Friday, December 23, 2022

Think Tank Quickies (#462)

  • Increasing number of Taiwanese and foreign think tanks signing MOUs to engage in collaborative research and policy dialogues. 
  • Chinese and Saudi think tanks join hands in petroleum studies.
  • A half dozen top climate programs are led by alumni of the World Resources Institute.  Why is that? 
  • Almost all of Ron DeSantis' new committee members have worked with the Brownstone Institute, a think tank founded in 2021 to oppose pandemic restrictions.
  • Yamini Aiyar: Why think tanks are critical to Indian policymaking.
  • Atlantic Council hosted a welcome dinner for the US-Africa Leaders Summit.
  • Brookings: Breaking silos between think tanks and youth groups for climate change in Africa.
  • Future Minerals Forum (FMF) enlists think tanks to champion innovation and develop thought leadership.
  • Michigan think tank gets 1st openly LGBTG+ chair.
  • UK's Institute for Government releases new report on diversity and inclusion in the think tank sector.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Think Tank President to Become Australian Ambassador to US

Here is more from the Asia Society:

The government of Australia announced yesterday its nomination of Asia Society President and CEO Kevin Rudd as the country’s next Ambassador to the United States, commencing in March.

Asia Society Board of Trustees Co-Chairs Amb. Heng Chee Chan and John L. Thornton issued the following statement:

“Kevin Rudd has been a transformational leader as President and CEO of the Asia Society, leading the organization through critical moments for it and the world.

Since joining the organization 8 years ago, he has established the Asia Society Policy Institute as a premier research institution, expanded Asia Society to 15 locations globally, and broadened our mission to combating anti-Asian hate in the United States, and elsewhere.


In related news, Asia Society formally launched a new Center for China Analysis in October.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Think Tank Quickies (#461)

  • RAND is leading a new multi-year Global Strategic Partnership with the UK's Ministry of Defense.
  • Jobs in think tanks are attractive cover for spies in Belgium.
  • Think tankers on whether to defend Taiwan. 
  • Japanese Defense Ministry think tank says China intensifying disinformation, cyberattacks on Taiwan.
  • Marjorie Taylor Greene on the Cato Institute.
  • A potential model for US universities and think tanks in their interactions with China.
  • Groundwork Collaborative: "Part strategic communications, part think tank, and part issue advocacy organization."
  • Video: Paul Ryan on why legislators should work with think tanks to solve big problems.
  • Pic: Think tankers participate in the baking challenge.
  • Flashback: "When President-elect Donald Trump picked China critic Robert his chief trade negotiator, the Chinese Commerce Ministry called a senior economist at a government think tank and assigned him a task: To lead a study on the impact of a trade war."

Monday, December 19, 2022

Jason Grumet Stepping Down as Chief of Bipartisan Policy Center

Mr. Jason Grumet is stepping down as President and CEO of the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) in January 2023 after being named as the new CEO of American Clean Power Association.

Grumet founded BPC in 2007.  In 2002, he founded and directed the National Commission on Energy Policy (NCEP), the predecessor to BPC's current Energy Project.

The think tank's board of directors is heading up the search for the next CEO. During the transition, current COO Kelly Darnell will serve as Interim CEO. Grumet will remain on BPC’s Board of Directors.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Meet "Double Helix Methodology": China's New Approach to Think Tank Research

Here is more from a press release:

This fall, "Bulletin of Chinese Academy of Sciences" (BCAS, in Chinese) journal discussed the status of Chinese think tanks and a new approach to think tank research known as double helix methodology in an exclusive interview with Professor Pan Jiaofeng, president of the Institutes of Science and Development, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CASISD).

The CASISD president mentioned that the new approaches that have emerged in recent years, such as the double helix methodology that he and his team first proposed in 2020, have made it possible "to unravel think tank problems and for think tanks to better engage in scientification and advance towards disciplinization amidst the formation of think tank science and engineering."

Like a strand of DNA, the double helix methodological system put forth by Pan's team features two main interconnected components –an integrated model concerned with data, information, intelligence, and solutions (DIIS) and one covering mechanisms, impact, policy and solutions (MIPS). The model includes an internal process consisting of the interaction between DIIS and MIPS and an external process comprising decomposition, fusion and restoration.

