Committee on the Present Danger

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Logo of the Committee on the Present Danger.

The Committee on the Present Danger (CPD) is an American foreign policy interest group. Its current stated single goal is "to stiffen American resolve to confront the challenge presented by terrorism and the ideologies that drive it"[1] through "education and advocacy".[2] Throughout its three iterations—in the 1950s, the 1970s, and the 2000s (decade), it influenced the Presidential administrations of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan,[3] and George W. Bush, and was still active as of 2008.



The focus of the committee, which is non-partisan,[1] is evidenced by its name; to lobby Washington to take what the committee sees as needed action to counter a perceived present danger to the United States and its sphere of influence.

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 television broadcast on NBC throughout 1951.[citation needed] This iteration of the CPD was disbanded in 1953 when its leaders were offered positions in the Presidential administration of Dwight D. Eisenhower.[citation needed]

It was privately revived in March 1976 to try to influence the presidential candidates and their advisors.[citation needed] 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, but, ultimately, proved to have provided a highly inaccurate worst-case scenario. This iteration of the CPD provided 33 officials to the Ronald Reagan administration.


The CPD, according to, was originally "formed in 1950 by top eastern establishment luminaries."[citation needed]

Some of its members lobbied for, and were members of, the 1976 Team B providing an opposing view to the CIA's Team A.

CPD provided 33 officials of the Reagan administration, 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.

Third CPD (2004)[edit]

In June 2004, The Hill reported that a third incarnation of CPD was being planned, to address the War on Terrorism.[4] This incarnation of the committee is 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.[4]

Members of the 2004 CPD include 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.[4] At the July 20, 2004 launching of the 2004 CPD, Lieberman and Senator Jon Kyl were identified as the honorary co-chairs.[5] Other notable members listed on the CPD website include Laurie Mylroie, Norman Podhoretz, Frank Gaffney, Danielle Pletka and other associates of the American Enterprise Institute, Heritage Foundation, American-Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Boeing Company.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Mission". Committee on the Present Danger. Retrieved 2008-09-28. [dead link]
  2. ^ "CPD Today". Committee on the Present Danger. Retrieved 2008-09-28. Our principal activities are educational and advocacy in support of policies and legislation relevant to our Mission. The CPD uses a variety of means to carry out its mission, such as articles in magazines and newspapers, speeches, interviews, commissioned studies, issue conferences and symposia, position papers and pamphlets, news conferences, public opinion polls and Congressional testimony and briefings. [dead link]
  3. ^ Christopher I., Xenakis (2002). What happened to the Soviet Union?. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002. ISBN 978-0-275-97527-2. 
  4. ^ a b c Kirchick, James (June 30, 2004). "Cold warriors return for war on terrorism". The Hill. Archived from the original on 2006-12-19. 
  5. ^ Lieberman, Joe and Jon Kyl (July 20, 2004). "The Present Danger". The Washington Post. 
  6. ^ "Members". Committee on the Present Danger. Retrieved 2008-09-29. [dead link]

Further reading[edit]

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