and immigration reform. It has also lobbied against Obama’s nominations for federal judgeships.
  • Some think tanks are resisting the trend, trying to navigate a course through the growing thicket of partisanship and corporate influence. They are finding it hard going.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Think Tank Quickies #74

  • The role of think tanks in New Hampshire politics.
  • China's State Councillor Yang Jeichi attends 2nd Forum of Interchange between China, Latin America, and Caribbean think tanks, co-hosted by China Foundation for International Studies and Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs.
  • Defense One issues 1st edition of "In the Tank" - a weekly roundup of think tank reports related to defense, technology, national security, foreign policy, and management issues.
  • How think tanks are pushing government to better leverage data. 
  • Two disciplines most think tanks lack: designers and philosophers? 
  • Think tank in Bolivia: An analysis
  • CFR President Richard Haass to chair All-Party talks in Northern Ireland; former OECD Ambassador Karen Kornbluh joins CFR as a Senior Fellow for Digital Policy.
  • CAP & US Chamber of Commerce team up to host discussion on early childhood education.
  • CAP recommends US natural gas use must peak by 2030.
  • Meet the elite think tank community doing its best to "control the world."