The trailblazer stated that he and his team have participated in pilot construction of high-end Chinese think tanks that utilize double helix methodology and that they formulated more-in-depth problem-, evidence-, and science-oriented DIIS methodology in order to address think tank problems after summarizing the experience that was gained and abstracting essential standardized research processes.

Published in 2021, the English version of Pan's book "DIIS Theory and Methodology in Think Tanks" elaborates on the DIIS aspect of the framework, explaining that it aims to improve the scientificity, efficacy, and reliability of think tank research results, facilitate systematic theoretical analysis, and promote think tank development.


Here is a link to Pan's book, DIIS Theory and Methodology in Think Tanks.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

North Korea Tricking Think Tankers Into Writing Research for Them

Here is more from Josh Smith of Reuters:

When Daniel DePetris, a U.S.-based foreign affairs analyst, received an email in October from the director of the 38 North think-tank commissioning an article, it seemed to be business as usual.

It wasn't.

The sender was actually a suspected North Korean spy seeking information, according to those involved and three cybersecurity researchers.

Instead of infecting his computer and stealing sensitive data, as hackers typically do, the sender appeared to be trying to elicit his thoughts on North Korean security issues by pretending to be 38 North director Jenny Town.

"I realized it wasn't legit once I contacted the person with follow up questions and found out there was, in fact, no request that was made, and that this person was also a target," DePetris told Reuters, referring to Town. "So I figured out pretty quickly this was a widespread campaign."

The email is part of a new and previously unreported campaign by a suspected North Korean hacking group, according to the cybersecurity experts, five targeted individuals and emails reviewed by Reuters.


The hackers reportedly offered Mr. DePetris $300 for reviewing a manuscript about North Korea's nuclear program.

The article notes that the hacking group, which has been dubbed Thallium or Kimsuky, among other names, typically has used spear-phishing emails that truck targets into giving up passwords or clicking links or attachments that load malware.  Now, however, the group is simply asking researchers to offer opinions or write reports.

Monday, December 5, 2022

Think Tank Quickies (#460)

  • The American Growth Project by the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, a business policy think tank, says the center of gravity for US economic activity is moving away from the East Coast.
  • Humanity's growing knowledge slowing great ideas from think tankers?  Also see this.
  • Richard Nixon Foundation held its inaugural Grand Strategy Summit. 
  • Aspen Institute announced the formation of a roughly 40-member Global Cybersecurity Group.
  • Melanie Zaber on how the culture at RAND Corp. is different from academia and other think tanks.
  • Did you know RAND has its own song?
  • Chinese think tanks on US chip policy.
  • Liang-chih Evans Chen, a researcher for the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, Taiwan's top military think tank, says that Xi Jinping's consolidation of power means he is more likely to "accomplish...the unification of Taiwan."
  • George Mason professor Ed Maibach insists that although George Mason is home to the libertarian think tank Mercatus Center that's received generous funding from entities linked to Charles and David Koch, his work has never been subjected to ideological pressure from university colleagues or administrators.
  • Video: Scholars at CIGS discuss US think tanks.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Dimitri Simes to Retire as President of Center for the National Interest

Mr. Dimitri Simes will retire as president of the Center for the National Interest (CFTNI) and publisher of The National Interest on Dec. 31, according to Politico.

The think tank hosted Donald Trump's first major foreign policy address, leading to one of CFTNI's scholars being fired for criticizing the decision in an op-ed article.

The Trump campaign's interactions with Mr. Simes and CFTNI became part of the 2017-2019 Special Counsel investigation.

The Mueller report ultimately found to evidence of wrongdoing by Simes or CFTNI, but the investigation reportedly hurt the think tank financially.

The think tank was established by former president Richard Nixon in 1994, as the Nixon Center for Peace and Freedom.  The group changed its name to the Nixon Center in 1998.  It was renamed Center for the National Interest in 2011.

Simes annual salary is around $400,000 per year.  No successor has yet been named.