Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Dozens of Think Tankers Helping with the Biden Transition

The transition team of Joe Biden has just announced agency review teams to help with the transition of presidential power, and a number of think tankers are helping with the effort.

There are at least 42 people from 16 different think tanks on Biden's agency review teams, including:

  • Ellen Hughes-Cromwick: Third Way
  • Todd Tucker: The Roosevelt Institute
  • Kath Hicks: Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
  • Susanne Blume: Center for a New American Security (CNAS)
  • Sharon Burke: New America
  • Melissa Dalton: CSIS
  • Andrew Hunter: CSIS
  • Stacie Pettyjohn: RAND Corporation
  • Ely Ratner: CNAS
  • Terri Tanielian: RAND Corporation
  • Christine Wormuth: RAND Corporation
  • Kathryn Alvarez: Aspen Institute
  • Jeremy Konyndyk: Center for Global Development (CGD)
  • Sharon Parrott: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP)
  • Blas Nunez-Neto: RAND Corporation
  • Erika Poethig: Urban Institute
  • Peggy Bailey: CBPP
  • Solomon Greene: Urban Institute
  • Jocelyn Frye: Center for American Progress (CAP)
  • Viv Graubard: New America
  • Jenny Yang: Urban Institute
  • Hady Amr: Brookings Institution
  • Derek Chollet: German Marshall Fund (GMF)
  • Ellison Laskowski: GMF
  • Dana Stroul: Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP)
  • Margaret Taylor: Brookings
  • Kate Kelly: CAP
  • Andy Green: CAP
  • Nancy Lee: CGD
  • Elizabeth Rosenberg: CNAS
  • Kayla Williams: CNAS
  • Bill Baer: Brookings
  • Jung Pak: Brookings
  • Kelly Magsamen: CAP
  • Christine Linke Young: Brookings
  • Kim Leary: Urban Institute
  • Elizabeth Kelley: Urban Institute
  • Brad Setser: Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)
  • Ryan Zamarripa: CAP
  • Jack Smalligan: Urban Institute
  • Margaret Taylor: Brookings
  • Leonardo Martinez: World Resources Institute (WRI) 


Many of these people will eventually go into a Biden Administration, and others will go back to the think tank world and beyond.

The list tilts heavily toward center-left think tanks, although there are a handful of scholars from progressive think tanks.  It is not a shock that none of the major conservative-leaning think tanks, such as the Heritage Foundation, Hudson Institute, Hoover Institution, and American Enterprise Institute (AEI), are on the list.

There is nobody from Atlantic Council or the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on the agency review teams, although a number of scholars from those institutions are on the broader transition team.

A headline from the socialist Jacobin magazine: "Biden is Already Loading His Pentagon Transition Team With Pro-War Think Tank Staffers."

Air Force Magazine's headline: "Biden's DOD Transition Team Taps Think Tanks, Cross-Agency Experience."

In These Times notes that one third of Biden's Pentagon transition team hails from organizations financed by the weapons industry, including think tanks.

Here is a Think Tank Watch post from 2016 about the tectonic shift from liberal-leaning think tanks to conservative ones as Trump was coming into office.  The past four years, the most powerful US think tanks all started with the letter "H."

Fun fact of the day: There is a think tank that studies transitions - Center for Presidential Transition.