(FYE December 2014)
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The Lexington Institute is a small public-policy think tank headquartered in Arlington, Virginia that focuses on national security, education reform, energy policy and logistics. It is organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, which means it is a tax-exempt, non-profit foundation that may not lobby. The institute does not receive money from the federal government. Its main sources of funding are corporations, foundations, and individuals.
History and philosophy
The Lexington Institute was founded in 1998 by former Congressman James Courter (R-NJ), former congressional aide Merrick Carey, former Georgetown University professor Loren Thompson, and policy analyst Donald Soifer. As of September 2015 they are respectively the chairman, chief executive officer, chief operating officer and executive vice president of the institute.
The institute's political philosophy, as reflected in its publications, is center-right, emphasizing a strong national defense, education reform, and market-driven solutions to energy and logistic needs. Although the organization's mission statement does not describe it as "conservative" or "libertarian," it tends to oppose big government, tax increases and federal intervention in the daily lives of citizens.
The institute's employees – there are fewer than ten, supplemented by outside experts and interns – are frequently quoted in national media. One survey of think tank visibility rated the institute as number-two in the nation relative to its budget size. Loren Thompson is a longstanding contributor to Forbes.com, and other staffers such as Daniel Goure and Don Soifer are cited regularly in national media.
The Lexington Institute has been called the "defense industry's pay-to-play ad agency", reflecting that it receives funding from military contractors and issues stream of reports, usually favorable, about the performance and status of key weapons programs. However, institute staffers are frequently critical of particular weapons or policies, assailing among other things the Navy's next-generation destroyer, the Army's future troop carrier, a proposed joint replacement for the Humvee light tactical vehicle and most of the acquisition reform measures proposed during the Obama Administration. Media citations frequently note that Lexington staffers have ties to military contractors. Thompson stated, "I'm not going to work on a project unless somebody, somewhere, is willing to pay. This is a business. My bottom line is that if what I write and say is true, it doesn't really matter what my motives are."
Daniel Goure and Thompson are two Lexington defense analysts. Goure was formerly associated with the Center for Strategic and International Studies and holds a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. Thompson was deputy director of Georgetown University's Security Studies Program and taught there for two decades, during which time he received a Ph.D. from the university. Thompson argued in favor of continued C-17 production in 2009 and against this production in 2010. He also taught briefly at Harvard. Thompson has said that the United States is likely to engage in war against Vietnam again and so needs the EFV to storm their beaches. He has also called for a shift in American defense spending towards items such as the Littoral Combat Ship and the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II that can be exported to allies. Thompson has said that "The United States cannot continue to spend, especially on defense, the way it has been over the past decade." Despite being funding by defense contractors, Goure has argued that the use of these contractors is a sign of an army in decline.
In 2015, the institute launched the Lexington Education Leadership Award (LELA) fellowships, the first national fellowship for personalized learning. The inaugural cohort of fellows included ten school district superintendents and assistant superintendents from around the country, participating in a six-month fellowship program. In November 2015, the institute announced 30 semifinalists for the second cohort of fellows.
In February 2014, an article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch by Lexington analysts Doug Mesecar and Don Soifer called for broader implementation of performance-based funding models for public education.
As a result of his writings, Soifer's 2012 reappointment to the board of the District of Columbia Public Charter School Board was delayed, but Soifer was reconfirmed to serve a second four-year term on the board on December 4, 2012, by a 7-2 vote of the DC Council.
As one Education Week writer described their findings, "Constant, real-time data monitoring streamlines the formerly arduous task of analyzing student results, giving teachers more time to plan and individualize lessons to accelerate and enhance learning."
The Institute also covers purely political topics. For example, Thompson wrote that most of the candidates in the Republican Party (United States) presidential primaries, 2012 are "unsuited to high office".
Lexington operates the policy website, EnergyTrends.org, that focuses on energy use and renewable energy in the United States.
- Jim Courter, Chairman
- Merrick Carey, CEO
- Loren B. Thompson, Chief Operating Officer
- Don Soifer, Executive Vice President
- Dan Goure, Vice President
- Dr. Rebecca Grant, was formally a senior fellow
- "Charity Rating". Charity Navigator.
- "Lexington Institute". Lexington Institute. Retrieved 2015-09-04.
- 26 U.S. Code Section 501.
- "Lexington Institute". Lexington Institute. Retrieved 2015-09-30.
- "Lexington Institute". Retrieved 2015-09-30.
- "Cost Effectiveness of the Most Widely Cited Think Tanks" (PDF). Center for Economic and Policy Research. Retrieved 2015-09-30.
- Mad men: Introducing the defense industry's pay-to-play ad agency
- C-17 debate: Loren Thompson vs Loren Thompson
- Beach-storming drill returns Marines to roots
- The U.S. can't afford unilateral military moves abroad
- Spires, Shelby G. "Expert: Federal spending freeze beats alternative." The Sun, 7 February 2011.
- Goure, Daniel. "The Sun Has Finally Set On The British Army And We Are Next." Lexington Institute, 6 July 2012.
- "Lexington Institute". Lexington Institute. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
- "Supreme Court of the United States", 25 June 2009 (Page 24, Note 10)
- Cook, Alta M. "Students need foundation in basics." The Gazette, 2 October 2011.
- "HOLLAND & SOIFER: Multiculturalism fosters isolated communities."
- "Council puts hold on charter school board member's reappointment over articles on multiculturalism."
- "Legislative Roundup" www.DCist.com, 05 December 2012.
- Sean Kennedy & Don Soifer "Why Blended Learning Can't Stand Still." www.lexingtoninstitue.org 05 April 2013.
- Rob Bock "Success of Blended Learning Depends on Innovation, Study Says." www.educationweek.org, 17 April 2013.
- Soifer, Don "Soifer: Time For a School Takeover Plan." www.lexingtoninstitute.org, 04 April 2013.
- Thompson, Loren B. "If Republicans Don't Pick Romney, Obama Will Win Reelection In A Landslide." www.lexingtoninstitute.org, 10 November 2011.
- "Lexington Institute". Lexington Institute. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
- Thompson, Loren B. "Ensuring The Resilience Of The U.S. Electrical Grid." Lexington Institute, 22 January 2013.
- Lexington Institute
- Organizational Profile – National Center for Charitable Statistics (Urban Institute)