509 Olivier Urrutia The role of Think Tanks in the definition and application of defence policies and strategies Due to their level of intellectual independence and to the mix of experts from the public and private sectors, the processes activated by think tanks align them with intelligence organisations.9 If we look at the working methods that are applied within these structures, we see that foresight is a crucial feature of their activity. Formulating forecasts and hypotheses is a complicated – even risky – and expensive activity. Compa-nies, governments and political parties are somewhat limited as far as foresight goes, as they tend to be bound to working in the short-term, with their activities being determined by elections, annual accounts, lack of time, and disapproval or penalties from the side of shareholders or citizens if the forecasts turn out to be wrong. Then we have the long-term – the usual way of working among think tanks. As a general conclusion then, it can be said that while there may indeed exist certain criteria for the identification of a think tank with common objectives and research activities, it is also true that there are different structural forms which have an impact on the method of management and on the declination of the strategy of influence. Type Think tanks can be defined as sui generis organisations due to the fact that there are very few countries where they have their own specific legal category. In the United States, they are regulated by article 501(c) of the Tax Code, together with other orga-nisations that cannot be considered as being think tanks. They can either be classified by their organisational structure or by the activity that they carry out: 1. Generalists who deal with most public policy areas (health, education, citizen-ship, economics, ecology, defence and security, energy, and international rela-tions) II. Universities without students III. Advocacy Groups, that carry out activist activities, similar to lobby groups IV. Experts who focus on one subject and issues related to that subject 9 SENGE, Peter, The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization, N. York etc.. Random House, 2006.
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