The Center incorporated as a non-partisan 501(c)(3) in 1969, growing out of the Library of the Presidential Papers, founded in 1965. Inspired by President Dwight Eisenhower's call for programs on the American Presidency for "students old and young…characterized by accuracy, objectivity and perspective," the Center began educating young leaders and examining public policy issues that required Presidential consideration and action. Dr. R. Gordon Hoxie, a historian and Chancellor of Long Island University, became the first President of the Center, and Arthur T. Roth, a banker and Board Vice Chair at Long Island University, the first Chairman of the Center's Board of Trustees.
In late 2008, the Center launched an initiative aimed at both renewing the nation's sense of civility and purpose and helping policy makers develop practical, concrete solutions to national crises. An initial step in the renewal was the name extension of the Center to the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, which reflects CSPC's extensive work both on and with Capitol Hill. The work of CSPC has allowed the organization to deliver strategies and solutions related to defense, energy, procurement, technological advancements, and learning from lessons of history, to aid Congress and the Presidency in making informed policy decisions in our modern day.
Today, Thomas R. Pickering serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees, Pamela Scholl serves as Vice Chair and Chair of the Executive Committee, and Maxmillian Angerholzer, III is the President and CEO.
The Center maintains a full-time staff of 20-25, a 34-member Board of Trustees, 51-member National Council of Advisors, 21 other Advisors and Fellows and approximately 35 interns throughout the course of a year.
The Center’s programs are designed to bring members of the Executive and Legislative branches together with leaders in the private sector, public policy centers, and academic and research communities on a variety of programs and projects aimed at strengthening national governance and solving critical national challenges.
Report to the President Elect 2000 - The Center produced Triumphs and Tragedies of the Modern Presidency: Seventy-Six Case Studies in Presidential Leadership, In Harm's Way, Advancing Innovation, Comprehensive Strategic Reform, and a number of related publications to prepare to the Administration for the challenges of the Executive Office in a post-Cold War environment.
Iraq Study Group – The Center was one of the four co-sponsoring organizations of the Iraq Study Group, led by former Secretary of State James Baker and former 9/11 Commission Co-Chair and former Congressman Lee H. Hamilton. Two Center Trustees, former Senator Charles Robb and former Attorney General Edwin Meese III, were among the eight members of the bi-partisan ISG. The Center nominated experts for all Expert Working Groups (EWGs), which provided analysis and research on the political situation within Iraq, the broader regional and international strategic environment, military and security issues, and economic reconstruction and development. Center staff also served as advisors to the Strategic Environment EWG as well as the Economic Reconstruction and Development EWG.
Transatlantic Relations – The Center’s transatlantic efforts have examined NATO's role in the war on terror, put forward a series of proposals on increased NATO-EU coordination in global and homeland security, and identified better crosswalks and institutional capabilities among NATO, the EU and the G8. In 2008 and 2009, the Center conducted an initiative designed to help rising European leaders better understand the challenges and processes of the transition period. The Center brought 17 of these young leaders (ages 30–40) from positions of policy planning in European governments or in the policy-research community to Washington, DC, to meet with experts involved in this and previous Presidential transitions.
SAFI: Saving America's Future Initiative: In September 2008, the Center received a major grant from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation to help the new Administration confront the recent decline in American solvency, unity and global leadership. Influential strategic leaders guiding the project include: David Walker, President and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and former Comptroller General of the United States; Norman Augustine, former Chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin; and Roy Romer, former Governor of Colorado.
The comprehensive assessment, published in March 2009, incorporated the findings of the Center's Strengthening America's Future Initiative teams on critical national challenges including: U.S. Innovation and Growth: Small and Mid-size Business; Infrastructure and Transportation; Education and Competitiveness; Budget and Taxes; Energy, Climate Change, and Resource Management; Finance, Trade and Economics; Commission on U.S. Federal Leadership in Health and Medicine; Restoring America’s Trust and Influence Abroad; National Security; Science and Technology; Innovations, Comparative Advantage and Synergies (ICAST); Revitalizing the U.S. Armed Forces; U.S. Geopolitical Relations.
Through the fall of 2009, the Center released the results of each individual issue team's work, with key recommendations in each area of national crisis. In January 2010, the final SAFI report will be released.
During all phases of this project, the Center is working closely with Congressional leaders, field experts, former government officials, and respected academics to assist the work of the Obama Administration and to communicate the project's findings to the American people.
Homeland Security – The Center addresses strategic homeland security challenges that require Presidential leadership and has led policy initiatives on combating smuggled nuclear weapons; coordinating the Departments of Defense, State, and Homeland Security; the strategic partnership between the U.S. and Canada; strengthening the transatlantic relationship in the war on terrorism, and crisis leadership for homeland security.
Foundation for International Understanding – To bridge the gap in global understanding, Meridian International Center and CSPC are co-sponsoring an initiative to create a grant-making Foundation for International Understanding (FIU). The FIU will support the use of media productions and digital media technologies to promote mutual understanding and collaboration across borders, cultures, and religions. As part of this mission, the FIU will support media-based initiatives that advance positive social goals, such as: global public health, sustainable development and energy use, economic development and entrepreneurship, and civic engagement. The FIU will award grants to marshal expertise from producers, content providers, media innovators, and social entrepreneurs worldwide. As a public-private partnership, the FIU will rely on a combination of public and private funding to underwrite its operating expenses and grant awards. Through matching grants and co-funding partnerships with other donors, the FIU will leverage additional private sector financial participation. The FIU will have a special (but not exclusive) focus on supporting media-based initiatives that reach youth around the world to correct stereotypes and misperceptions before they become fixed beliefs. Also, FIU will seek to expand opportunities for collaborative learning and problem-solving. To maximize its reach and impact, the FIU will support the full range of media tools, including: Web-based social networking, virtual worlds and virtual classrooms; cell phones and mobile content; educational video games; television and radio.
