Committee on the Present Danger
The Committee on the Present Danger (CPD) is the name used by a succession of American neoconservative and anti-communist foreign policy interest groups. Throughout its four iterations—in the 1950s, the 1970s, the 2000s, and 2019, it has tried to influence all the presidential administrations since Harry Truman, achieving notable success during the Reagan administration.
The committee first met in 1950, founded by Tracy Voorhees, to promote the plans proposed in NSC 68 by Paul Nitze and Dean Acheson. It lobbied the government directly and sought to influence public opinion through a publicity campaign, notably a weekly radio broadcast on the Mutual Broadcasting System throughout 1951. This iteration was effectively disbanded after 1952, following the appointment of Voorhees and others to senior positions in the administration.
It was privately revived in March 1976 to try to influence the presidential candidates and their advisors. After Jimmy Carter won the election, CPD went public again and spent the next four years lobbying, particularly against détente and the SALT II agreement. Its hawkish conclusions influenced the CIA's future reporting on the Soviet threat. This iteration of the CPD provided 33 officials to the Ronald Reagan administration, plus Reagan himself.
First CPD (1950s)
On 12 December 1950, James Conant, Tracy Voorhees and Vannevar Bush announced the creation of the committee on the Present Danger. The group was formed in order to support the Truman Administration's remilitarization plans contained within NSC 68. The 'present danger' to which the group's title referred was "the aggressive designs of the Soviet Union", the CPD announced.
Members of the First CPD
|James B. Conant (Chairman)|
|Tracy S. Voorhees (Vice-Chairman)|
|Julius Ochs Adler||Edward S. Greenbaum|
|Raymond B. Allen||Paul G. Hoffman|
|Frank Altschul||Monte H. Lemann|
|Dillon Anderson||William L. Marbury|
|William Douglas Arant||Stanley Marcus|
|James Phinney Baxter, III||Dr. William C. Menninger|
|Laird Bell||Frederick A. Middlebush|
|Barry Bingham||James L. Morrill|
|Harry A. Bullis||Edward R. Murrow|
|Vannevar Bush||John Lord O'Brian|
|William L. Clayton||Floyd B. Odlum|
|Robert Cutler||J. Robert Oppenheimer|
|R. Ammi Cutter||Robert P. Patterson|
|Mrs. Dwight Davis||Howard C. Petersen|
|E.L. DeGolyer||Daniel A. Poling|
|Harold Willis Dodds||Stanley Resor|
|Charles Dollard||Samuel Rosenman|
|William J Donovan||Theodore W. Schultz|
|Goldthwaite H. Dorr||Robert E. Sherwood|
|David Dubinsky||Edgar W. Smith|
|Leonard K. Firestone||Robert G. Sproul|
|Truman K. Gibson, Jr.||Robert L. Stearns|
|Miss Meta Glass||Edmund A. Walsh, S.J.|
|Arthur J. Goldberg||W.W. Waymack|
|Samuel Goldwyn||Henry M. Wriston|
|W.W. Grant||J.D. Zellerbach|
Second CPD (1970s)
On 11 November 1976, the second iteration was announced. The name of this version of the committee was "borrow[ed]" from the 1950s version, and was not a direct successor.
33 officials of the Reagan administration were CPD members, including Director of Central Intelligence William Casey, National Security Advisor Richard V. Allen, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Jeane Kirkpatrick, Secretary of the Navy John Lehman, Secretary of State George Shultz and Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle. Reagan himself was a member in 1979.
Founding Members of the Second CPD
Third CPD (2004)
In June 2004, The Hill reported that a third incarnation of CPD was being planned, to address the War on Terrorism. This incarnation of the committee was still active as of 2008. The head of the 2004 CPD, PR pro and former Reagan adviser Peter D. Hannaford, explained, "we saw a parallel" between the Soviet threat and the threat from terrorism. The message that CPD will convey through lobbying, media work and conferences is that the war on terror needs to be won, he said.
Members of the 2004 CPD included Vice President for Policy Larry Haas, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, former CIA director R. James Woolsey, Jr., former National Security Advisor to President Reagan, Robert C. McFarlane and Reagan administration official and 1976 Committee founder Max Kampelman. At the July 20, 2004 launching of the 2004 CPD, Lieberman and Senator Jon Kyl were identified as the honorary co-chairs.
Fourth CPD (2019)
The fourth CPD was established on March 25, 2019, branding itself "Committee on the Present Danger: China" (CPDC). Members include both China-focused specialists and others without specific experience related to the country,  and are predominantly conservative.
