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Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

National Strategy Information Center

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The National Strategy Information Center (NSIC), founded in 1962, claims to be the first think tank to have advocated on national security strategy, low-intensity conflict, intelligence agency operations, and political warfare.[1] Over the past four decades, NSIC has worked with U.S. intelligence agencies to assess political and psychological warfare efforts and to collaborate with conservative labor union operations in Europe and Latin America. 

Among NSIC's founding directors are several trail-blazing neoconservative and right-wing figures, including  Richard Pipes, Joseph Coors, William Casey, Frank Shakespeare, Prescott Bush, Jr., and Frank Barnett.[2]

Along with NSIC contributors Abram Shulsky and Gary Schmitt, Barnett has been a leading advocate of Leo Strauss-inspired foreign policy notions entailing political warfare, psychological operations, and low-intensity conflict in the 1980s. A member of the Committee on the Present Danger, Barnett co-edited a 1989 National Defense University report on political warfare with fellow Straussian acolyte Carnes Lord entitled Political Warfare and Psychological Operations: Rethinking the U.S. Approach. The report advocates the dissemination of U.S. “propaganda” and the curtailment of foreign ideas and values.[3] Lord also served as a national security aide in the office of Vice President Dan Quayle, where he worked alongside William Kristol, founder of the Weekly Standard and the Project for the New American Century.

NSIC president Roy Godson served as a consultant to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) during the Ronald Reagan administration, when Schmitt was PFIAB's executive director. At the same time, Godson served as one of the main intermediaries between the private Nicaraguan contra support network and the National Security Council.[4] During the Cold War, he was closely connected with neoconservative organizations such as the Coalition for the Democratic Majority and the League for Industrial Democracy. Godson also served as the longtime director of the International Labor program at Georgetown University, where NSIC's Consortium for the Study of Intelligence is housed.[5] Godson’s father and brother, Joseph and Dean, served as key advocates of neoconservative ideas and organizations in the United Kingdom during the Cold War.[6]

NSIC has endeavored to keep up with changing strategic and tactical priorities since the the onset of the “war on terror.” In 2010, Roy Godson and Richard Shultz of the Fletcher School coedited the NSIC volume Adapting America’s Security Paradigm and Security Agenda. Contributing authors to the volume include former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Afghansitan, and the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad, former deputy NATO commander Rupert Smith, and Marin Strmekci, vice president of the right-wing Smith Richardson Foundation.

Hyping the notion that the world is on the verge of chaos—with more than half the states on the globe purportedly failed or near failure—and that shadowy forces are engaged in an existential battle “against the West,” Godson and Shultz argue that a “paradigm shift” is needed to confront array of security challenges confronting the United States.[7] The volume claims “the highest priorities” are:

a.Reoriented and restructured military units whose primary mission is to prevail in these nontraditional irregular conflicts that the U.S. most likely will face.

b.Intelligence dominance through collection, analysis, and exploitation derived from local knowledge and operations in conflict zones.

c.Civilian and military stability units, trained, dedicated, and resourced to assist  indigenous leaders by bringing security, development, and rule of law principles to local areas.

d.Strategic communication principles becoming a major component of top down driven policy, implemented by career specialists educated for this purpose.

e.Political capabilities performed by small corps of trained professionals—military and civilian—with authorities, skills, and resources to forge coalitions among foreign state and nonstate actors.

Funding

In addition to the support it has received directly or indirectly from the U.S. government, NSIC has received funding from several right-wing foundations, including the Carthage Foundation, the Earhart Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Sarah Scaife Foundation, and the Smith Richardson Foundation.[8]


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Sources

[1]National Strategy Information Center, “About Us”, http://www.strategycenter.org/about/nsic.

[2]National Strategy Information Center, “Consortium for the Study of Intelligence: Founding Members, 1979,” http://www.strategycenter.org/about/csi.

[3]Carnes Lord and Frank Barnett, Political Warfare and Psychological Operations: Rethinking the U.S. Approach (National Defense University and National Strategy Information Center, 1989).

[4]Pat O’Brien, “House Probes Link Between Contras and Youth Commission,” March 23, 1987, United Press International.

[5]Georgetown University, “Roy S Godson”, http://explore.georgetown.edu/people/godsonr/.

[6]David Miller, “Reactionary Censorship in the UK: The Case of SpinProfiles,” Right Web, August 18, 2010, http://www.rightweb.irc-online.org/articles/display/reactionary_censorship_in_the_uk_the_case_of_spinprofiles.

[7]Roy Godson and Richard Shulz, “Adapting America’s Security Paradigm and Security Agenda,” National Strategy Information Center, http://www.strategycenter.org/files/adapting_the_paradigm.pdf.

[8]Media Matters Action Network, “Conservative Transparency: National Strategy Information, Inc.,” Media Matters, http://mediamattersaction.org/transparency/organization/National_Strategy_Information_Center_Inc_/funders.

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National Strategy Information Center Résumé

Contact Information

National Strategy Information Center
1730 Rhode Island Avenue NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036-3117
Phone: 202-429-0129
Email: info@strategycenter.org
Website: http://www.strategycenter.org/

 

Founded

1962

 

About (as of 2010)

”The National Strategy Information Center (NSIC) identifies, researches, pilots, and promotes innovative strategies to enhance security and the quality of life in democratic societies. Founded as a nonpartisan, nonprofit, nongovernmental organization, NSIC has been at the forefront of education about challenges to democratic institutions for nearly 50 years.”

 

Selected Principals (as of 2010)

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