Independent Task Forces

The Council on Foreign Relations launched the Independent Task Force Program in 1995 with a Task Force on nuclear nonproliferation, chaired by Stephen J. Hadley, who most recently served as the national security adviser in the George W. Bush administration. More than seventy reports later, Task Forces have become a trademark of the Council.

The Council sponsors an Independent Task Force when an issue of current and critical importance to U.S. foreign policy arises, and it seems that a group diverse in backgrounds and perspectives may nonetheless be able to reach a meaningful consensus on a policy through private deliberations. Once formed, Task Forces are independent. Task Force chairs, directors, and members are solely responsible for the content of their reports.

As Task Forces are intended to help shape the public debate on critical foreign policy issues, the Council mobilizes its resources to maximize the impact of Task Force reports, both at the time of the initial release and as developments warrant. In addition to media outreach, the Council supports the efforts of Task Force chairs and members to reach influential practitioners in the executive branch, in Congress, and beyond.

For a complete list of Council-sponsored Independent Task Force reports online, click here.

For more information on Independent Task Forces, please contact Anya Schmemann, director of the Independent Task Force Program, at 202.509.8502 or or Veronica Chiu, assistant director, at 202.509.8569 or

Current Independent Task Force Projects

Independent Task Force on U.S.-India Relations

Chairs: Charles R. Kaye, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Warburg Pincus, and Joseph S. Nye Jr., Distinguished Service Professor, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Director: Alyssa Ayres, Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia
May 2015—November 2015

Today, India has a window of opportunity for significant change. There are two Indias, one that appears poised for global success, and one that continues to struggle with weighty economic, social, and developmental challenges. Both exist at the same time—but against the backdrop of slowing global growth, India has a greater chance to stand out. In light of this potential change and with the 2016 presidential election gearing up in the United States, the Council on Foreign Relations sponsored a bipartisan Task Force—the first to exclusively focus on India—to examine developments in India and weigh those against U.S. foreign policy.

Co-chaired by Charles R. Kaye, co-chief executive officer at Warburg Pincus, and Joseph S. Nye Jr., university distinguished service professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, the Task Force finds that partnership with a rising India offers one of the most substantial opportunities to advance U.S. national interests over the next two decades, and urges U.S. policymakers to adopt a new approach to the U.S.-India bilateral relationship going forward—a “joint venture” for the new century. 

Directed by Alyssa Ayres, CFR senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia, the Task Force was launched in May and concluded its work in November 2015, with the release of its report, Working With a Rising India: A Joint Venture for the New Century