The New America Foundation today announced an expansion and restructuring of its foreign policy efforts, including new leadership roles for some of the Foundation’s most vital longtime contributors.
A new National Security Studies Program, directed by Peter Bergen, will complement the Foundation's American Strategy Program, which had to date been the home for all of New America's foreign policy initiatives. And Steve Clemons, the founder and longtime director of the American Strategy Program, is stepping into a senior fellowship role, but will remain active in helping guide the work of the American Strategy Program, which will be directed by Sherle R. Schwenninger, who will add to his current duties as director of New America's Economic Growth Program.
The American Strategy Program’s focus -- on U.S. grand strategy, the relationship between geoeconomics and geopolitics, and the evolving American role in the world -- remains unchanged. Its active initiatives include the Middle East Task Force, which encourages strategic solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a Great Powers Initiative, which seeks to promote a new pattern of cooperation between the United States and emerging powers, and a Cuba Project, which promotes the normalization of relations with that country. In the coming months, it will be expanding its work on U.S. strategy toward the world economy focusing on the difficult question of how to rebalance global demand and consumption.
“Steve Clemons has been an important driver of New America’s growth,” Foundation President Steve Coll said, “and he’s vital to our success today. But that instrumental institutional role has often come at the cost of his own work and policy interests. This fellowship will allow Steve to focus on a long-neglected book project -- work that is very important to him, and that will undoubtedly strengthen the American Strategy Program with its ideas and insights.”
“I’m excited to have this chance to dive deep into the questions that have driven the American Strategy Program since its creation,” Clemons said. “Sherle has effectively been a co-director from the start -- we’ve always maintained that it’s impossible to draw a line between economic policy and international affairs -- so this is a very comfortable transition. I couldn’t and wouldn’t take this time if I had any concerns about the future of this program; Sherle’s great leadership skills and our close working relationship are what make this possible.”
The Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative, which has been co-directed by Bergen and Coll, will anchor an expanded National Security Studies Program that focuses on research-driven policy and analysis on terrorism, counterinsurgency, South Asia’s geopolitics and other national security concerns. “One of the vital lessons of the United States’ current engagements in Afghanistan and Pakistan is just how little we often know about the people and politics of these regions,” Bergen said. “The original research we’ve done on counterterrorism has proved tremendously valuable, and it’s clear that there’s much more to be done.”
“I can’t imagine a better leader than Peter for this effort,” Coll said. “For starters, he’s one of the great experts in the field -- but he’s also proven himself to be a leader as well as a scholar. After years of pursuing his own work as a fellow at New America, he agreed to lead our Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative, which has succeeded beyond all expectations. When it became apparent that we should be broadening this research portfolio, it was equally obvious that Peter was the one to lead it. With both American Strategy and this new National Security Studies project running at full speed, New America’s foreign policy presence should be greatly strengthened.”