June 16, 2009

What Kind of Blog is this?

One of the hardest tasks for a think tank is deciding what not to publish. The CNAS Natural Security Program is a project apart, however, and that’s why we thought this blog would be a good idea.

Generally speaking, research projects, which tend to be multi-month and even multi-year, of necessity have a focal point. A great deal of interesting but not directly germane information can end up on the cutting room floor.

The Natural Security Program, however, is an exploratory undertaking at this point, rather than a highly focused project – no need to leave anything on the floor.  A blog offers us an opportunity to engage in that exploration without the time and resource commitments inherent in a longer research project. Basically, we can take ideas for a test run in this space.

Second, looking at natural security of necessity means engaging a broad community of experts – from those in the defense and foreign policy communities to environmental scientists and advocates to the private sector, particularly companies with supply chains affected by global resource availability. This dialogue will be an important part of our foundational research, and we hope to have that dialogue here.

Third, everyone in our program is playing an important part in the development of these ideas, and everyone needs a chance to publish and engage. So you will see several bylines in addition to mine – Dr. Jay Gulledge, a certified senior ecologist and Non-Resident Senior Fellow at CNAS; Christine Parthemore, the Bacevich Fellow at CNAS; Will Rogers, Research Assistant at CNAS; Seth Myers and John Lee, Joe Nye Research Interns at CNAS; and various other CNAS experts and friends.

We will invite and welcome comments (coming soon!), on a moderated basis. This does not mean that we will screen out anyone who disagrees with us – divergent points of view are most welcome. But we will screen out cut-and-paste ideological and ad hominem comments, as well as comments we judge to be calculated misinformation – posters are welcome to appeal any decisions they consider unfair.

So, we hope you enjoy reading the commentary and invite you to join the conversation!