Friday, October 16, 2020

Top 50 Think Tanks Raked in $1+ Billion From Defense Contractors & US Government the Past 5 Years

It is no secret that the US government gives a ton of money to US think tanks, which also receive a ton of money from defense contractors.

Now, a new report from the Center for International Policy's (CIP) Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative (FITI) tells us how much money the top 50 US think tanks have brought in the past five years from those entities: $1+ billion.

It should be noted, however, that most of that money - $1,209,100,000 to be more precise - was actually given to one think tank: RAND Corporation.  The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) was the 2nd largest recipient over the past five years, bringing in $8,946,000 (i.e., 1/135, or 0.7% of what RAND took in).  The third largest recipient was Atlantic Council, which brought in $8,697,000.

The amounts are likely much higher due to the fact that think tanks often report funding levels for a particular entity within a range of figures, and FITI used the minimum amount from those ranges.  Moreover, many think tanks grossly underreport or simply do not disclose funding information.

According to the report, the top 5 defense contractor donors to US think tanks are:

  1. Northrop Grumman: $4,551,252
  2. Raytheon: $2,830,000
  3. Boeing: $2,746,075
  4. Lockheed Martin: $2,670,000
  5. Airbus: $2,140,000

And the top 5 US government donors to think tanks are:

  1. Office of the Secretary of Defense (and other national security agencies): $391,720,000
  2. US Air Force: $281,400,000
  3. US Army: $246,321,000
  4. Department of Homeland Security: $111,192,255
  5. Department of State: $9,090,478

The full report, which contains a handful of errors and questionable details, can be found here.   

Here is some more commentary from FITI's Holly Zhang and here is some from FITI's Cassandra Stimpson. 

Here is more about the report from The American Conservative.