The Center for Strategic and International Studies will break ground this spring for a brand new building just a few blocks away from its current, iconic location at 1800 K Street. The new location, a 15,394 square-foot PUD-approved property at 1616 Rhode Island Ave, has been a parking facility for years.
According to the firm representing the seller, CSIS purchased the property in August 2007 for an undisclosed sum. The ambitious project is expected to be completed at some point in 2014, according to a CSIS representative.
We have ambitious plans for our new home. Behind a striking façade, we foresee a world-class, two-story conference space; multiple visitor and staff meeting rooms; modern, flexible office space to support our growing staff; and state-of-the-art electronics and audiovisual facilities. The building’s design and construction will be guided by the latest green principles.
Tomorrow, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will address an audience at the American Enterprise Institute. The event, which was just announced on February 8, is causing quite a stir, especially among those wishing for Christie to throw his hat into the 2012 GOP ring. Despite his strong showing in the CPAC straw poll last week, however, Christie continues to insist he will not seek election in 2012, not even as a vice presidential candidate to anyone.
It is not immediately clear what the catalyst was for expediting the Christie event at AEI, nor are AEI spokespeople saying whether the event was initiated by the think tank or the governor. But Christie does seem poised to take advantage of the national attention to his governorship. Both elected and appointed officials have increasingly turned to think tank audiences as a way to get policymakers to engage in their ideas and proposals, with the hope of making them popular.
According to AEI, Christie will discuss government reform in relation to his February budget, with particular attention to spending reductions to both restore fiscal health and promote long-term growth. But Politico reported today, upon obtaining a preliminary copy of his AEI speech, that a significant portion of his presentation will focus on his battle with teacher's unions (and other unions, as well) in New Jersey.
Third Way announced today that three Democratic senators will be joining the think tank as Honorary Senate Co-Chairs. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kay Hagan (D-NC), and Chris Coons (D-DE) will join Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Mark Udall (D-CO) as Third Way’s Honorary Senate Co-Chairs.
“Senators Shaheen, Hagan, and Coons share in our belief that economic growth, fiscal discipline and a bipartisan spirit of national unity are matters of great importance to this country. We are excited about the impact that our work together will have,” said Third Way President Jonathan Cowan in a released statement.
The announcement comes on the heels of last week's news that the Democratic Leadership Council has closed its doors. The DLC was Third Way's only obstacle in being decisively viewed as the preeminent centrist, yet Democratic, policy ideas force in town. While some in the last week have reacted to the DLC's closing by eulogizing the centrist approach among Democrats, Third Way's move may be viewed as a direct response to that reaction.
Senator Hagan echoed that sentiment, saying that moderate policies are the only way for U.S. advancement. “I am honored to work with Third Way and other moderate members of Congress to advance sensible, bipartisan solutions that will strengthen the economy and move North Carolina and our country forward,” said Hagan.
Like many think tanks, the Center for a New American Security released their analysis of President Obama's proposed budget yesterday. In a report called The Sacrifice Ahead, CNAS' Travis Sharp argues that while the 2012 budget moves in the right direction, numerous other efficiencies could be taken to help "shore up the U.S. economy."
“The FY 2012 budget requested by DOD will enable the U.S. military to defend the nation against many perils. But it will do little to stymie a threat that may ultimately prove more dangerous: America’s growing debt,” writes Sharp. “Over time, the economic consequences of indebtedness may crowd out investments in a U.S. military that undergirds international security; may render the United States more vulnerable to economic coercion; and may erode America’s global stature and soft power. Relieving U.S. indebtedness demands preventive action by American society and government – including DOD.”
AEI's Tom Donnelly shared his reactions to the CNAS report--and CNAS in general, for that matter--at the Weekly Standard blog. Now that Michele Flournoy, Kurt Campbell and Jim Miller all have their Obama administration appointments, CNAS has taken a turn for the esoteric, according to Donnelly.
Under the new management of John Nagl and Nate Fick, CNAS first became the home of the counterinsurgency “COINdinistas” but has also been in the forefront on issues like “natural security” – that is, security the way environmentalists would think about it – and “energy security” – including how the Navy can get better gas mileage – and “soft power” in all its various manifestations.
And it's a direction that has left CNAS analysis strikingly conventional, if not misguided and weak, as far as Donnelly is concerned.
In its infrequent work on more traditional military issues such as defense strategy and budgets or weapons programs, CNAS has tended to adhere to an analytical approach. But its just-released report on the 2012 Pentagon budget – “The Sacrifice Ahead” – comes from the heart of the Rand Paul-Barney Frank corner of the cosmos. Fearing that the “cost of servicing the [national] debt could…put pressure on investments in America’s soft power” – yikes, the AID budget is at risk! – the study calls on the military to man up (emphasis added): “[A] base reduction of approximately 10-15 percent of the [future years defense plan] could serve as a useful benchmark because it corresponds with DoD’s approximate share of total federal spending and thus its burden of responsibility in contributing to deficit reduction.”
Where to begin with such a rationale? It certainly is as pure an expression of “everything-on-the-table” thinking as can be imagined; CNAS will brook no changes in the federal government’s priorities. (And that, in turn, is what the Obama budget intends: let’s lock in the “gains” in domestic discretionary spending and entitlements, like the health care plan, of the last two years.) But it’s also a pretty perverse reading of the military’s “burden of responsibility.” Asking soldiers and Marines to add “balancing Uncle Sam’s books” to “win in Iraq and Afghanistan” seems like a stretch. The battlefield is burden enough.