The Stimson Center

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The Stimson Center
The Stimson Center logo.jpg
Abbreviation Stimson
Motto Pragmatic Solutions for Global Security
Formation 1989
Type Think Tank
Headquarters 1211 Connecticut Avenue NW, 8th Floor
Ellen Laipson

The Stimson Center (Founded in 1989) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan institution devoted to enhancing international peace and security through a combination of rigorous analysis and outreach. The Center's stated approach is pragmatic ― seeking to provide policy alternatives, solve problems, and overcome obstacles towards a more peaceful and secure world.

Stimson seeks to offer decision-makers pragmatic solutions and policy-relevant information and analysis. The Center focuses on non-conventional challenges such as water management, wildlife poaching, and responses to humanitarian crises, while still playing a role in debates on nuclear proliferation, arms trafficking, and defense policy.

Stimson seeks to provide expertise for the policymaking community – the U.S. executive and legislative branches, international institutions and governments, and policy research institutions – as well as the media, academia and general public.


Stimson Co-founders Barry Blechman and Michael Krepon

Barry Blechman[1] and Michael Krepon [2] founded the Stimson Center in 1989, and are now distinguished fellows at the Center. Stimson is currently led by Chairman of the Board Lincoln Bloomfield, Jr.[3] and President and CEO Ellen Laipson.[4]

The Stimson Center is funded by research contracts, grants from foundations and other donations, and has been honored as one of the top think tanks in the world and received the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions in 2013.[5]


Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense[edit]

Stimson's Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense (BFAD)[6] program seeks to improve American national security at a lower cost to the American people. It also works to strengthen the capacity and capability of the US government to frame, resource, and execute foreign and national security policies and programs.

East Asia[edit]

The East Asia [7] program conducts research on vital regional security issues and offers insights and recommendations for policymakers in the U.S. and in the region on a variety of issues. The program analyzes the dynamics of cross-Strait relations, including the exchange of ideas and people between the U.S. and Asia-Pacific region. The program also examines China’s foreign relations toward Northeast and Southeast Asia, with a special focus on Myanmar, Iran and Africa, and addresses U.S.-Japan alliance relations [8] and developments on the Korean Peninsula.[9]

Environmental Security[edit]

The Environmental Security program[10] explores how increased stress on global ecosystems and shared natural resources may compromise economic development, fuel social conflict, and undermine political stability in key areas throughout the world. Through collaborative stakeholder engagement, Stimson works to provide policy-relevant analysis, promote useful knowledge-sharing, build partnerships, and forge pragmatic policy solutions that ensure the sustainable management of shared natural resources and the mitigation of environmental risks.

Managing Across Boundaries[edit]

The Managing Across Boundaries (MAB)[11] initiative develops government responses at the national, regional, and international levels, and accelerates public-private partnerships to mitigate these threats. Experts work in multiple arenas – conventional arms, drones, environmental crime, private sector engagement, weapons of mass destruction, illicit trafficking and counterfeiting, and the nexus between security and development.

Middle East[edit]

The Middle East program explores issues that affect regional security from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf. Stimson scholars are working on cross-border dynamics in the region, and are focused on the rising threat from sectarianism[12] and its roots in radical Islamic ideology, looking at key countries and at regional consequences. The program’s Gulf Security[13] work analyzes traditional and nontraditional security issues impacting the Gulf States and their neighbors. In 2015, the program is monitoring the regional security repercussions of the Iran nuclear negotiations.

South Asia[edit]

The South Asia[14] program seeks to reduce nuclear dangers in South Asia by focusing on risks associated with the accelerating arms competition between India and Pakistan. These risks are amplified by the activities of terrorist groups and political instability in the region. The program has championed confidence-building and nuclear risk-reduction measures in South Asia for over twenty years. The South Asia program analyzes U.S. crisis management on the subcontinent, producing case studies of the “Twin Peaks” and Mumbai crises, and identifying future challenges. The program seeks to empower an emerging generation of strategic analysts in South Asia by means of the South Asian Voices[15] website, conferences, and visiting fellowships.

Space Security[edit]

Stimson’s Space Security program[16] seeks to advance an International Code of Conduct for responsible space-faring nations and to prevent dangerous military activities. It focuses on how to reduce clear and present dangers facing every space-faring nation. The International Code of Conduct strengthens norms for debris mitigation and space traffic management procedures, and against tests of debris-causing anti-satellite weapons and harmful interference of satellite operations.

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.[17]

Southeast Asia[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.[18] The program is directed by senior associate Dr. Richard Cronin.[19]

Transforming Conflict and Governance[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.[20]

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[21] and Victoria Holt.[22]


A selection of recent publications includes:

  1. "Confronting the Crisis of Global Governance"[23] – A report from the Commission on Global Security, Justice and Governance that details a practical action plan for innovating global governance, as well as offering ways to mobilize diverse actors to advance reform to better respond to 21st century threats, challenges, and opportunities.[24]
  2. "Recommendations and Report of the Task Force on US Drone Policy"[25] – This report details recommendations for overhauling UAV strategy, improving oversight, accountability and transparency, developing forward-looking international norms relating to the use of lethal force in nontraditional settings, and devising sound UAV export control and research and development policies.[26]
  3. "A New US Defense Strategy for a New Era: Military Superiority, Agility and Efficiency"[27] – This report sets out ten key operating principles that emphasize greater efficiency and effectiveness throughout the Defense Department and finds that a successful defense strategy could be achieved at budget levels significantly lower than present.[28]


