Friday, June 10, 2016

New "Mini Cato Institute" Launches

Washington, DC welcomes its newest think tank to the mix, the Defense Priorities Foundation, whose main goal is to promote foreign policy that includes a greater reluctance to assert military force.  It other words, it is basically the Cato Institute of defense, a libertarian shop that dislikes costly wars.

Here is more from Politico:
Sen. Rand Paul's vision of a less militaristic foreign policy got little traction in the GOP primaries, but some of his key backers are joining forces with associates of billionaire Charles Koch in a fresh effort to steer Washington away from interventions in overseas wars.

They’re launching a think tank, the Defense Priorities Foundation, that seeks to elevate national security policies that are decidedly out of the mainstream of Republican — and even some Democratic — foreign policy thinking, featuring a significantly greater reluctance to assert military force or even impose sanctions on nations such as North Korea. The related Defense Priorities Initiative, meanwhile, is designed as the organization's advocacy arm, which will seek to lobby Congress.
Among the architects of the nonprofit are William Ruger, a Navy Reserve officer who is the vice president for research and policy at the Charles Koch Institute. The institute is backed by the billionaire businessman and donor, who along with his brother David has poured millions into conservative political causes that champion lower taxes and lighter regulations.
The think tank is also the brainchild of several acolytes of Paul, the Kentucky Republican who rose to prominence criticizing American military operations in the Middle East and the expanding use of armed drones in particular.
The group's communications director, Eleanor May, was the national press secretary for Paul's presidential campaign. Paul's office declined a request to comment for this story.
The think tank has also enlisted some of D.C.'s leading libertarian foreign policy thinkers and several conservative pundits, as well as a retired Army officer and Afghanistan veteran, Daniel Davis, who was perhaps the most famous military whistleblower of the past generation.
A spokesperson for the Charles Koch Institute told POLITICO that the institute and the Charles Koch Foundation are not providing financial support to the new think tank...

The article goes on to note that Christopher Preble, Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies at Cato, is a senior adviser at the new think tank.  Doug Bandow, a former special assistant to Ronald Reagan, and a Cato Senior Fellow, is also a "recruit" to the new think tank, according to Politico.  And Charles (Chuck) Peña, former Director of Defense Policy Studies at Cato, is a Foreign Policy Fellow and Scholar at the new think tank.  [It also notes notes that Koch has been a major backer of Cato.]

Edward King, who most recently served as Chief Operating Officer for Concerned American Voters, a pro-Rand Paul Super PAC, is listed as the President and Founder of the new think tank.

Unlike Cato, however, Defense Priorities Foundation will have a lobbying arm called the Defense Priorities Initiative.  That will allow it to officially lobby the US Congress and others, much like the Heritage Foundation, which has a sister lobbying arm called Heritage Action.