Today, federally protected land has grown to account for 640 million acres–or about 14% of the landmass of the entire country. And the love Americans have for public lands has grown with it. 

A 2019 YouGov poll found that “90% of Americans considered the conservation and preservation of U.S. National Parks” very or somewhat important. This same poll found that 56% of Americans believed there should be even more protected land in the United States. Recreational visits are also at an all-time high; in 2018, there were over 318 million recreational visits to National Park Service (NPS) sites, the third-highest year behind 2016 and 2017.

Yet America’s growing love for public lands isn’t reflected in how we treat them.

Federal agencies that manage public lands are underfunded, companies extract valuable resources from public lands without fairly compensating American taxpayers, rampant wildfires pose a growing threat to our communities, and changes to long-standing legislation environmental policies could mean insufficient protection of public lands.

Safeguarding America’s public lands is not, and should not be, a partisan issue. The New Center believes that if policymakers want to ensure public lands and the resources they hold are protected for generations to come, they can align behind the following solutions:

Click here to read the full “Protecting America’s Public Lands” paper.

Economic sanctions have become a primary tool of national security and foreign policy for the Donald Trump administration, and are being used to a much greater extent than during the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

What has sanctions policy looked like in 2019, what is the purpose of sanctions, and are they achieving their intended goals?

Read “Economic Sanctions: Data and Trends in 2019” for further insight:

Hon. Cindy Hyde-Smith, Chairman

Hon. Chris Murphy, Ranking Member

U.S. Senate, Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch

Room S-128, The Capitol

Washington, DC 20510

Re: Strengthening Legislative Branch Capacity on Science and Technology

Dear Chairman Hyde-Smith, Ranking Member Murphy, and Members of the Committee:

On behalf of the undersigned organizations and individuals, we write to express our concern that Congress does not have sufficient capacity to tackle 21st century science and technology policy challenges. Accordingly, we urge you to prioritize efforts to augment this institutional capacity, including providing funding for the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), as part of the fiscal year 2020 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill.

The Senate has played a leading institutional role in promoting science and technology capacity in Congress. We note with favor the recently created Science, Technology Assessment and Analytics (STAA) team inside the Government Accountability Office, and its expanding capabilities to serve Members of Congress with expert advice and analysis.[1] We also look forward to the forthcoming report from the National Academy of Public Administration later this year.

But OTA and STAA have different comparative advantages: the former in foresight and emerging technologies, and the latter in oversight and evaluating federal government programs and expenditures. Congress must have both these capabilities to meet the ever-increasing demands on its oversight and legislative responsibilities.

We thank you for the opportunity to express our support for the reestablishment of the Office of Technology Assessment and welcome the opportunity to discuss this further. Please contact: Zach Graves, Head of Policy at Lincoln Network, at zach.graves@joinlincoln.org or 202-733-8976; and Daniel Schuman, Policy Director at Demand Progress, at daniel@demandprogress.org or 240-237-3930.

Sincerely,

ORGANIZATIONS

Lincoln Network

FreedomWorks

TechFreedom

R Street Institute

American Principles Project

Stand Up Republic

Log Cabin Republicans

Federation of American Scientists

Union of Concerned Scientists

Code for America

Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

American Library Association

CompTIA

Medium

DuckDuckGo

Mozilla

Consumer Reports

Engine

Tech:NYC

Demand Progress

American Civil Liberties Union

Center for Democracy & Technology

Center for Humane Technology

Open Markets Institute

Public Knowledge

X-Lab

Issue One

Sunlight Foundation

Project On Government Oversight

Campaign for Accountability

Government Accountability Project

Joseph Rainey Center for Public Policy

Copia Institute

The New Center

Future of Life Institute

Defending Rights & Dissent

Government Information Watch

Latino Tech Policy Initiative

Senior Executives Association

Longpath

INDIVIDUALS*

Vint Cerf, Internet Pioneer

Craig Newmark, Founder of Craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies

Douglas W. Elmendorf, Dean and Don K. Price Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Adam Keiper, Co-Founder and Senior Editor, The New Atlantis

Tim O’Reilly, Founder and CEO, O’Reilly Media

Allison Berke, Executive Director, Stanford Cyber Initiative

Jerry Taylor, President, Niskanen Center

Alan Davidson, VP of Global Policy, Trust, and Security at Mozilla Corporation

Mike Godwin, Board of Trustees, The Internet Society

Bruce Schneier, Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Jon Peha, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University

Daniel Sarewitz, Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes, Arizona State University

Robert Cook-Deegan, Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes, Arizona State University

Robert Friedman, VP for Policy, J. Craig Venter Institute

Daniel J. Chenok, Executive Director, IBM Center for The Business of Government

Ryan Calo, Co-Director, Tech Policy Lab, University of Washington

Robert Seamans, Professor, NYU Stern School of Business

William A. Galston, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution

Jason Schultz, NYU School of Law

Eric Goldman, Professor, Santa Clara University School of Law

David Eaves, Digital HKS, Harvard Kennedy School

Joan D. Winston, former CRS, OTA, and GAO analyst

Matthew Might, Director and Professor, Hugh Kaul Precision Medicine Institute, University of Alabama at Birmingham

