Think tank led by Stonington man adds more brain power through partnership

The think tank led by Stonington resident Scott Bates is partnering with another think tank to be more influential in shaping the nation's future.

Bates, president of the Washington-based Center for National Policy, said the center and the Truman National Security Project, which is also in Washington, will be a "clear and strong voice" that will be engaged on issues that are important to southeastern Connecticut, such as the future of the Navy and Coast Guard.

Rachel Kleinfeld, president of the Truman Project, also has ties to Connecticut. She earned a bachelor's degree from Yale University, which is where she met Matthew Spence, a student at the Yale Law School. They founded the Truman Project in 2005 as a leadership training institute and the board originated from Connecticut.

Bates and Kleinfeld announced on Wednesday that the two organizations would combine staff and operations to turn forward-looking ideas into reality.

"We've always respected each other's values and work," Bates said. "We got together for dinner last summer and we thought, 'What more can we do, what greater impact can we have?' And this was a natural choice."

The center, which was founded in 1972, is an independent policy institute dedicated to advancing the economic and national security of the United States. Most of its members are 40 years old and older while the Truman Project's members are younger, Bates said.

The new partnership unites generations of leaders on national security, Bates said, because "we can all benefit from each other's energy and experience."

"We have leaders across the country with fantastic ideas that need to get into the political and policy conversation," Kleinfeld added. "The Center for National Policy gives us a way to move into the policy conversation, in a smart way, meanwhile the center gets access to an entire group of forward-thinking individuals with on-the-ground experience. They're not just the typical voices in Washington, but out-of-the-box voices that should be heard."

Each group will retain its own name and president. Kleinfeld said she is hoping that together, they can help define "where America's place in the world is in the 21st century and how we can wield power in a smart way."

Bates said the world has changed dramatically and the nation needs to use the tools of diplomacy, commerce, intelligence and the rare use of military power in a balanced way, to "make sure we're shaping the security environment and the kind of world we want to live in."


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