Source description last updated: 19 November 2020

In brief: The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is a US bipartisan non-profit organisation providing research on political, economic, energy- and security-related issues for policy decision makers.

Coverage on

Reports, briefs and other publications

Covered weekly on, for countries of priorities A, B and C.


“At the height of the Cold War in 1962, Admiral Arleigh Burke and David Abshire founded the Center for Strategic Studies at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.” (CSIS website: A Brief History, undated)

In 1987, CSIS became an independent organization (CSIS website: A brief history, undated; New York Times: Despite Success, Research Centers Are Rebuffed by 2 Major Universities, 28 November 1987).

“The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is a bipartisan, nonprofit policy research organization dedicated to advancing practical ideas to address the world’s greatest challenges. […]

We are guided by a distinct set of values—non-partisanship, independent thought, innovative thinking, cross-disciplinary scholarship, integrity and professionalism, and talent development. […]

CSIS scholars bring their policy expertise, judgment, and robust networks to their research, analysis, and recommendations. We organize conferences, publish, lecture, and make media appearances that aim to increase the knowledge, awareness, and salience of policy issues with relevant stakeholders and the interested public.

CSIS has impact when our research helps to inform the decisionmaking of key policymakers and the thinking of key influencers. We work toward a vision of a safer and more prosperous world.“ (CSIS website: About Us, undated)


In the fiscal year ending September 2019, CSIS’s operating revenue amounted to 42.8 million USD (not including endowment or capital gifts). Of this operating revenue, corporate grants and contributions comprised 30%, foundation grants 29%, government contributions 24%, and individual contributions 11% (CSIS website: Financial Information, undated). Government donors who contributed USD 500,000 and more during the fiscal years 2018 (1 October 2017 - 30 September 2018) and 2019 (1 October 2018 - 30 September 2019) included Japan, the US, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates (CSIS: 2018/2019 Annual Report, 2020, p. 49). A full list of donors who contributed to CSIS during these two fiscal years is available on pages 45 through 51 of the organisation’s 2018/2019 Annual Report.

Scope of reporting:

Geographic focus: all countries

Thematic focus: Defence and security issues, economic developments and reconstruction, energy and climate change, global health, global trends and forecasting, governance, technology, trade and economy


As CSIS explains, it hires “experienced and innovative scholars and former government and private-sector officials to conduct analytic research and develop policy prescriptions. These scholars work with a broad array of stakeholders, inside and outside government, in the public and private sectors, and within the United States and internationally to develop objective findings and pragmatic and effective recommendations.” (CSIS website: Ethics and Accountability at CSIS, undated)

Both the larger, periodically updated country reports (covering on Afghanistan and Iraq) and the specific thematic reports are almost exclusively based on desk research drawing on sources such as reports by US government agencies, international organisations, NGOs, academic works and media (see, for example, Afghanistan: The Prospects for a Real Peace, 7 July 2020, pp. 2, 4 and 161–174 and CSIS: Iraq in Crisis, May 2014, pp. 350-388). CSIS reports may also draw on information (including statistical data) from government sources of the country in question (see, for example, CSIS: Addressing Forced Labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, July 2020, pp. 1 and 11­–12). There are also sporadic instances of interviews conducted with experts (see, for example, CSIS: Addressing Forced Labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, July 2020, pp. 11­–12). Some reports may also draw on sources publishing in local languages such as Arabic (see, for example, CSIS: The Missile War in Yemen, June 2020) or Russian (see, for example, CSIS: Civil Society in the North Caucasus, January 2020). Sources in reports are referenced by means of footnotes (see, for example, CSIS: Civil Society in the North Caucasus, January 2020) or endnotes (Afghanistan: The Prospects for a Real Peace, 7 July 2020 and CSIS: Addressing Forced Labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, July 2020).

Language of publication:


Further reading / links:

AFP: Pompeo asks US think tanks to disclose foreign funding, 13 October 2020 (published by France 24)

Center for International Policy: Foreign Funding of Think Tanks in America, January 2020

New York Times: Foreign Powers Buy Influence at Think Tanks, 6 September 2014

Nikkei: US urges think tanks to disclose foreign funding, 14 October 2020

US Department of State: On Transparency and Foreign Funding of U.S. Think Tanks, 13 October 2020



All links accessed 19 November 2020.