Letter from the Director: Quarterly Update

CRRC Crest

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

 

I am writing to update you on the CRRC’s recent accomplishments and to inform you of the Center’s complete lack of future funding. The CRRC does not have any funding beyond September 30, 2013. The CRRC has previously received generous funding from the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy (OSD(P)). The Center does not, however, have any funding beyond the end of the current fiscal year. If the CRRC does not receive funding prior to September 30, it will shut down and the National Archives (NARA) will take ownership of all CRRC records. Current CRRC holdings constitute less than one percent of the records that the Center is working to make available. If the CRRC goes out of business, its collections will be frozen in time.

NARA officials have informed CRRC staff that NARA would not release CRRC records for 25 years, with the exception of a trickle of records in response to Freedom of Information Act Requests. NARA has also announced that it would release only the CRRC translations, not copies of the Arabic originals, and would redact most of the names in the translations.

The Senate Armed Services Committee’s markup of the FY14 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) recommends that the CRRC receive $1 million in FY14. It is unclear, however, when the NDAA will become law. If the CRRC fails to receive an appropriation by September 30, the Center will go out of business. In recent years, NDAA legislation has not been signed into law until after September 30. Funding uncertainties have led to operational instability. I regret to inform you that Dr. Lorry M. Fenner, who served skillfully and diligently as the CRRC Director, has left the Center for more stable employment with the MITRE Corporation.

I am pleased, though, to provide you with an overview of recent CRRC accomplishments. In the past quarter, the CRRC has created 39 new records, consisting of 1,419 pages of documents and 14.7 hours of audio files, which are now available to researchers at the CRRC. 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 al-Qaeda and Associated Movements and Saddam Hussein regime collection pages. Indexes of the records added in the past quarter are also available on the CRRC’s website, and are included in this post.

On June 3, the CRRC publicly released 26 records in support of a Woodrow Wilson Center – Stanford University Center for International Security and Cooperation workshop on Deterring New Nuclear Weapon States. On April 19, in conjunction with a panel on Iraq at the International Studies Association, the CRRC released several records on Saddam Hussein’s meeting with U.S. Congressman Bill Richardson. All of these records, with full English translations, are available on the CRRC’s new and improved website – http://crrc.dodlive.mil/.

CRRC records have contributed key information to several recent publications. For instance, on May 13 Dr. Caitlin Talmadge, an Assistant Professor of Political Science at George Washington University, published “The Puzzle of Personalist Performance: Iraqi Battlefield Effectiveness in the Iran-Iraq War” in the journal Security Studies. This article, which finds its basis in CRRC records, provides analysis of a recent U.S. adversary’s military performance.

The CRRC has been active in publishing and in presenting research at leading conferences. In response to a greater than expected demand, the National Defense University Press is publishing a new hard copy edition of 9/11 Ten Years Later: Insights on al-Qaeda’s Past & Future Through Captured Records. The first edition of the book is available electronically online, and a limited number of hard copies should become available on August 9th. Mohammed Baban, a former CRRC intern and paid service provider, translated a fascinating interview with Tariq Aziz, Saddam’s foreign minister, which the CRRC has released via its website. In the past three months, CRRC staff have presented research at conferences sponsored by the International Studies Association, Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, Peace Science Society, Woodrow Wilson Center, and Stanford University. CRRC staff have recently briefed the staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and a wide variety of other U.S. Government organizations.

 

Sincerely,

David D. Palkki
Acting Director, Conflict Records Research Center
Institute of National Strategic Studies, National Defense University
Fort Lesley J. McNair
Washington, D.C. 20319

 

 

 

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