Members of the Fourth CPD
Former President, Claremont Institute; President of American Strategy Group
|Gaffney, Frank||Vice Chairman;
Executive Chairman, Center for Security Policy; President and CEO, Save the Persecuted Christians
|Bannon, Steve||Former Chief Strategist to President Trump; former Chairman, Breitbart News|
|Bennett, William||Former Secretary of Education; former Drug Czar|
|Blumenthal, Dan||Director of Asian Studies, the American Enterprise Institute|
|Berkowitz, Paul||Former Professional Staff Member, United States House Committee on Armed Services|
|Bosco, Joseph||Fellow at the Institute for Corean-American Studies (ICAS) and Institute for Taiwan-American Studies (ITAS);
Former China Country Desk Officer in the Office of the Secretary of Defens
|Boykin, William G.||Former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; former Commander, Delta Force|
|Cardenas, José||Former Acting Assistant Administrator of US AID; former NSC, State Department official|
|Charles, Robert||Former Assistant Secretary of State; former White House official; naval intelligence officer|
|Cooper, Henry||Former Director, Strategic Defense Initiative; former Ambassador, Defense and Space Talks|
|Corr, Anders||Former civilian staff member for U.S. military intelligence on China; published editor|
|deGraffenreid, Kenneth E.||Former Special Assistant to the President for Intelligence|
|Eftimiades, Nicholas||Former analyst in the CIA, State Department and DIA; Visiting Research Fellow at King's College, London|
|Fanell, James||Former Director of Intelligence and Information Operations, U.S. Pacific Fleet|
|Fisher, Richard||Senior Fellow, International Assessment and Strategy Center|
|Freeman, Kevin||Author; host of Economic War Room with Kevin Freeman|
|Fu, Bob||Pastor; President, China Aid|
|Gibson, Rosemary||Senior Advisor, The Hastings Center; author, China Rx|
|Goldman, David P.||Columnist, Asia Times|
|Gore, Chadwick R.||Former Staff Director, European Subcommittee, House Foreign Affairs Committee;
Fellow, Defense Forum Foundation
|Han, Lianchao||Vice President, Citizen Power Initiatives for China, Visiting Fellow at the Hudson Institute;
One of the founders and vice-president of the Independent Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars
|Helprin, Mark||Best-selling author and essayist; Senior Fellow, Claremont Institute|
|Higgins, Rich||Senior Fellow, Unconstrained Analytics; former Program Manager, Irregular Warfare, Department of Defense|
|Huessy, Peter||President of Geostrategic Analysis|
|Karber, Phillip||President of the Potomac Foundation; former Director, Defense Department's Strategic Concepts Development Center|
|Knezevic, Ratko||Board Member and Chief Strategic Officer, Aiteo Group|
|Kwast, Steven||retired United States Air Force lieutenant general|
|Lin, Sean||survivor of Tiananmen Square massacre, director of Viral Disease Laboratory at Walter Reed|
|Lopez, Clare||Former Clandestine Service Officer, CIA; Vice President, Center for Security Policy|
|Martin, Rod D.||Former Senior Advisor to the founder of PayPal;
Founder and CEO of the Martin Organization
|McCoy, Tidal||Former Acting Secretary of the Air Force|
|Manning, Richard||President, Americans for Limited Government|
|McEwen, Robert||Former Member of Congress from Ohio; Executive Director, Council for National Policy|
|McInerney, Thomas||Former Assistant Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force|
|Mills, John||Former Director, Cybersecurity Policy, Strategy, and International Affairs, Office of the Secretary of Defense|
|Mitchell, Greg||Co-Chairman, International Religious Freedom Roundtable|
|Mosher, Stephen||President of the Population Research Institute|
|Nagle, Chet||Former naval aviator and Defense Department official; former Director, Committee on the Present Danger|
|Peters, Benedict||Businessman, entrepreneur and energy industry pioneer; CEO of Aiteo Group|
|Prentice, Miles||Attorney, entrepreneur|
|Pry, Peter||Former CIA analyst; former Executive Director, Congressional EMP Threat Commission|
|Schneider, Mark||Former Senior Executive Service official, Department of Defense; former Foreign Service Officer|
|Scholte, Suzanne||Seoul Peace Prize Laureate;
President, Defense Forum Foundation; Chair, North Korea Freedom Coalition
|Sellin, Lawrence||Former business executive, medical researcher; combat veteran|
|Stokes, Mark||Executive Director, Project 2049 Institute|
|Thayer, Bradley||Fellow at the Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and St. Antony's College, Oxford; former DOD staff member|
|Timperlake, Ed||Marine aviator, former Assistant Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs|
|Waldron, Arthur||Lauder Professor of International Relations, University of Pennsylvania|
|Waller, Michael||Vice President for Government Relations, Center for Security Policy|
|Wolf, Frank||Former Member of Congress|
|Woolsey, R. James, Jr.||Former Director of CIA; former Under Secretary of the Navy|
|Yang, Jianli||President, Citizen Power Initiatives for China; Former political prisoner of China;
Survivor of Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989
The fourth iteration of CPD, focused on China, has been criticized as promoting a revival of Red scare politics in the United States, and for its ties to conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney and conservative activist Steve Bannon.
- Coalition for a Democratic Majority
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- Institute on Religion and Democracy
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- Sanders, Jerry (1983). Peddlers of Crisis: The Committee on the Present Danger and the Politics of Containment. South End Press. pp. 54. ISBN 0896081818.
- Wells, Samuel F. (1979). "Sounding the Tocsin: NSC 68 and the Soviet Threat". International Security. 4 (2): 116–158. doi:10.2307/2626746. ISSN 0162-2889. JSTOR 2626746.
- Shribman, David; Times, Special To the New York (1981-11-23). "Group Goes from Exile to Influence". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-05-01.
- Kampelman, Max M. (1984). Tyroler, II, Charles (ed.). Alerting America: The Papers of the Committee on the Present Danger. Pergamon Brassey's. pp. xviii. ISBN 0080319254.
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- Swanson, Ana (2019-07-20). "A New Red Scare Is Reshaping Washington". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-07-21.
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- Boies, John, and Nelson A. Pichardo. "The Committee on the Present Danger: a case for the importance of elite social movement organizations to theories of social movements and the state." Berkeley journal of sociology 38 (1993): 57-87
- Singh, Robert. "Neoconservatism in the age of Obama." in Inderjeet Parmar, ed., Obama and the World (Routledge, 2014). 51–62. online
- Vaïsse, Justin (2010). "Chapter 5: Nuclear Alarm: The Committee on the Present Danger". Neoconservatism: The Biography of a Movement. Belknap. ISBN 978-0-674-06070-8.
- Walker, Martin (1995). "Chapters 11 & 12: The Death of Détente and the Change of the Western System; The New Cold War". The Cold War: A History. Macmillan. ISBN 0-8050-3454-4.
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Committee on the Present Danger