  • Ranked 24th of the "Top Think Tanks in the United States" according to University of Pennsylvania’s "2014 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report."[29]
  • Winner of the MacArthur Foundation’s Award for Creative and Effective Institutions in 2013.
  • Given 5-Star (Highly Transparent) rating by Transparify’s 2015 report, "How Transparent are Think Tanks about Who Funds Them 2015?"[30]

Key People[edit]

  • Ellen Laipson (President & CEO, 2002–Present)
  • Ambassador Lincoln P. Bloomfield, Jr. (Chairman, 2005–Present)
  • Former Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering (Vice Chairman, 2001–Present)
  • Barry Blechman (Co-Founder/Emeritus, 1989–Present, Chairman 1989-2007, Board 2014–Present)
  • Michael Krepon (Co-Founder/Emeritus, 1989–2007)

Current Board of Directors[edit]

  • Duane Andrews (retired CEO, Qinetiq North America) (2014–Present)
  • Robert O. Boorstin (former Google executive) (2007–Present)
  • Kenneth C. Brill (Retired Ambassador) (2012–Present)
  • Kevin J. Cosgriff (retired US Navy Vice Admiral) (2009–Present)
  • Andrew J. Czekaj (Cambridge Holdings) (2012–Present)
  • Lori Fisler Damrosch (Columbia University) (2014–Present)
  • Alton Frye (Emeritus, 1990–Present)
  • Gary R. Gregg (retired insurance executive) (2012–Present)
  • Laurie S. Fulton (2014–Present)
  • Francis Q Hoang (Momentum Aviation Group) (2015–Present)
  • Andrea Koppel (Mercy Corps) (2008–Present)
  • Brett B. Lambert (Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense) (2014–Present)
  • Alice Maroni (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation) (2011–Present)
  • Kathleen Newland (Migration Policy Institute) (2012–Present)
  • Jean-Francois Seznec (The Lafayette Group, LLC) (2009–Present)
  • Courtney Banks Spaeth (Growth) (2014–Present)
  • Fred Whitridge, Jr. (Archipelago Corporation) (2013–Present)

Former Board Members[edit]

  • Les Aspin (1994–1995)
  • Zoë Baird (1990–1991)
  • Charles Bailey, II (Emeritus, 1991–2004)
  • Linda Banton (2001–2010)
  • Barbara Davis Blum (2001–2010)
  • Avis Bohlen (2004–2013)
  • K. David Boyer (2001–2002)
  • Richard Clarke (1997–2010)
  • Elmer Cooper (1991–1995)
  • William Harrop (2001–2011)
  • W. Bradford Gary (2010-2013)
  • Arnold Kanter (1994–2005)
  • Farooq Kathwari (2003–2014)
  • Peter Lavoy (2014)
  • Roger Leeds (1990–2005)
  • Frank Loy (1990–1998, 2002–2005)
  • Jane Holl Lute (2013-2014)
  • Leo Mackay, Jr. (Director, 1998–2001)
  • Norman Neureiter (2005–2012)
  • Philip Odeen (2001–2014)
  • Anne Richard (2006–2011)
  • Condoleezza Rice (1991–2001)
  • Rozanne L. Ridgway (1997–2001)
  • Enid Schoettle (1992–2010)
  • Jeffrey Smith (1990–2010)
  • Leonard Spector (1989–1997)
  • Howard Stoertz (1991–1997)
  • Richard Thornburgh (1994–1997)
  • Larry Welch (1997–2009)
  • Carroll Wetzel (2000–2011)
  • John Wickham (1992–1998)
  • Susan Williams (1990–2002)
  • Willard Wirtz (1991–1993)


  1. ^ "Experts: Barry Blechman". Stimson Center. Retrieved 2014-06-27. 
  2. ^ "Experts: Michael Krepon". Stimson Center. Retrieved 2014-06-27. 
  3. ^ "Board Chairman". Retrieved 2015-07-22. 
  4. ^ "President & CEO". 
  5. ^ "MacArthur Award". Retrieved 2015-07-20. 
  6. ^ "Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense". 
  7. ^ "East Asia". 
  8. ^ "Japan". 
  9. ^ "Korea". 
  10. ^ [h "Environmental Security Program"]. Stimson Center. Retrieved 2015-07-27. 
  11. ^ "Managing Across Boundaries Initatives". Stimson Center. Retrieved 2015-07-27. 
  12. ^ "The New Sectarianism". 
  13. ^ "Gulf Security". 
  14. ^ "South Asia". 
  15. ^ "South Asian Voices". 
  16. ^ [1], July 27, 2015.
  17. ^ "Experts: Ellen Laipson". Stimson Center. Retrieved 2014-06-27. 
  18. ^ Two Steps Forward for Vietnam, Two Steps Back, Patrick Tan, Asia Sentinel, 20 August 2007, accessed 11 September 2007.
  19. ^ [2][dead link]
  20. ^ [3][dead link]
  21. ^ [4][dead link]
  22. ^ [5][dead link]
  23. ^ "Global Governance publication PDF" (PDF). Stimson Center. Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  24. ^ "Global Governance". Retrieved 2015-06-13. 
  25. ^ "Drone Report" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-07-23. 
  26. ^ "Book Report". Retrieved 2015-07-23. 
  27. ^ "New US Defense PDF" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-07-23. 
  28. ^ "Book Report 2". Retrieved 2015-07-23. 
  29. ^ "2014 GLobal Go To Think Tank Report". Retrieved 2015-07-19. 
  30. ^ "2014 GLobal Go To Think Tank Report" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-07-21. 

External links[edit]