History

For three decades, Stimson has been a leading voice on urgent global issues. Founded in the twilight years of the Cold War, just months before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Stimson Center pioneered practical new steps toward stability and security in an uncertain world. Today, as changes in power and technology usher in a challenging new era, Stimson is focused meeting this unique moment with new tools and a modern approach.

Notable Events & Achievements

1989

Barry Blechman & Michael Krepon found the Henry L. Stimson Center with funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York & the Ford Foundation

1989
1992

The Center works with chemical industry leaders to negotiate the Chemical Weapons Convention’s inspection regime and ensure Congressional support for the treaty’s passage and implementation.

1992
1995

Stimson publishes An Evolving U.S. Nuclear Posture, marking the first-time former members of the defense establishment called for the abolition of nuclear weapons and provided an approach to achieve the goal.

1995
1998

The Center launches its first website.

1998
1999

The East Asia program brings a new focus on the PRC, Taiwan and Japan.

1999
2000

Senior Associate Bill Durch is appointed director for the Panel on UN Peace Operations, which publishes the Brahimi Report, a touchstone for UN peacekeeping reform. Stimson’s work on peacekeeping operations began a decade earlier in 1990.

2000
2001

Michael Krepon & Chris Gagne meet with Majid Dar, a leader of the Kashmiri resistance who made overtures to New Delhi to resolve the Kashmir issue.

2001
2005

The new Cooperative Nonproliferation program works to accelerate ef¬forts to secure WMD in the former U.S.S.R. & around the globe.

2005
2009

Stimson is ranked among the Top 30 think tanks in the United States.

2009
2010

Program Director Dr. Richard Cronin testifies before Congress after the Mekong Tipping Point report garners attention from the State Department and USAID.

2010
2013

Managing Director Rachel Stohl completes six years consulting on the Arms Trade Treaty, which is adopted by the United Nations on April 2.

2013
2014

The Task Force on U.S. Drone Policy, led by Gen. John Abizaid and Rosa Brooks, releases its recommendations for the Obama Administration.

2014
2015

The Task Force on U.S. Drone Policy, led by Gen. John Abizaid and Rosa Brooks, releases its recommendations for the Obama Administration.

2015
2016

Stimson is ranked 21st best U.S. think tank in the University of Pennsylvania ‘s 2016 Global Go To Think Tanks Report

2016
2017

The Environmental Security program advises the hosts of the 2017 Our Oceans Conference in Malta, where participants made 433 commitments valued at over $7B Euro.

2017
2018

Stimson tops the WIIS Gender Scorecard in percentage of female experts.

2018
2018

38 North, the renown web publication on North Korea, joins the Stimson Center’s East Asia team.

2018
2019

Stimson is ranked 19th among US think tanks in the Global Go To Think Tanks Report

2019
2020

Stimson is ranked 17th among US think tanks in the Global Go To Think Tanks Report

2020

In 2019, Stimson Celebrated its 30th Anniversary

Barry Blechman and Michael Krepon founded the Stimson Center in 1989. Here they describe the unique role they believed Stimson could play and detail the impact the organization achieved. Today, in a time of change reminiscent of our end-of-Cold War origins, the Stimson Center’s spirit of innovation, independence and pragmatism is as necessary as it was then.

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Leadership and Impact

Peace Operations and Protecting Civilians in Conflict

The Stimson Center has a 30-year track record of leadership on peacekeeping and protecting civilians in conflict areas. Even as threats change, we have maintained our dedication to addressing the challenge.

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From Whitepaper to the Real World: Building Solutions

Often, understanding a problem and making recommendations is not enough. That is why Stimson turns good ideas into reality by field-testing proposals and supporting implementations in the real world. We apply our research in numerous ways, from building tools, prototyping new technologies, and creating datasets, to working with local leaders and training government officials.

Cindy Vestergaard, Director of Stimson’s Nuclear Safeguards and Blockchain in Practice Programs, discusses how she is using Distributed Ledger Technology to strengthen nonproliferation of chemical, biological, nuclear, and radiological materials.

Lovely Umayam, Stimson Fellow, discusses how she is using the Governance Template to help implement security in nuclear facilities around the world in the face of developing modern threats.

Richard Cupitt, Director of the Partnerships in Proliferation Prevention Program, discusses the databases he is building to help states implement the nonproliferation requirements put in place by UN Resolution 1540.

Weapons of Mass Destruction & Nonproliferation

Stimson’s earliest work often focused on weapons of mass destruction, nonproliferation, and arms control – path-breaking work at the end of the Cold War. Today, with the cold war long gone but the WMD threat still very real, Stimson is a pioneer in new approaches to nonproliferation.

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About our Namesake

The Stimson Center was founded in 1989 when the world was changing radically, and familiar policy prescriptions were increasingly irrelevant. We were drawn to Henry L. Stimson as our namesake because he embodied the traits of international engagement and bipartisanship. Like Stimson, we wished to pursue pragmatic steps toward ideal objectives.

Barry Blechman and Michael Krepon, Co-Founders, Stimson Center

Henry L. Stimson (1867-1950) was a lawyer and statesman who served every American president but one, from Taft to Truman. Considered one of America’s great statesmen — and noted for his ability to identify and implement nonpartisan solutions — his record of achievement is long and distinguished. He served twice as Secretary of War, initially under President Taft, and was recruited to the position again by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt before the attack on Pearl Harbor to help forge bipartisan support for war preparedness. He served as Secretary of State under President Herbert Hoover.

Stimson was born and raised in New York. He was educated at Phillips Academy Andover, Yale, and Harvard Law School. He worked initially in the law firm of Elihu Root, who would later become a U.S. Senator, Secretary of State, and Secretary of War. Stimson’s public career began in 1906, when President Theodore Roosevelt appointed him to be U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Stimson acquired a distinguished record for prosecuting anti-trust cases.

Appointed as Secretary of War for the Taft administration in 1911, Stimson continued his predecessor and mentor Elihu Root’s efforts to reorganize and professionalize the U.S. Army. He became the only former Secretary of War to enlist, serving as an artillery officer in France during the First World War. Stimson was appointed Governor-General of the Philippines by President Calvin Coolidge, where he served from 1927-1929. As Secretary of State from 1929-1933 under President Herbert Hoover, he developed the Stimson Doctrine in response to Japanese conquest of China, stipulating that the United States government would not recognize international territorial changes enacted through force. He also negotiated the London Naval Treaty that regulated submarine warfare between the United States and world powers.

FDR recruited Stimson to become Secretary of War, a position he held from 1940-1945. Stimson organized the military mobilization following the attack on Pearl Harbor and oversaw the development and use of the atomic bomb to end the Second World War. Before and after leaving public service, he resolved to work on the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Throughout his career Stimson’s innovative ideas and pragmatic leadership helped make ours a more peaceful and prosperous world. His nonpartisan legacy is carried on in the Stimson Center’s work

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