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Think tanks and influence on US foreign policy: The people and the ideas

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Technical Report,06 Jul 2015,26 May 2016

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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Think tanks have proliferated in number in the United States in the last century, and with that growth has come an increase in the potential influence that they have on foreign policy and national security strategy. The modern era of think tanks, encapsulating their evolution in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, has witnessed a community of non-partisan and non-profit public policy research organizations, become a source of increasing influence, often of a partisan nature. This study looks at the means by which think tanks seek to achieve influence in the foreign policy and national security domain. The primary focus is on the methods of influence. Specifically, it looks at the movement of people and their ideas, between think tanks and government, and the significant influence potential that is delivered in that way. It also provides a brief background understanding of the origins of think tanks, their typology and orientation, and their phenomenal growth in number in the last hundred years, and most notable in the period from the late 1960s to the mid-1990s.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science

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