Henry L. Stimson Center

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Henry L. Stimson Center
Logo Stimson Center.jpg
Abbreviation Stimson
Motto Pragmatic Steps for Global Security
Formation 1989
Type Think Tank
Headquarters 1111 19th Street NW, 12th Floor
Ellen Laipson
Website stimson.org

The Henry L. Stimson Center is a nonprofit, nonpartisan global security think tank based in Washington, D.C, United States. Its stated mission is to urge "pragmatic steps toward the ideal objectives of international peace and security."[1] Stimson pursues its vision by conducting independent analysis and offering fresh perspectives for the policymaking community, the media and concerned citizens.

The Center draws inspiration from the life and work of Henry L. Stimson, whose bipartisan service to five presidents included appointments as Secretary of War for Presidents William Howard Taft, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Harry Truman, and Secretary of State for President Herbert Hoover.[2] Henry Stimson believed strongly in “pragmatic idealism,” the notion that progress toward peace is only possible through practical steps and strong US engagement in the world.

In 2002, Ellen Laipson joined Stimson as President and CEO.[3] Laipson directs Stimson's work on Southwest Asia and contributes to its projects on Regional Voices and Homeland Security.


Stimson was founded in 1989 by Barry Blechman[4] and Michael Krepon,[5] who were committed to creating an enterprise that would be able to synthesize pragmatism and idealism in public policy. Initially, the Center was mainly focused on arms control and reducing the risk of nuclear war - projects prescient for the end of the Cold War. Throughout the years, Stimson ventured into new research areas, and its agenda has evolved to include a broad range of security issues, both traditional and nontraditional.

Stimson 5-22-08 020.jpg

The Center’s work is now focused on three priorities:

  • Reducing threats of weapons of mass destruction and transnational threats;
  • Building regional security; and
  • Strengthening institutions for international peace and security.

Stimson conducts in-depth research and analysis to provide policy alternatives and overcome obstacles to a more peaceful and secure world. The organization's pragmatic approach seeks to understand and illuminate complex issues, develop new knowledge, and engage policymakers, policy implementers and non-governmental institutions to craft recommendations that are cross-partisan, actionable, and effective.


Transnational threats[edit]

Reducing the global risks created by weapons of mass destruction and proliferation continues to be a major focus of Stimson analysis and policy impact. In addition, in response to the changing threat environment, Stimson has expanded its research agenda to encompass emerging transnational challenges sparked by accelerating globalization, technological advances, and environmental stress. Finding workable solutions to these complex, often inter-related challenges requires ingenuity, new insights and cooperative action.

Environmental Security program[edit]

Expanding populations, shifting consumption patterns, growing energy use, and mounting resource demands are imposing potentially unsustainable strains on the global environment. The Stimson Center's Environmental Security Program explores how rising stresses on global ecosystems and shared natural resources could compromise economic development, fuel social conflicts, and undermine political stability in key areas of the world. Stimson’s work encompasses issues including threats to water security in transboundary river basins and aquifers; the interplay of socio-economic, political, and environmental trends affecting marine resources, coastal communities, and maritime security in the Arctic and Indian Ocean regions; the implications of increasing urbanization for global climate change, freshwater supplies, food security, and energy use; and the possibilities for collective institutions to enable cooperative environmental governance. [6]

Global Health Security program[edit]

The Stimson Center's Global Health Security Program evaluates the rapidly changing policy frameworks for global public health, including infectious disease surveillance and reporting, focusing on case studies of the local, national, regional, and international responses to emerging disease threats as well as ongoing epidemics. The Global Health Security Program focuses on evidence-based decision making at the nexus of science and policy. The Health Security program is directed by senior associate Dr. Julie Fischer.[7]

Space Security program[edit]

The Space Security program aims to increase public awareness about the dangerous consequences of flight testing and deploying space weapons; provide policy makers, legislators, negotiators, and NGOs with information to construct wise space security choices; and offer a pragmatic alternative to space weapons. In 2006 the Space Security program engaged international partners to expand and particularize the Code of Conduct for Responsible Space-Faring Nations. Capitalizing on the Center's work in the past drafting a model code, the project seeks to popularize the ideas of cooperation, debris mitigation, and rules of the road in space amongst foreign diplomats and leaders. It has since been endorsed by The Economist.[8] It was also endorsed by the countries of Italy and Switzerland.[9][10] The European Union has also endorsed the Code.[11] The program is directed by Stimson co-founder and Distinguished Fellow Michael Krepon.[5]

Stimson 3 14 08 035.jpg

Cooperative Nonproliferation program[edit]

