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The Stimson Center, named after Henry L. Stimson, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank which aims to enhance international peace and security through a combination of 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 pragmatic solutions and policy-relevant information and analysis on a range of global issues to decision-makers. It focuses on a range of challenges to peace and prosperity such as nuclear proliferation, arms trafficking, water management, wildlife poaching, and responses to humanitarian crises.
In 2013, Stimson received the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Stimson was ranked 21st best U.S. think tank in the University of Pennsylvania's 2016 Global Go To Think Tanks Report.
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.
The Stimson Center was founded in 1989 by Barry Blechman and Michael Krepon. Stimson is currently led by Chairman of the Board David J. Lane and President and CEO Brian Finlay.
The Stimson Center is funded by research contracts, grants from foundations and other donations.
Stimson's Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense (BFAD) 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.
The East Asia 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 and developments on the Korean Peninsula.
The Environmental Security program 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.
The focus of the Global Political Demography (GPD) program is to draw upon available demographic projections to produce global statistical forecasts for a set of political, social, and economic transitions. The program also examines sub-national demographic data to forecast trends in ethnoreligious relations within states and to recommend sets of responsive policies.
The Managing Across Boundaries (MAB) 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.
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 and its roots in radical Islamic ideology, looking at key countries and at regional consequences. The program's Gulf Security 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.
The South Asia 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 website, conferences, and visiting fellowships.
The Southeast Asia program addresses major challenges facing the region today, ranging from the food-water-energy security nexus in the Mekong Basin to political and economic issues of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) integration. The main focus of the program's research is development in the Greater Mekong Subregion, particularly hydroelectric power projects and their impacts on the food-water-security nexus and regional stability. The program also regularly addresses trade, economic, and political issues involving ASEAN member states, U.S.–ASEAN relations and policy issues, and maritime security issues in the South China Sea, particularly territorial disputes and fishery management.
Stimson's Space Security program 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.
The Transforming Conflict and Governance program examines whether and how international conflict management and support to good governance can create sustainable peace in areas plagued by violence. It focuses in particular on violence against civilians and its prevention and the impact of climate change on the livelihoods of vulnerable populations, including those in zones of conflict. The program takes advantage of growing local and global e-connectivity to limit violence and promote economic opportunity. Recommendations reflect on-the-ground analysis in conflict zones and in-depth research with key practitioners and stakeholders in the United Nations, the U.S. government and other institutions around the world.
The WMD Nonproliferation and Security program works with stakeholders to develop possible approaches and new constituencies to help manage the risks of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, with a special focus on security and safeguards for nuclear materials.
A selection of recent publications includes: