New America Foundation
|New America Foundation|
|Type||Public Policy Think Tank|
|Headquarters||1899 L Street NW, Ste. 400|
The New America Foundation is an American non-profit, nonpartisan public policy institute and think tank focusing on a wide range of issues, including national security studies, technology, asset building, health, energy, education, and the economy. The organization is based in Washington, D.C., in addition to having a significant presence in New York City.
In 2007, Steve Coll, a former managing editor of The Washington Post, became President of the New America Foundation. Google's Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, is chairman of the foundation's board of directors.
History and mission
The New America Foundation was founded in 1999 by Ted Halstead, Sherle Schwenninger, Michael Lind and Walter Russell Mead as a non-profit, public policy institute whose stated mission is to “invest in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States.” The organization has a staff of over a hundred employees and fellows with offices in Washington, D.C., and New York City.
The organization continues to “emphasize work that is responsive to the changing conditions and problems of our 21st-century information-age economy” with “big ideas, impartial analysis and pragmatic solutions”. Newsweek’s Howard Fineman called New America a "hive of state-of-the-art policy entrepreneurship".
Organization and structure
The New America Foundation houses programs and initiatives that focus on specific domestic, economic and global issues. New America also houses a fellowship program.
New America’s National Security Studies Program researches and analyzes a wide range of global issues, from the inner-workings of al-Qaeda to overall national foreign policy strategy. With the presence of journalists such as Steve Coll and Peter Bergen, New America has carved out a policy niche in the issues of Afghanistan and counter-terrorism. Bergen, who leads the program, is a CNN national security analyst and author of several best-selling books, including, "The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda." Coll, president of New America, has also written several books on al-Qaeda and Afghanistan, including the 2005 Pulitzer Prize winner for general non-fiction, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden. James Risen in the New York Times complimented Coll on "revealing how Saudi Arabia and its intelligence operations aided the rise of Osama bin Laden and Islamic extremism in Afghanistan."
New America also has a policy focus on the Middle East with its Middle East Task Force, directed by Leila Hilal, which covers analysis and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa.
New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute (OTI) led by Sascha Meinrath has become one of the largest programs within the organization. Focus areas of OTI include wireless community networks building, the creation and management of an open source platform that supports broadband research tools and speed tests, the development of a platform (called Commotion Wireless) to lower barriers for building distributed communications networks, among other projects.
In the same vein of technology, New America's Future Tense initiative, a partnership with Arizona State University and Slate Magazine, explores emerging technologies and their effects on society and public policy. Central to the partnership is a series of events in Washington, D.C., that take an in-depth look at issues that, while little-understood today, could reshape the policy debates of the coming decade.
New America's Economic Growth Program, directed by New America co-founders Sherle Schwenninger and Michael Lind, aims to take a policy look at America and the world's economic problems. The program commissioned a paper “The Way Forward: Moving From the Post-Bubble, Post-Bust Economy to Renewed Growth and Competitiveness" which warned of the severe economic problems America would face if continued on its current path. The program does not believe in immediate government deficit reduction; it believes that will only make the situation worse. Instead, as stated in the paper, it has other suggestions, including investing in a sustained infrastructure program, lasting from five to seven years, to create jobs and demand.
Formerly, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget was a part of New America until it separated to become the Fix the Debt campaign. The bipartisan Committee ran a number of projects, including U.S. Budget Watch (www.usbudgetwatch.org), a project funded by Pew Charitable Trusts which reports on important fiscal issues relating to the 2008 election and afterwards. One of its most recent initiatives is the "Go Big" initiative, which was created after the Budget Control Act of 2011, enacted in early August to raise the debt-ceiling and avoid default. The effort urged a bipartisan 12-member Joint Congressional Committee on Deficit Reduction, also known as the Super Committee, with finding an additional $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction by November 23.
Maya MacGuineas, who has worked at the Brookings Institution as well as on Wall Street, led the Committee and now leads Fix the Debt. After advising politicians from both parties, she serves as a trusted mediator on budget talks between Democrats and Republicans. In addition, in April 2010 the Committee's policy director, Marc Goldwein, joined President Obama's bipartisan Fiscal Commission. Goldwein, 26, was also named one of the Forbes’ "30 under 30".
Education Policy Program
New America's Education Policy Program comprises experts on pre-k to K-12 through higher education and into the workforce. The policy staff produce three blogs: Early Ed Watch, Higher Ed Watch, and Ed Money Watch. It also comprises the Federal Education Budget Project, which serves as a "source of information on federal education funding for policymakers, the media, and the public".
The organization provides fellowships to “foster the next generation of thinkers and public intellectuals” through the Bernard L. Schwartz Fellows program. The Schwartz fellowship “supports talented journalists, academics and other public policy analysts who offer a fresh and often unpredictable perspective on the major challenges facing our society”. Current fellows include Peter Beinart, Sheri Fink, Franklin Foer, Rebecca MacKinnon, Dana Goldstein, and Amanda Ripley. Alumni of the program include Jacob Hacker, Megan McArdle, Katherine Boo, Robert Wright, Tim Wu, Chris Hayes, Romesh Ratnesar, and Dayo Olopade.
New America NYC
Launched in winter 2011–12, New America NYC is a new initiative that aims to further the New America Foundation’s goals of research and policy innovation. The space, located in SoHo, hosts several events each month generally focused on politics, media, and culture.
Staff and fellows at New America are published regularly in leading national publications. Board members and fellows have written cover stories for a large number of periodicals, including Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Wilson Quarterly, Wired, The New Republic, The New York Times, The National Interest, The American Conservative, The New Yorker, The American Prospect, and Mother Jones.
