In September 2008, the Center received a major grant from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation to help the new Administration confront 50 years of strategic failures. Building on President Eisenhower's "Solarium Exercise," the Center is conducting a comprehensive assessment of the challenges and opportunities facing the nation as well as the resources available. Three influential strategic leaders are guiding the project: 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 Corporation; and Roy Romer, former Governor of Colorado, former Superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District, and Senior Advisor to the President of College Board.
A Steering Committee of eminent public and private sector leaders developed the project's methodology and are providing guidance and insight throughout the effort. Members of this group include: The Honorable C. Fred Bergsten, former Assistant Secretary of Treasury; former Senator Chuck Hagel; former Congressman Lee Hamilton; The Honorable Carla Hills, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Trade Representative; and The Honorable Thomas Pickering, Former Ambassador to the United Nations, Israel, Russia, India, Jordan, Nigeria, and El Salvador.
During all phases of this project the Center is working closely with the President, Vice-President and Congressional leaders to assist the work of the new Administration and to communicate the project's findings to the American people.
SAFI issue teams:
- Budget and Taxes: examined the revenue and spending side of the federal budget, naturally looking for ways to reduce deficits and restore the fiscal health of the government.
- Commission on U.S. Federal Leadership in Health and Medicine: assessed current challenges in the U.S. health system and developed a slate of strategic recommendations for federal leadership and action to help address these challenges in the United States and worldwide in the years ahead.
- Education and Competitiveness: examined the nation's educational system, including how a quality system of national standards can be developed and what role education plays in national competitiveness.
- Energy, Climate Change, and Resource Management: examined options and offered federal policy recommendations on energy production, technology, efficiency, investment and climate policy.
- Finance, Economics, and Trade: examined not only how the government will need to continue to lead the country out of the crisis but also how public policy should be structured to prepare for contingencies not yet seen.
- Infrastructure and Transportation: examined the nation's infrastructure and looked for not only flaws in the current system, but also ways to use infrastructure spending to meet wide-ranging challenges from alternative energy to homeland security.
- Innovations, Comparative Advantage and Synergies (ICAST): identified cross-cutting and exacerbating problems and mis-investments at the federal government level as well as solutions that cut across issues and have multiplier effects.
- National Security: examined an array of issues relevant to national security, including homeland security, intelligence and nuclear proliferation.
- Revitalizing the U.S. Armed Forces: looked at challenges facing the U.S. military after nearly seven years of war in Afghanistan and, for most of that time, Iraq.
- Restoring America's Trust and Influence Abroad: focused on American foreign policy, public diplomacy and "soft power" with an eye toward how the United States can repair its global standing and image.
- Science and Technology: focused on primary science and technology issues facing President Obama and the Congress.
- U.S. Geopolitical Relations: a series of region-specific working groups examined the myriad issues confronting U.S. geopolitical relations and developed recommendations to repair and strengthen relationships around the globe. U.S.-Latin America Relations, U.S.-Europe Relations, U.S. Africa Relations, U.S. -Middle East Relations, U.S.-Asia Relations, U.S.-China Relations
- U.S. Innovation and Growth: Small and Mid-size Business: looked specifically at small and mid-size businesses, which generate many jobs and are responsible for a great deal of U.S. innovation and identified the primary challenges for small and mid-size businesses and ways for the government to best support them.