The policy world in which the Hoover Institution works is experiencing major changes, so much so that many refer to the shakeout as “the new normal.” Despite massive federal intervention, accompanied by unprecedented government debt, the economy has remained sluggish, with many states and cities on the verge of insolvency. Major wars continue in Afghanistan and Iraq, with growing concern over the nuclear capabilities of rogue states such as Iran and North Korea. Health care reform—arguably the most sweeping change of domestic law in forty-five years—was enacted, yet it remains under challenge in Congress and the courts. The elections of November 2010 brought their own changes, as will the new Congress.
Through its research and analysis, the Hoover Institution has provided the intellectual foundation for much of the policy debate, prompting and encouraging some policies, while questioning and challenging others. Indeed, the several task forces and working groups Hoover assembled just a few years ago have foreshadowed the very issues we now face: Islamism, national security and law, education reform, the economy, health care and others. As the New York Times recently observed, Hoover scholars “are in demand by journalists and Congressional aides.”
Rapid changes in policy are enabled by new tools of communication, and Hoover has worked diligently to find its place in the new media and social media worlds. Hoover scholars have learned to deliver timely messages through short books, blogs, Twitter, and Facebook, while also increasing their visibility in traditional media through op-eds and interviews. In most measurable categories, Hoover’s communications output has increased by 100 percent or more in the past year.
So, too, has the world of libraries and archives changed. While Hoover continues its active collecting and archiving of important documents, new technologies have created a demand for digitizing and disseminating materials. Hoover now sells political posters online and DVDs through Amazon, while continuing to host scholars from around the world in its reading rooms.
We join in thanking David Traitel, who recently completed a successful term as chairman of the Board of Overseers of the Hoover Institution. In the face of budgetary challenges, Hoover has wisely managed its resources and maintained its momentum. We, along with the broader Hoover team of overseers and directors, look forward to increasing the impact of the important work of the Hoover Institution and its scholars.