From the Director’s Chair
By: Kathleen Hicks
This edition of FYSA comes at about the one-year anniversary of my tenure leading the International Security Program (ISP). It has been an incredibly tumultuous year for U.S. foreign and national security policy, so it should not surprise anyone that it has been an especially busy year for ISP. Our staff has been researching, writing, and providing perspective in the open media and behind closed doors on a wide range of timely issues facing the nation. Our work has spanned from Syrian chemical weapons disposal to deterring Russian adventurism into NATO territory to understanding the effects of sequestration.
At the same time, we have dedicated ourselves to keeping our heads out of the inbox so we can remain strategic in our focus. Our Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI), with over 1,400 members, continues to educate and network new generations of analysts to understand the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. policy. By December, we will have completed three studies under the umbrella of our Federated Defense Project, aimed at defining the strategic space for allied and partnered defense efforts in the years to come. We have also launched our strategic foresight line of effort, building upon CSIS’s signature 7Revolutions project, which brings together long-term research streams from across the Center. These are just a few of the varied projects ISP is working on, often in partnership with our unparalleled regional programs.
Today, ISP is home to approximately 40 scholars and staff, working across more than seven major research areas. Most recently, we have welcomed the Harold Brown Chair in Defense Policy Studies, including Dr. Maren Leed and Gen. James Cartwright (USMC, Ret.) Next week, we will welcome Andrew Hunter from the Department of Defense as director of our Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group (DIIG). Our program content will continue to grow in 2015 to ensure we are providing the finest scholarship on issues important to U.S. national security today and tomorrow.
I would be remiss if I failed to note the attention that came to CSIS and other think tanks with the publication of several news articles in September. Although the quality of reporting left much to be desired, we have welcomed more generally the calls for greater transparency for think tanks. CSIS has a strong ethos of bipartisanship, scholar independence, and analytic rigor, backed by comprehensive ethics guidelines and practices. ISP scholars are fully committed to ensuring we are transparent about the identity of donors to our work and are committed to identifying them in our publications, events, and invitations. CSIS as an institution lists all donors on its website on a yearly basis, including those who provide general support. We plan to indicate those donors who provide general support to ISP on our website in the weeks ahead. As a nonprofit educational institution, we take great pride in our work, motivated always by our dedication to public service rather than profit. I welcome your thoughts on how we’re doing in ISP and how we can make the coming year of programming even better than the last.