Letter from the Director: Quarterly Update

Institute for National Strategic Studies
National Defense University
Fort Lesley J. McNair
Washington, D.C. 20319

I am writing to update you on the recent accomplishments and status of the CRRC. I am very pleased to announce that the CRRC received permission from its Senior Leadership Council to add unclassified records that were captured from al-Qaeda and Associated Movements (AQAM) from 2003-2012. The CRRC has held four workshops with senior experts on AQAM about how to prioritize records for addition to the CRRC’s collection, and has begun work to make these records available.
In the past three months, the CRRC has created 37 new records, consisting of 401 pages of documents and 27 hours of audio files, which are now available to researchers at the CRRC. These new records cast light on a variety of issues, including Iranian behavior during the Iran-Iraq War (the only war Iran has fought in modern history), Saddam’s reactions to Israel’s counter-proliferation strikes on Iraq’s nuclear reactor, Saddam’s views and strategies on lifting the economic sanctions, and other issues of importance to researchers and policymakers. The CRRC provides an English translation for every record it adds to its Research Database. Updated indexes of the CRRC’s records are available on the Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda and Associated Movements collection pages.
CRRC records have contributed key information to several recent publications. Of particular note, on 3 December, Oxford University Press published Into the Desert: Reflections on the Gulf War, edited by Jeffrey Engel. Three different chapters, authored by Michael Gordon, New York Times military correspondent; Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland; and Engel, Director of Presidential History Projects at Southern Methodist University, cite CRRC records and CRRC research. In 2011, CRRC staff made captured records and translations available to these authors in support of a Scowcroft Institute conference on the Gulf War. As former President George H.W. Bush has stated, “For those who care about America’s future role in the Middle East, Into the Desert is a must-read.”
The CRRC is currently funded by the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy (OSD(P)). This funding runs out at the end of this fiscal year. OSD(P) and the CRRC are researching creative options to continue the Center’s important work. As you know, the goal of the CRRC is to facilitate research using records captured during combat operations from countries, organizations, and individuals now or once hostile to the United States. The aim is to improve national security through academic analysis provided by members of the international scholarly community. The CRRC helps inform policymaking by making this unique primary source material available to researchers in a wide range of academic disciplines.


Best Wishes,

Lorry M. Fenner, Ph.D.
Director, Conflict Records Research Center
Institute of National Strategic Studies, National Defense University