The Blogiston Post

Politics, money, and war.

Sunday, April 6


One of the really cute things about think tanks is they sure like to use their initials, just like on monogrammed towels. I guess it makes them feel important. So. Who are some of the think tanks advising the current White House?

American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI)

Center for Security Policy (CSP)

Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)

National Security Advisory Council at the Center for Security Policy (NSAC)

Heritage Foundation

Hoover Institute

Hudson Institute

Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies (IASPS)

Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA)

Lexington Institute


Project for the New American Century (PNAC)

The above are just some of the more common names run across in the news or testifying to congress. There are many more out there. Heritage Foundation funds, which lists conservative think tanks in its "right pages". Google around, you'll find more with little effort.

Going in no particular order, lets visit the Lexington Institute for a closer look-see.

Lexington Institute describes itself as one of the fastest-growing public-policy think tanks in the nation's capital. Lexington Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public-policy research organization that focuses on national security, education reform, immigration and federal policy concerning science and technology.

Of the recent white papers released by Lexington Institute, Directed Energy Weapons: Technologies, Applications and Implications warrants reading to find out how your tax dollars are being spent. It's basically Star Wars with a new name. If you think Ronald Reagan's Star Wars was mothballed, you would be very very wrong. The same research simply continued under the guise of different applications. Clever, no?

Lexington Institute Board of Directors

Jim Courter is the chairman of Lexington Institute. He also is CEO and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the IDT Corporation, (NYSE:IDT,IDT.B) a leading facilities-based multinational telecommunications carrier based in Newark, New Jersey. Mr. Courter also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the company's subsidiaries IDT Telecom, IDT Media, and IDT Winstar.

Dr. Loren B. Thompson is Chief Operating Officer of the Lexington Institute. Dr. Thompson's main job at Lexington is to oversee security studies, the institute's largest project.
Dr. Thompson is a long-time advisor to high-tech companies, the federal government, and foundations. He conducts most of his for-profit activities through Source Associates, a consulting firm that he heads in Northern Virginia. The areas on which he advises Source clients range from non-lethal weapons to industrial policy to military strategy.
Dr. Thompson testified to congress on April 9, 2002 in favor of increasing spending on new technology as part of military transformation. Transformation is just a fancy way of saying upgrade.
My final point is that realizing the potential of military transformation requires a greater commitment to procurement.
In other words, spend lots of tax dollars on new high technology weapons. Its unfortunate Dr. Thompson doesn't mention which defense and aerospace industries he's an advisor to. One possible company is Northrop Grumman, which carries the text of his congressional testimony on their defense links site. Northrop Grumman also funds the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution where Dr. Thompson was a fellow.

Alternative media site, Third World Traveler has this to say on one of Dr. Thompson's pet projects the B-2 bomber.
Public opinion has also been targeted by a number of prominent defense intellectuals. The foremost public proponent of the B-2 is Loren Thompson of the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution in Arlington, an outfit that receives funding from Northrop [Grumman]. Thompson produces a steady stream of pro-B-2 op-ed articles and is regularly quoted in the press. He also is a regular witness before Congressional panels, telling one committee in 1997 that the B-2 is a miracle plane that can "fly anywhere in the world within a few hours, safely penetrate modern air defenses and precisely destroy up to 16 separate targets with minimum collateral damage." Such assurances were given despite the fact that at the time the B-2 had never even been certified as combat ready and had yet to fly a single mission.

Thompson also put together a letter from seven former secretaries of defense-Melvin Laird, James Schlesinger, Donald Rumsfeld, Harold Brown, Caspar Weinberger, Frank Carlucci and Dick Cheney-in support of the B-2, which was used to great effect on Capitol Hill. "It is essential that steps be taken now to preserve an adequate long-range bomber force," the seven said judiciously. "The B-2 remains...the most cost-effective means of rapidly projecting force over great distances."

On numerous occasions during the past decade, Congress seemed all but sure to kill off the B-2. Each time, though, Northrop has managed to fend off the final stake to the heart with a lobbying blitzkrieg, prompting Rep. John Kasich of Ohio to dub the B-2 the "Dracula" bomber. This, then, is how military policy is formulated in the late-20th century: Because a company can mobilize enough lobbying firepower, the American people end up paying for a bomber that doesn't work, to meet a threat that doesn't exist.
The Lexington Institute white paper Directed Energy Weapons: Technologies, Applications and Implications takes on a new role now that the product has been sufficiently developed. It now emerges as a marketing tool.
Directed Energy Luncheon

On April 3, 2003, the Lexington Institute will be hosting a policy luncheon to present our paper, Directed Energy Weapons: Technologies, Applications and Implications. The authors of this paper, Dr. Loren Thompson and Dr. Daniel Gouré, will be featured speakers at this event. Representative John Hostettler will also speak.
This marketing tool ultimately only benefits the defense industry. None of what they propose would have stopped 12 men with box cutters and lasers would be useless in a desert combat arena with dust storms. But who cares about the details when there's money to be made. (fyi: Lockheed Martin and Boeing are listed as having participated in briefing sessions with Lexington Institute in the white paper footnotes. And what do you know. Ret. Gen. Ronald Fogelman of the Defense Policy Board is on the senior advisory board of the Lexington Institute Directed-Energy Program. How convenient.)

As far as nuclear theats, North Korea has now proven if you've got the bomb, even Washington has to bow to diplomacy. Rather than concentrating on non-proliferation, everyone will now have to have a nuke to talk to Washington. Nice, huh?


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