In January 2005, the Henry L. Stimson Center launched the multifaceted Cooperative Nonproliferation program designed to accelerate existing efforts, and design new projects aimed at more rapidly and sustainably securing dangerous weapons, materials and expertise in the former Soviet Union and around the globe. Currently, the program is in the process of initiating its second year of the Pathogens for Peace Initiative (P4P), which aims to find sustainable employment for former Soviet Union biotech and nuclear scientists while also addressing neglected diseases, promoting economic development, and sustained scientific engagement. The program is directed by senior associates Brian Finlay[12] and Dr. Elizabeth Turpen.[13]

Regional security[edit]

Stimson's regional security programs build on a global network of thought leaders, provide comprehensive analysis, and advance pragmatic policies in the US and abroad. Stimson's regional work stretches from the Pacific across the Indian Ocean and onto the Middle East and Africa.

Southwest Asia program[edit]

The Southwest Asia program looks at security issues in the Middle East, with particular focus on Iran, Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula. The program’s work examines security in all its dimensions, from strategic issues in the region and beyond, to managing security at the national level and also considers human security issues that have important implications for political stability. The program also examines US policies in the region, the policies of the states in the area, the views of non-state and other outside actors, including the rising Asian powers. The program is directed by the Center’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Ellen Laipson.[3]

East Asia program[edit]

The East Asia program seeks to illuminate and fashion practical solutions to many of the complex security challenges confronting East Asia and the Asia-Pacific region today. The program’s PRC and Taiwan-related work focuses heavily on US-PRC and cross-Strait relations, as well as US policy toward Taiwan and the region more broadly. The Program's Japan-centered work examines the implications of Japan's evolving security policy and seeks to strengthen US-Japan cooperation on a number of regional and global strategic issues. The Program also deals closely with the Korean Peninsula, exploring everything from North Korean nuclear issues to inter-Korean relations.[14] The program is co-directed by senior associates Alan Romberg[15] and Yuki Tatsumi.[16]

South Asia program[edit]

The South Asia program seeks to nurture confidence-building measures and nuclear risk reduction in Pakistan, India, and the Kashmir region. The program achieves its objectives through a host of activities including: workshops for policy makers in Pakistan, India and the United States; hosting Visiting Fellows from Pakistan and India; and through publications relating to a variety of regional issues.[17] The program is directed by co-founder and Distinguished Fellow Michael Krepon,[5] whose analysis is often quoted in the mainstream press and media of the subcontinent.[18][19][20]

Southeast Asia program[edit]

The goal of the Southeast Asia program is to promote greater understanding within the US government, the business sector, academia, and the general public of the region's complexity and importance to US interests. Specifically, the program closely follows events and policy relating to Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Burma.[21] The program is directed by senior associate Dr. Richard Cronin.[22]

Regional Voices[edit]

The Regional Voices project is about understanding how knowledgeable people from the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia think about emerging non-traditional security issues. The project fosters dialogue among subject experts and strategic thinkers from various disciplines and occupational backgrounds through holding workshops in the regions, entering into partnerships with regional institutions, and carrying out interviews in the field. Additionally, the project carries out research into the state of knowledge and thinking on transnational challenges.

The Voices project is directed by senior associate Amit Pandya.[23]

Effective institutions[edit]

Future of Peace Operations program[edit]

The Future of Peace Operations program was designed with the idea of focusing on the two key components of peace operations: peacekeeping - the provision of temporary post-conflict security by internationally mandated forces - and peacebuilding - those efforts undertaken by the international community to help a war-torn society create a self-sustaining peace. During 2006, the Future of Peace Operations program will report on the role of the military in protecting civilians in conflict, on ways to improve the availability of international law enforcement personnel in peace operations, on best practices for fighting corruption in post-conflict settings, and on measures to reduce spoilers and promote accountability in peace operations. The program will also run a workshop series looking at these issues with a focus on Africa and issue a report on US military concerns with the International Criminal Court. FOPO is co-directed by senior associates Dr. William Durch[24] and Victoria Holt.[25]

Security for a New Century program[edit]

The Security for a New Century (SNC) project is designed to inform and enhance the dialogue within Congress on international security issues across political lines. The project has Democratic and Republican sponsors from both the House of Representatives and the Senate. In this sponsored capacity, The Stimson Center’s SNC congressional fellows coordinate an ongoing briefing series intended to educate Congressional staff about the complex security challenges confronting US policymakers. The goal of SNC is to provide a “safe,” off-the-record forum featuring experts on international security issues that are important to policymakers in the long-term. SNC is directed by Dr. Elizabeth Turpen,[13] with assistance from Senate Fellow Geneve Mantri[26] and Congressional Fellow Judith Oliver.[27]

Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense[edit]

The Stimson Center’s Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense program examines how the nation plans and allocates resources for its foreign and national security policies. The project is unique in viewing the nation’s foreign and security policies and resources as a whole. The nation’s ability to carry out its policy agenda depends on the synergy of the diplomatic, foreign assistance, military, intelligence and homeland security tools. The Stimson Center’s Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense program carries out independent analysis, provides practical solutions for planning and resourcing US foreign and national security policies and proposes ways to improve our planning and budgeting system. BFAD is directed by Gordon Adams, a Distinguished Fellow at the Stimson Center.[28]



Stimson publishes in-depth analysis from its own institution's research as well as from external contributing authors. Recent publications include Cooperative Nonproliferation: Getting Further, Faster, The Impossible Mandate? Military Preparedness, the Responsibility to Protect and Modern Peace Operations, and Transnational Trends: Middle Eastern and Asian Views, which are all online accessible.[29]

In addition, Stimson produces reports, issue briefs, commentary and background papers. The Center's experts also regularly publish opinion pieces and are cited in many international media outlets.

Stimson's website also publishes an online Spotlight series, which serves as a biweekly commentary on some of today's most pressing foreign policy issues.[30] In September 2008, Stimson launched the Presidential Inbox 2009.[31] Each week, a Stimson expert writes about an issue that will affect the incoming administration from its first day in office. Written directly to the president, these memos offer an inside look at the problem, suggested paths to move forward, and a realistic look at the consequences of inaction.

Key people[edit]

  • Ellen Laipson, President and CEO
  • Cheryl L. Ramp, Executive Vice President and COO
  • Jacqueline Gosby, Chief Financial Officer
  • Brian Finlay, Managing Director, Senior Associate
  • Caitlyn Antrim, Executive Director, Rule of Law Committee for the Oceans
  • Russel Rumbaugh, Director, Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense, and Senior Associate

Board of directors[edit]


  1. ^ "The Stimson Center | Pragmatic Steps for Global Security". Stimson.org. Retrieved 2013-05-13. 
  2. ^ "About Stimson | The Stimson Center | Pragmatic Steps for Global Security". Stimson.org. Retrieved 2013-05-13. 
  3. ^ a b "Experts: Ellen Laipson". Stimson Center. Retrieved 2014-06-27. 
  4. ^ "Experts: Barry Blechman". Stimson Center. Retrieved 2014-06-27. 
  5. ^ a b c "Experts: Michael Krepon". Stimson Center. Retrieved 2014-06-27. 
  6. ^ "Environmental Security Project". Stimson Center. Retrieved 2015-06-12. 
  7. ^ "Global Health Security Project". Stimson Center. Retrieved 2014-06-27. 
  8. ^ A new arms race in space?, The Economist, January 25, 2007, accessed September 11th, 2007
  9. ^ Statement of Italy to the Conference on Disarmament, Reaching Critical Will, March 13, 2007
  10. ^ Statement of Switzerland to the Conference on Disarmament, Reaching Critical Will, March 6, 2007
  11. ^ Statement of EU Representative to the Conference on Disarmament, Reaching Critical Will, February 13, 2007
  12. ^ [1][dead link]
  13. ^ a b [2][dead link]
  14. ^ East Asia Program- Stimson Center, Intute, 4 January 2005, accessed 11 September 2007
  15. ^ [3][dead link]
  16. ^ [4][dead link]
  17. ^ "Apr 2004 - - Henry L Stimson Center - Nuclear doctrine, declaratory policy, and escalation control" by Rahul Roy-Chaudhury, International Institute for Strategic Studies Research Fellow for South Asia, IISS website, April 2004, accessed 11 September 2007
  18. ^ "India, US interpreting key provisions differently" The Hindu, 25 August 2007, accessed 11 September 2007
  19. ^ Political clock ticks against India-US nuclear deal, The News International (Pakistan) 28 August 2007, accessed 11 September 2007.
  20. ^ Nuke deal standoff resonates in US, Sarah Jacob, NDTV, 22 August 2007, accessed 11 September 2007.
  21. ^ Two Steps Forward for Vietnam, Two Steps Back, Patrick Tan, Asia Sentinel, 20 August 2007, accessed 11 September 2007.
  22. ^ [5][dead link]
  23. ^ [6][dead link]
  24. ^ [7][dead link]
  25. ^ [8][dead link]
  26. ^ [9][dead link]
  27. ^ [10][dead link]
  28. ^ [11][dead link]
  29. ^ [12][dead link]
  30. ^ [13][dead link]
  31. ^ "About Stimson | The Stimson Center | Pragmatic Steps for Global Security". Stimson.org. Retrieved 2013-05-13. 

External links[edit]