John Leary, CEO, DotGov.com

Gladys B. White, Ph.D. Georgetown University, School for Continuing Studies

Gigi Sohn, Distinguished Fellow, Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy

Rodney Sobin, Senior Program Director, National Association of State Energy Officials

Benedicte Callan, Clinical Professor, Arizona State University

DJ Patil, Former U.S. Chief Data Scientist

Sean Tunis, Principal, Rubix Health

Nick Sinai, Adjunct Faculty, Harvard Kennedy School

Austin Brown, Executive Director, UC Davis Policy Institute for Energy, Environment, and the Economy

Jillian Grennan, Assistant Professor, Duke University, Fuqua School of Business

Richard Forno, Senior Lecturer, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Lorelei Kelly, Fellow, Resilient Democracy Lead, Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University

Kathy Hill, Director Center of Advanced Governmental Studies, Johns Hopkins University

Christopher T. Hill, Prof. Emeritus of Public Policy and Technology, George Mason University

Annemarie Bridy, Allan G. Shepard Professor of Law, University of Idaho

Renee DiResta, Mozilla Fellow

Colleen Chien, Visiting Professor, Columbia Law School; Professor, Santa Clara Law School

Rebecca Williams, DC Legal Hackers

Alexander Howard, Founder, e-PluribusUnum.org

Ryan Khurana, Executive Director, Institute for Advancing Prosperity

Andy Lee Roth, Associate Director, Project Censored

Steve Plotkin, Argonne Associate, Argonne National Laboratory

Henry Kelly, University of Michigan

Grant Tudor, Harvard University

Justin Warner, Harvard University

Ross Dakin, New Jersey Office of Innovation

Adam Bly, Former VP Data at Spotify

Caroline S. Wagner, Wolf Chair in International Affairs, Ohio State University

Michael Stebbins, President, Science Advisors, LLC

*Affiliation listed for identification purposes only.

[1] “GAO Science, Technology Assessment, and Analytics Team: Initial Plan and Considerations Moving Forward,” GAO, April 10, 2019. https://www.gao.gov/pdfs/about/GAOScienceTechPlan-2019-04-10.pdf.

On Thursday, April 25th, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin held their first joint summit in Vladivostok, Russia.

During a news conference following the summit, Putin stated that he and Kim had “a conversation on all items on our agenda and discussed them in various aspects, including bilateral relations, sanctions, United Nations, relations with the United States and, of course, the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.”

Toward that end Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov hinted at a restart of the “six party talks,”  noting that “there are no other efficient international mechanisms at the moment.”

What are the six party talks?

The six party talks were a series of meetings held between the United States, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, China, and Russia between 2003 and 2009, the purpose of which was to address security concerns relating to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

The talks were held in six rounds but suspended when North Korea launched the Kwangmyŏngsŏng-2 rocket, believed to be a test for future ICBM launches.

The six party talks failed to yield any long-lasting results. This was in part due to the unpredictable nature of the North Korean regime coupled with a lack of a unified front from the other five parties, with the United States and Japan typically pushing for a more aggressive approach against North Korea than did China, Russia, and South Korea.

Despite continuity during the six party talks, U.S. policy in Korea has ebbed and flowed from administration to administration.

Bill Clinton emphasized diplomacy and conciliation while George W. Bush took a hard-line approach and categorized North Korea as part of the “axis of evil.” Barack Obama counseled “strategic patience,” which featured minimal dialogue or interaction with the North Korean regime.

None of these approaches yielded long-lasting results.

President Trump has alternated between postures of maximum pressure and engagement. Months after threatening the North Koreans with “fire and fury the like the world has never seen,” he managed to bring the North Korean leadership to the table for the 2018 Singapore Summit, after which a joint document was signed stating “new U.S.-DPRK relations will contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and of the world, and … mutual confidence building can promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

The second summit held from February 27-28 in Hanoi was not as successful. It was cut short because the North Korean leadership requested an end to all sanctions, a deal President Trump was unwilling to make.

The fallout from the Hanoi summit has left U.S.-North Korean relations at a standstill, with neither party willing to make concessions, and the North Korean regime looking to exploit tense relations by meeting with President Putin.

What does this mean for the United States?

Many in the U.S. foreign policy community worry about the implications of a budding Kim-Putin relationship. For Kim, this summit could be a way to show the United States and the broader international community that he is not, in fact, isolated, and that allies exist who will support his country. Putin could be using the summit to position Russia as a global peacemaker.

But Russia can’t offer North Korea much in the way of safety guarantees. And this could all simply be Kim’s drawn-out attempt to play international actors off against each other, in the hopes that the United States will eventually either renew talks or make concessions on North Korea’s nuclear capabilities.

The underlying motives are unclear. But it does appear as if North Korea will continue to frustrate the Trump administration, just as it has its predecessors.

Aleksandra Srdanovic is a policy analyst for The New Center, which aims to establish the intellectual basis for a viable political center in today’s America.