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 fifty 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 and nonpartisan 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 Chris Tuttle, director of the Independent Task Force Program, at 202.509.8422 or or Veronica Chiu, assistant director, at 202.509.8569 or

Current Independent Task Force Projects

Independent Task Force on North America

Director: Shannon K. O'Neil, Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Program
Chairs: David H. Petraeus, and Robert B. Zoellick, Goldman Sachs & Co.
October 2013—October 2014

The Council on Foreign Relations has convened an Independent Task Force on North America, co-chaired by David H. Petraeus, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and Robert B. Zoellick, former president of the World Bank.

The Task Force will provide a comprehensive analysis of North American integration in areas including trade, security, migration, energy, and infrastructure, and will generate policy recommendations designed to enhance U.S. and regional competitiveness and well-being.

Shannon K. O'Neil, CFR's senior fellow for Latin America Studies, serves as the project's director. The Task Force was launched in October 2013 and concluded its work in October 2014, with the release of its report, North America: Time for a New Focus

Independent Task Force on Noncommunicable Diseases

Director: Thomas J. Bollyky, Senior Fellow for Global Health, Economics, and Development
Chairs: Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., Purdue University, and Thomas E. Donilon, Distinguished Fellow
February 2014—December 2014

The Council on Foreign Relations has launched an Independent Task Force on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs), co-chaired by Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., former governor of Indiana, and Thomas E. Donilon, former national security adviser.

The Task Force plans to examine the NCD crisis in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and recommend a strategy for the United States and others to adopt to address it. This is the first CFR Task Force devoted to a global health matter, but its inquiry will extend beyond health issues and will also consider the question of U.S. engagement on NCDs in LMICs as a matter of U.S. foreign policy, national security, and promotion of international economic development and trade.

The project is directed by Thomas Bollyky, CFR senior fellow for global health, economics, and development. The Task Force was launched in February and concluded its work in December 2014, with the release of its report, The Emerging Global Health Crisis: Noncommunicable Diseases in Low- and Middle-Income Countriesand an accompanying web interactive