Last week, Heritage released the 2018 Index of Economic Freedom.

This product has become a benchmark of Heritage research and is used by nations around the world to gauge the progress they are making.

For over twenty years the Index has delivered thoughtful analysis in a clear, friendly, and straight-forward format. The Index is poised to help readers track over two decades of the advancement in economic freedom, prosperity, and opportunity and promote these ideas in their homes, schools, and communities.

The Index continues to validate the belief that the amount of economic freedom a country has will directly impact their progress–or lack thereof.

View the Index and find out how the U.S. ranks >>

As a result of your membership, Heritage is able to provide a reliable benchmark for economic and market freedom for countries across the world.

What were you most surprised to learn in the Index?

A strong national defense is critical to maintaining a stable, vibrant country…especially with today’s increasing global threats.

You made a lot of progress through Heritage in strengthening our national defense this past year.

These are a few examples of the tremendous work you’ve made possible.

Strength through expert personnel:

Former Heritage Asian studies expert, Lisa Curtis, was appointed to the National Security Council as the senior director for South Asia. Previously she worked in the U.S. government on South Asian issues for 16 years. During that time she worked as a staffer for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a senior advisor to the assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs, an analyst for the CIA, and as a diplomat in the U.S. embassies in Pakistan and India. We are excited for her new role.  Read more about her appointment >>

Ranking our military strength:

Assessing U.S. national interests and America’s ability to defend those interests is one of the foremost responsibilities of the federal government. For that purpose, Heritage released the annual Index of U.S. Military Strength that has become a key resource for policymakers. It contains the latest assessments of global threats, operating environments, and the status of the U.S. military. Read the index >>

Changing Policy:

Heritage’s defense team, unmatched by other think tanks with their real world experience, had many of their recommendations incorporated into the National Defense Authorization Act. Read the recommendations >>

The Pentagon has reportedly formed a team to figure out how the United States can return to a “two-war” posture–something Heritage has been advocating for since the introduction of the Index of U.S. Military Strength in 2015. “This provides America the ability to engage in a major fight with the confidence that we have the wherewithal to deter and fight an opportunistic enemy who might take advantage of our commitment elsewhere,” says Tom Spoehr, director of Heritage’s Center for National Defense. Find out if the U.S. military is strong enough >>

Bringing leaders together:

Heritage hosted the Directors of the DNI, NSA, and FBI to discuss America’s security….specifically, the reauthorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) which provides invaluable information on non-U.S. people oversees. Some estimates say that Section 702 is responsible for more than 25 percent of all current intelligence collected. Watch the event >>

Since the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, Tehran has continued its malign policies in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Iran’s expanding influence in these war-torn countries has been facilitated by the strategic dividends and sanctions relief provided by the nuclear deal. Heritage’s recommendation has been to pull out of the Iran Deal entirely and that was the purpose of this event at Heritage.

Heritage also hosted the Ukrainian President for a private briefing with Heritage leadership and policy experts to discuss relations with Russia.

Testifying before Congress:

General Thomas Spoehr, retired Army lieutenant general and director of Heritage’s Center for National Defense, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on his recommendations for a future National Defense Strategy. Read his rules to get defense strategy right >>

Heritage’s National Security team briefed the House Armed Services Committee and laid out key assessments of our military drawing from Heritage’s 2018 Index of Military Strength. Overall, the 2018 Index concludes that the current U.S. military force is likely capable of meeting the demands of a single major regional conflict while also attending to various presence and engagement activities but that it would be very hard-pressed to do more and certainly would be ill-equipped to handle two nearly simultaneous major regional contingencies.

Preparing for the future:

There is a great need for national security leaders who can think critically about the issues our nation faces today. To train and educate the next generation of these leaders, Heritage partnered with the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security  which focuses on educating and training leaders for the national security and intelligence communities. Read more about this partnership >>

Heritage is also the first and only organization to track and compile all Islamist terror plots and attacks against the U.S. homeland since 9/11 through their homeland security research team. “We have the most robust and respected program in town,” said Carafano. “Much of the credit goes to David Inserra and his consistent work with the House Homeland Security Committee over the years.” Read more about the team and the work they have done >>

Take a moment to re-read the work you’ve made possible.

America is safer today because of your support of Heritage.

Thank you.

What are the top 3 national defense areas President Trump’s Administration should focus on in 2018? Why?

You have made an enormous difference strengthening our economy during 2017.

Heritage experts started working around the clock leading up to the beginning of 2017 to get conservative fiscal policy positioned to be adopted in 2017.

These are a few of their accomplishments.

To start, Paul Winfree, Director of Heritage’s Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, was appointed by President Trump to serve as the Director of Budget Policy and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council. Thus, the person who had been responsible for crafting Heritage’s budget spent the entire year working on the Trump Administration’s budget.

Next, former Heritage economist James Sherk joined Trump’s Administration as his labor adviser. Sherk worked hard to reduce excessive federal spending–so much so that his plans were picked up by the Washington Post.

A small Heritage team also worked closely with the director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney, to ensure that his goal of 3% growth was reached. Mike Needham, Heritage Action’s CEO, Salim Furth, Heritage’s macroeconomics research fellow, and Steve Moore, Heritage’s Institute for Economic Freedom distinguished visiting fellow were all part of this group. As we’ve now seen, the economy has experienced tremendous growth this past year and set many new records.

In addition to this working group, an op-ed in The New York Times by four leading conservatives inspired President Donald Trump’s outline for tax reform, according to The Hill. Steve Moore, distinguished visiting fellow in Heritage’s Institute for Economic Freedom and Opportunity and Steve Forbes, a long-time member of Heritage’s Board of Trustees, were two of the authors.

Throughout the year Heritage experts also worked hard to push tax reform forward. A constant stream of articles, charts, and events kept the conversation alive until we received one of the largest tax cuts in more than 30 years.

At the beginning of 2018 our nation is experiencing one of the strongest economies it has had in years due largely to your support of Heritage.

Thank you for making this possible.

What is the next economic reform you would like to see passed?

President Trump’s administration has brought about many de-regulations this past year that were recommended in Heritage’s Mandate for Leadership policy agenda.

According to Heritage expert Diane Katz:

Federal rulemaking slowed dramatically in 2017, with the Trump administration issuing two-thirds fewer regulations in its first year (1,136) than both Presidents Barack Obama (3,356) and George W. Bush (3,927).

The White House has also committed federal agencies to more than 400 deregulatory actions in 2018.

Here are 10 of the past year’s most consequential actions to rein in the regulatory excesses of previous administrations.

Find out the top 10 ways the Trump Administration beat back excessive regulation in 2017 >>

These are huge steps forward in decreasing the power of federal agencies.

With fewer government regulations the economy will be able to grow stronger and more power will be given back into the hands of congress and the American people instead of unelected, power-hungry agencies.

Thank you for making this possible.

What other areas of the Federal government should be de-regulated more?

Do you have any follow-up questions for Mrs. James after watching the Imagine America event?

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