National Consortium for Character-Based Leadership - In response to the character failures routinely witnessed in government, business, education, religion, and athletics, CSPC established the National Consortium for Character-Based Leadership, an organization of more than 40 high schools, colleges, service academies, business schools, and independent institutions. The Consortium aims to unite the often disconnected fields of ethics and leadership education by providing tools for students to grapple with morally complex leadership situations. The Consortium’s inaugural conference was held at Washington and Lee University in September 2006, and another was held in February, 2008 at Georgetown University.
Remobilizing NATO in Afghanistan- CSPC is launching an action initiative to persuade European leaders to encourage NATO to enact reforms and encourage member nations share more equitably in NATO’s involvement in Afghanistan. The project will be co-chaired by David Abshire and W. Bruce Weinrod, the former Secretary of Defense Representative for Europe and Defense Advisor to the U.S. Mission to NATO, and advised by the recently retired Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Bantz J. Craddock.
The Center will work with Members of Congress to enhance channels of communication with European officials to convey information and recommendations regarding the NATO effort in Afghanistan. A conference in Europe will be organized between American Congressional staffers and their European counterparts to foster an open exchange about NATO’s role in Afghanistan.
SNAP to Health: Improving Nutrition in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - CSPC's Health and Medicine Program, chaired by Rear Admiral Susan Blumenthal, frames health care challenges and opportunities for the President and Executive Branch of the federal government to enhance public policy making. The Health and Medicine Program is currently studying the effect of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, on dietary behaviors. This project seeks to put health and nutrition at the forefront of discussions guiding this federal food program reauthorization. The interdisciplinary team for this project includes experts in federal and state health policy, nutritional epidemiology, agricultural economics, and health communications who are undertaking innovative activities as part of this program, including:
- Designing and implementing a survey of stakeholder groups to identify barriers and opportunities for improving nutrition for SNAP beneficiaries
- Conducting the first statistical analysis of NHANES data to determine the current effects of SNAP on its young beneficiaries, ages 4–19
- Developing policy recommendations to be considered as SNAP provisions in the 2012 Farm Bill
- Designing and launching an interactive website http://www.snaptohealth.org/ to serve as a forum for public discourse on improving nutrition in SNAP
Securing the U.S. Electrical Grid was supported by the Smith Richardson Foundation and launched a yearlong project started July 2013. The project brought together representatives from the Executive Branch, Congress, and the private sector to discuss how to better secure the U.S. electric grid from the threats of cyberattack, physical attack, electromagnetic pulse, and inclement weather. CSPC held eight roundtables to gather information for this report in Washington, D.C., New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The final report was released in July 2014.
The U.S. & Latin America: Opportunities for Hemispheric Integration Based on Economic Growth & Political Reform, led by CSPC Trustees Mel Martinez and Francis Rooney, this publications examines evolving U.S. policy towards Latin America and the opportunities for increased attention toward the region and improved relations with regional partners. The report focuses on economic engagement, educational exchanges, and civil institutions. The final report was released in October of 2015.
The Presidential Fellows Program was founded in 1970 in response to the Kent State shootings as a way to bridge the leadership gap between generations. Each year, the Center invites 85 of the nation’s top college and university students to Washington to participate in the Presidential Fellows Program, a series of leadership conferences in the spring and the fall that feature high-level government officials from the Executive and Legislative branches and the policy community. Fellows, who are nominated by their home schools, engage in year-long research resulting in an original paper on an issue of the modern Presidency. Students have online access to the Center's award-winning Presidential Studies Quarterly and are eligible to participate in two essay contests and compete for publication in our annual anthology of the best Center Fellows' Papers.
The Better Business of Government examines the issues impacting government procurement and potential reforms to the procurement system. With experts from government, academia, and the private sector participating in off-the-record roundtables in Washington, D.C.; Boston, Massachusetts; and Huntsville, Alabama, this project has drawn on the expertise of a wide range of individuals who collectively represent hundreds of years of experience in government procurement. The final result has introduced the Better Business of Government Report.
Triumphs and Tragedies of the Modern Congress is an anthology of 52 case studies intended to allow current and incoming Members of Congress to learn from their predecessors' experiences. This work took place during 2013 involved the help of subject matter experts and fellows to understand case studies related to Congressional Leadership. The anthology will have four co-editors, James Kitfield a Senior Correspondent at the National Journal, Christopher P. Lu who is the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, Norman Ornstein who is a Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and Max Angerholzer who is the President & CEO at CSPC.
Project Solarium 2017 focuses on delivering key strategies and solutions that are meant to provide insight for the president-elect on domestic reforms, foreign policy, and application of the lessons of history. This report follows similar policy transition pieces from 2000 and 2008- Report to the President-elect and Strengthening America's Future Initiative, respectively.
The Center regularly publishes books, reports, and newsletters concerning the Presidency that are of interest to policymakers, scholars and the general public. Publications include:Presidential Studies Quarterly
Post 9/11 Studies
Character-Based Leadership and Civility
Presidential Fellows Program
The Better Business of Government
Click here for a detailed list of CSPC publications.