Recent reports include: “The Outlaw” ” by Steve Coll, which ran in The New Yorker and explores Osama bin Laden’s life and his use of media to get his message out; “Romney Lays Out Weak Obama Attack Line After New Hampshire Primary Win” in The Daily Beast by Peter Beinart; and “An American Hospital: The Most Dangerous Place?” by Shannon Brownlee in TIME magazine.
On January 13, 2014, the NAF put out a report by Peter Bergen a.o. on the effectiveness of the National Security Agency and its spying programs gathering big data, nationally and worldwide, just four days before President Barack Obama's speech on NSA reforms as a consequence of the disclosures since June 2013 by former NSA-contractor Edward Snowden. The report found only insignificant or minimal influence by the agency's surveillance programs on cases of terrorism.
New America receives funding from both the private and public sector. Seventy percent of its financing comes from private companies and individuals, while the rest comes from public institutions, including the U.S. government. The list of organizations and individuals that supported New America in 2010 includes more than 100 contributors.
Board of Directors
The New America Foundation's Board of Directors consists of 21 members. It is chaired by Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google, who succeeded founding chairman James Fallows in 2008. Other members include:
- Liaquat Ahamed, investment manager and author
- David G. Bradley, owner of the Atlantic Media Company
- Boykin Curry, former board member is what is now Public Prep Network
- Francis Fukuyama, political scientist, political economist and author
- Atul Gawande, surgeon and journalist
- Ted Halstead, think-tank executive and author
- Rita Hauser, lawyer and ambassador
- Zachary Karabell, president of River Twice Research
- Kati Marton, author and journalist
- Walter Russell Mead, professor of foreign affairs and humanities, editor-at-large of The American Interest
- Steven Rattner, financier, former "car czar" for the United States Treasury Department
- Anne-Marie Slaughter, political professor, former director of policy planning for the United States State Department
- Jonathan Soros, CEO of JS Capital Management, senior fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and son of George Soros
- Daniel Yergin, chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates
- Fareed Zakaria, journalist and author
Laurene Powell Jobs is a former board member.
New America's Leadership Council, chaired by Scott Delman, recognizes those individuals who contribute $25,000 or more to the Foundation each year. As members of the Leadership Council, they participate in the intellectual life of the Foundation in numerous ways. For instance, they are invited to attend a special annual retreat with New America senior staff, Fellows and Board of Directors, as well as a series of salon dinners. The Leadership Council currently has 17 members, which includes Craig Newmark (Customer Service Rep and founder, craigslist.org), Leo Hindery, Jr. (Managing Partner, InterMedia Partners), and Neal Baer, M.D. (Executive Producer of the television series A Gifted Man).
New America’s National Security Studies Program has an advisory council which directly works with Peter Bergen and Steve Coll to help advance the creativity and impact of the its national security policy work. Co-chairs of the group are board member Fareed Zakaria, and Charles R. Kaye (co-president of Warburg Pincus).
- New America Foundation, "Journalist Chosen to Lead a Public Policy Institute", New York Times, July 23, 2007, accessed January 23, 2012
- New America Foundation, Board of Directors, accessed May 11, 2010]
- Hogan, Clara (April 3, 2013). "ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER NAMED NEXT PRESIDENT OF NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION". NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION. Retrieved April 3, 2013.
- New America Foundation, About New America, accessed June 23, 2010
- Howard Fineman, "Living Politics: Election Gave '04 Brokers More Clout", ‘’Newsweek’’, November 13, 2002
- New America Foundation, Programs and Issues, accessed June 23, 2010
- Risen, James (April 11, 2004). "What Clarke Knew and When He Knew It". New York Times. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
- Nocera, Joe (2011-10-10). "This Time, It Really Is Different". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-1-24.
- Brady, Jessica (2011-11-15). "Maya MacGuineas in High Demand During Fiscal Debate". Roll Call. Retrieved 2012-1-24.
- Dan Froomkin, "Obama's Fiscal Commission: What’s Going On In There?", The Huffington Post, May 5, 2010
- "30 Under #0". Forbes. 2012-1-24. Retrieved 2011-12-20.
- New America Foundation, The Bernard L. Schwartz Fellows Program
- Coll, Steve (5/16/11). "The Outlaw". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2012-1-24.
- Beinart, Peter (1/11/2012). "Romney Lays Out Weak Obama Attack Line After New Hampshire Primary Win". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2012-1-24.
- Brownlee, Shannon (1/9/2012). "An American Hospital: The Most Dangerous Place?". TIME. Retrieved 2012-1-24.
- Peter Bergen, David Sterman, Emily Schneider and Bailey Cahall: “Do NSA's Bulk Surveillance Programs Stop Terrorists?” on the website of the New America Foundation, January 13, 2014. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
- “Remarks by the President on Review of Signals Intelligence” on Whitehouse.gov, January 17, 2014, text and video. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
- Peter Bergen et al.: “Do NSA's Bulk Surveillance Programs Stop Terrorists?”, ibid.: “An in-depth analysis of 225 individuals recruited by al-Qaeda or a like-minded group or inspired by al-Qaeda’s ideology, and charged in the United States with an act of terrorism since 9/11, demonstrates that traditional investigative methods, such as [...], provided the initial impetus for investigations in the majority of cases, while the contribution of NSA’s bulk surveillance programs to these cases was minimal. Indeed, the controversial bulk collection of American telephone metadata, which includes [...], under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, appears to have played an identifiable role in initiating, at most, 1.8 percent of these cases. NSA programs involving the surveillance of non-U.S. persons outside of the United States under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act played a role in 4.4 percent of the terrorism cases we examined, and NSA surveillance under an unidentified authority played a role in 1.3 percent of the cases we examined.” Retrieved January 28, 2014.
- Leadership Council | NewAmerica.net
- New America Foundation webpage
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