Monday, December 27, 2004

Thinking Outside the Box, but Staying within the Circle

Steven Simon and Jonathan Stevenson contend in the current issue of The National Interest that the task of assisting the government with contemplating, conceptualizing, and creating a new grand strategy for the global war on terrorism is too important to be left to academics or think tanks. Their advice is to establish a new Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC; eg. RAND, the Institute for Defense Analyses, the CNA Corporation, etc.) or draw together individuals from preexisting FFRDCs to work on these issues.
This recommendation would certainly make things much easier from the vantage point of producing classified research and allowing more open access to policymakers, but something about it seems limiting to me. (Although this may perhaps be because I work for a think tank....) Instead, I think we need to foster more public and private partnerships utilizing federal research and private philanthropic dollars to build a cadre of educated and informed citizens across ideological lines to be able to work to think, write, and advise about the global war on terrorism whether it be in academia, think tanks, the military, civilian agencies, or non-governmental organizations. This would not preclude the establishment of an FFRDC, I'd just hate to see the government or policymakers self-limit themselves to particular channels of analysis.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Semper Fi!

Bill Adams

4:35 AM  

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