Hoover Institution (Stanford, CA) — A dozen field-leading experts from the Hoover Institution briefed US congressional staff members on a wide variety of relevant topics earlier this month, ranging from China’s aims abroad to the importance of biotechnology and the value of wargaming for decision makers.

Twenty-six legislative staffers from the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the Congressional Research Service joined Hoover fellows April 2–3, 2024, at Stanford University for these topical briefings.

The gathering is part of a semiannual Congressional Research Fellowship program organized by Hoover to equip congressional staffers with the widest and most current perspectives as they contend with a various legislative challenges, both at home and abroad.

On China, attendees heard from Senior Fellow Elizabeth Economy, who spoke about the various ways the People’s Republic of China seeks to undermine US influence in the world and shape the global geopolitical and economic landscape to achieve its economic and geopolitical aims.

Economy said the United States is moving to counter these efforts but not quickly enough. She also reflected on the Sino-Indian relationship. She explained that India has not become the ally and economic partner that Beijing had hoped.

Hoover Fellow Jacquelyn Schneider described how wargaming can be used in policymaking, and the broader work of the Wargaming and Crisis Simulation Initiative, which she founded and directs.

Herb Lin, Hoover fellow in cyber policy and security, described to staffers the newly launched Stanford Emerging Technology Review, which he directs. He also discussed the frontiers of biotechnology, which he believes is of equal significance—if not more—as computing.

Senior Fellow Brandice Canes-Wrone, director of Hoover’s new Center for Revitalizing American Institutions, discussed the center’s upcoming work, including a comparison of the policy views held by the general population and how they compare with the political priorities of the average campaign donor.

Moving to issues abroad, Research Fellow Rose Gottemoeller explained to staffers how NATO allies have modernized and reshaped their focus on energy security since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. She also explained that decreased production capacity delayed US supply of support for Ukraine, resulting in the Ukrainian military’s dependence on it own missile capabilities. Additionally, she stressed that a NATO ground presence in the war would be an extreme escalatory measure.

Senior Fellow Philip Zelikow brought forward his vast government experience to reflect on major policy challenges facing the United States, including the COVID-19 response, America’s role in the Israel-Gaza war, and risks and opportunities posed by frontier technologies, such as artificial intelligence.

Senior Fellow Russell Berman built on earlier speakers’ discussions of conflict zones and added Venezuela and Taiwan to the mix. He answered questions about how US involvement in the Israel-Gaza war is shaping global public opinion of America’s role in other conflicts. He described the risks of a lack of US support in reaching a peaceful solution to the war, including building judicial structures and implementing deradicalization programs for the Palestinians.

On the home front, Distinguished Research Fellow Margaret (Macke) Raymond, spoke to staffers about the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), which she directs, and its latest report on charter school performance. Meanwhile, Senior Fellow Eric Hanushek discussed his research on the economic implications of K–12 student learning losses since the pandemic and the metrics that determine successful teachers.

Senior Fellow John Cochrane discussed a wide range of economic issues, including the relationship between inflation and government spending and debt.

There was discussion of other recent research initiatives from the Hoover Institution, with Senior Fellow Michael Boskin presenting on his new book, Defense Budgeting for a Safer World, and Senior Fellow Larry Diamond and Distinguished Research Fellow Glenn Tiffert speaking about the mission of the China’s Global Sharp Power project. Diamond and Tiffert also talked about Hoover special reports related to the future of Taiwan, including Silicon Triangle: The United States, Taiwan, and Global Semiconductor Security, published last fall, and The Boiling Moat: Urgent Steps to Defend Taiwan, coming in July.

To conclude Hoover distinguished fellow and former defense secretary General Jim Mattis spoke to the group, answering a wide range of attendee questions on national security, personal and professional leadership, and more, imparting wisdom from his forty-plus-year career in the Marines.

Congressional staff members interested in attending the next session, in August 2024, can email hooverdc@stanford.edu.

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