Think tanks occupy an in-between space in Washington — neither government agency nor business nor media outlet — and yet they play in all three spaces. Usually nonprofit, they are a source of policy recommendations and personnel for government, they work frequently with businesses and industry, and they both generate their own content for the media and serve as regular sources for journalists. 

An organization with advocacy goals in Washington or other major hubs like New York, London and Brussels can benefit in both the short term and long term by effectively identifying, working with and even partnering with think tanks to support the convening of high-level conversations with policymakers, fund academic research and cultivate allies.

It’s not a slow-motion train wreck, or death by a thousand cuts, or a self-inflicted calamity. It’s all of that. And unless Sony changes course, it could get a lot worse.

Yes, Sony is the victim of one of the worst hacking attacks ever on a private company. It lost valuable, copyrighted, creative material. Private financial data and the medical records of employees were stolen from the company, given to the media and shared on the Internet. Embarrassing emails written by senior Sony officials dissing major stars and speculating about President Barack Obama’s movie habits showed them to be indiscreet and racially insensitive.

For Sony, it’s been a daily ritual of public humiliation, fueled by corporate panic, financial vulnerability, legal maneuvering and the public’s insatiable appetite for a salacious Hollywood scandal.

In this latest issue of PG TV, PG strategists David Adams and Lauren Maddox are disputing what many have reported as the stagnation that persists in Washington. Here, they discuss some of the many advocacy opportunities and tactics that exist - no matter the climate on Capitol Hill - for organizations pursuing a legislative agenda in Washington. 

As operations in Afghanistan wind down and we begin to consider the consequences of the past decade of war, force ratio for counterinsurgency (COIN) is coming under increased scrutiny. For pedestrians, in short, we're talking about troop levels and the age-old question for policymakers, "How many does it take to get the job done?" The answer has been pondered by the US military, academia and think tanks, with a host of responses.The result is typically 'plug-and-play' equations for minimum force rations in COIN operations, made more complicated by the inability to precisely predict the numbers of insurgent forces. 

Podesta Group international security strategist, Riley Moore, tackles this issue in a recent white paper titled, "Counterinsurgency Force Ratio: Strategic Utility or Nominal Necessity," and published by Routledge of Taylor & Francis. An executive summary is provided by Riley below.

In order to read the entire article, you can download it for purchase here.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

In this latest issue of PG TV, former aide to Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Randall Gerard, and former policy director for Democratic leader Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), AJ Jones, both now PG strategists, sit down to walk through the politics behind the shutdown and the changing dynamic on Capitol Hill that has helped create this mess. 

The government shutdown is nearing the end of its second day, and despite a White House meeting between congressional leaders and President Obama this evening, the situation on Capitol Hill remains volatile with little sign that a deal is imminent. Below are three things for you to consider as part of your shutdown watch.

1. No sign of a deal. Last night’s “mini-CR” strategy advanced by House Republican leaders was the opening salvo in what could be a protracted messaging battle between the White House and congressional Republicans. Look for both sides in this fight to use the tools available to them to try to generate more political pressure on the other. President Obama has the benefit of the White House’s “bully pulpit” to create grassroots support and high-level media opportunities, while House Republicans have the ability to focus pressure on politically vulnerable House Democratic members through the legislative process.

The result will likely continue to be trench warfare, in which both sides remain hardened in their resolve to deny the other a victory on the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

When a prominent African businessman was being unfairly challenged in the media and his reputation was at stake, he turned to the Podesta Group to fight back. Watch as Podesta Group senior PR strategists and former journalists John Anderson and Erin Billings travel to Africa to combat the negative narrative, change perceptions and restore his brand.

In this latest episode of PG TV, Andy Amsler, Director of Digital Media at Podesta Group, makes the case for organizations afraid to dive into the sometimes intimidating waters of online strategy, and discusses best practices to ensure success with a digital advocacy campaign. 

When some of golf's leading organizations needed to reduce a stigma that was resulting in unfair treatment by federal legislators, they turned to the Podesta Group. By forming an industry-wide coalition led by the PGA of America, that represented the true face of golf, and executing savvy digital, public affairs and event strategies to support it, the Podesta Group was able to create a positive narrative that squares with the facts and change the debate. Watch the Podesta Group level the playing field and prove that golf is more than just a game.

In this episode of PG TV, former GOP staff director of the House Judiciary Committee, Sean McLaughlin and former legal fellow for the Democratic Steering Committee and President of the Hispanic Lobbyists Association, Cristina Antelo, both PG strategists, provide the latest news on the debate over immigration reform and weigh in on what to expect up on Capitol Hill in the coming weeks. 

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