Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Think Tanks Receiving Money From Nuclear Weapons-Producing Companies

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) has just published a new report on global nuclear weapons spending in 2020.

The report says that in 2020, nine nuclear-armed states spent $72.6 billion on their nuclear weapons, more than $137,000 per minute.

Here is more from the report:

The $72.6 billion spent on nuclear weapons was split between governmental departments and private companies. Companies in France, the United Kingdom and the United States received $27.7 billion from nuclear-weapon-related contracts in 2020, of which $14.8 billion was new.

Those companies then funded think tanks that research and write about nuclear weapons policies. At least twelve major think tanks that research and write about nuclear weapons in India, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States received collectively between $5 million and $10 million from companies that produce nuclear weapons. The CEOs of companies that produce nuclear weapons sit on their advisory boards and are listed as “partners” on their websites.

 Here are the think tanks that reported income from nuclear weapons producers:

  • Atlantic Council: $835,000 - $1,724,998
  • Brookings Institution: $175,000 - $549,998
  • Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: $50,000 - $199,998
  • Center for a New American Security (CNAS): $1,085,000 - $1,874,991
  • Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS): $1,530,000 - $2794,997
  • Fondation pour la recherche strategique (FRS): amount not specified
  • French Institute of International Relations: amount not specified
  • Hudson Institute: $170,000 - $350,000
  • International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS): $800,640 - $1,146,744
  • Observer Research Foundation: $71,539
  • Royal United Services Institute (RUSI): $610,210 - $1,445,581
  • Stimson Center: $50,500


The report notes that many of those think tanks which received nuclear weapons-related money then turned around and wrote reports favorable to the industry.  One example, according to the report, is Atlantic Council, which received "upwards of $1.7 million in 2019 [and later] published an issue brief which recommended the United States proceed to develop 'low-yield' nuclear capabilities to deter Russia." 

ICAN says these think tanks "must stop" accepting money from companies with vested interests in maintaining and building more weapons of mass destruction, adding that "in the meantime, readers of these think tank reports should question if their policy recommendations or research topics are influenced by their funders.

A recent report from the Center for International Policy's (CIP) Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative (FITI) found that more than $1 billion in defense contractor and US government funds flowed to the top 50 most influential think tanks from 2014-2019.

Update: Here is a piece published on July 28 entitled "How the Nuclear Weapons Industry is Dominating Think Tank Research."