The project was co-directed by Martin S. Indyk, then-director of the Saban Center at Brookings, and Gary Samore, vice president and director of studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and was comprised of fourteen experts from the staffs of the two establishments.
The group divided into small teams, two experts each, to focus on specific policy issues:
Overview and Policy Conclusions
Martin S. Indyk and Richard N. Haass
Shibley Telhami and Steven A. Cook
Daniel L. Byman and Steven Simon
Suzanne Maloney and Ray Takeyh
Kenneth M. Pollack and Stephen Biddle
Political and Economic Development
Tamara Cofman Wittes and Isobel Coleman
Bruce Riedel and Gary Samore
Ariel Kastner of the Saban Center at Brookings and Katie Ivanick of the Council on Foreign Relations facilitated the coordination of the strategy group. Andrew Apostolou of the Saban Center at Brookings edited the policy reports.
Each team traveled to relevant parts of the region for fact-finding purposes and dialogue with regional figures from government, academia, the media, and the private sector. They attempted to reach a consensus view on the specific policy options they present.
There was no attempt to reach consensus across the entire strategy group but other members of the group were expected to provide input and feedback for each of the team reports and papers.
The strategy group circulated trip reports to the Board of Advisors. Drafts of the policy papers were also discussed with the Board of Advisors and were published as a book.
Trip Reports: Each subgroup authored a trip report upon return from travel. The trip report gave an overview of impressions developed on the field trips. Other members of the strategy group provided comments and reactions to be incorporated into the final draft.
Final Report: The final chapters were reviewed by the Board of Advisors before being published in book form.
Briefing Transition Team: Between November 2008 - January 2009, the strategy group briefed members of the incoming administration and presented its recommendations for constructing a new Middle East policy framework to the public.