Donald Trump's nominee to be Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has very strong ties to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the world's top defense and national security think tank.
Mr. Tillerson, the Chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corporation, has been a member of the CSIS Board of Trustees since 2005. Here is a statement from CSIS congratulating Tillerson's nomination.
Dr. John Hamre, President of CSIS, defended Tillerson on PBS yesterday evening, saying he is not an ideological man. Politico reports that Dr. Hamre has spent more than 100 hours discussing foreign policy with Tillerson over the past 11 years.
Exxon is one of the largest funders of CSIS, and is currently listed in a category of recently giving $200,000+ to the think tank in the past year, according to CSIS's corporate donors list. That money is earmarked for regional studies, executive education, technology, and "general" programs.
Exxon was among those who gave more than $5 million to support CSIS's new $100 million headquarters in Washington, DC. Tillerson himself also gave a gift, listed at "under $500,000," to support the new building.
In 2009, Exxon gave $5 million to strengthen CSIS's Global Health Policy Program and to provide space in its new headquarters to house the Global Health Program.
Exxon is a huge supporter of think tanks, having given more than $30 million over the years to more than a dozen think tank.
In 2009, Tillerson gave a speech at the Wilson Center in which he announced that his company supported a carbon tax to help fight climate change.
Tillerson is one of several of Mr. Trump's Cabinet picks who hails from think tank land.