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 the name used by a succession of American neoconservative[1] 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,[2] achieving notable success during the Reagan administration.

Overview[edit]

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.[3] This iteration was effectively disbanded after 1952, following the appointment of Voorhees and others to senior positions in the administration.[4]

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. This iteration of the CPD provided 33 officials to the Ronald Reagan administration, plus Reagan himself.[5]

History[edit]

First CPD (1950s)[edit]

On 12 December 1950, James Conant, Tracy Voorhees and Vannevar Bush announced the creation of the committee on the Present Danger.[3] The group was formed in order to support the Truman Administration's remilitarization plans contained within NSC 68.[3] The 'present danger' to which the group's title referred was "the aggressive designs of the Soviet Union", the CPD announced.[3]

Members of the First CPD[edit]

Name Name
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)[edit]

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.[6]

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

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[edit]

Name Name Name Name
Achilles, Theodore C. Farrell, James T. Lewis, Hobart Ridgway, Matthew B.
Allen, Richard V. Fellman, David Libby, W. F. Roche, John P.
Allison, John M. Fowler, Henry H. Liebler, Sarason D. Rose, H. Chapman
Anderson, Eugenie Franklin, William H. Linen, James A. Rosenblatt, Peter R.
Bardach, Eugene Frelinghuysen, Peter H. B. Lipset, Seymour Martin Rostow, Eugene V.
Barnett, Frank R. Friedman, Martin L. Lord, Mary P. Rowe, James H., Jr.
Baroody, Joseph D. Ginsburgh, Robert N. Lovestone, Jay Rusk, Dean
Beam, Jacob D. Glazer, Nathan Luce, Clare Boothe Rustin, Bayard
Bellow, Saul Goodpaster, Andrew J. Lyons, John H. Saltzman, Charles E.
Bendetsen, Karl R. Grace, J. Peter MacNaughton, Donald S. Scaife, Richard M.
Bishop, Joseph W., JR. Gray, Gordon Marks, Leonard H. Schifter, Richard
Bozeman, Adda B. Gullion, Edmund A. Marshall, Charles Burton Seabury, Paul
Brennan, Donald G. Gunderson, Barbara Bates Martin, William McChesney, Jr. Shanker, Albert
Browne, Vincent J. Handlin, Oscar McCabe, Edward A. Skacel, Milan B.
Burgess, W. Randolph Hannah, John A. McCraken, Samuel Smith, Fred
Cabot, John M. Harper, David B. McGhee, George C. Smith, Lloyd H.
Campbell, W. Glenn Harris, Huntington McNair, Robert E. Spang, Kenneth
Casey, William J, Hauser, Rita E. Miller, John Straus, Ralph I.
Chaikin, Sol C. Hellmann, Donald C. Mitchell, George C. Sweatt, Harold W.
Clark, Peter B. Herrera, Alfred C. Morse, Joshua M. Tanham, George K.
Cline, Ray S. Horowitz, Rachelle Muller, Steven Taylor, Hobart, Jr.
Cohen, Edwin S. Hurewitz, J. C. Mulliken, Robert S. Taylor, Maxwell D.
Colby, William E. Johnson, Belton K. Myerson, Bess Teller, Edward
Connally, John B. Johnson, Chalmers Nichols, Thomas S. Temple, Arthur
Connell, William Johnston, Whittle Nitze, Paul H. Turner, J. C.
Connor, John T. Jordan, David C. O'Brien, William V. Tyroler, Charles, II.
Darden, Colgate W. JR. Kampelman, Max M. Olmsted, George Van Cleave, William R.
Dean, Arthur H. Kemp, Geoffrey Packard, David Walker, Charls E.
Dillon, C. Douglas Keyserling, Leon H. Payne, James L. Ward, Martin J.
Dogole, S. Harrison Kirkland, Lane Pfaltzgraff, Robert L., Jr. Ward, Robert E.
Dominick, Peter H. Kirkpatrick, Jeanne J. Podhoretz, Midge Dector Weaver, Paul S.
Dowling, Walter Kohler Foy D. Podhoretz, Norman Whalen, Richard J.
DuBrow, Evelyn Krogh, Peter Ra'anan, Uri Wigner, Eugene P.
DuChessi, William Lefever, Ernest W. Ramey, Estelle R. Wilcox, Francis O.
Earle, Valerie Lemnitzer, Lyman L. Ramsey, Paul Wolfe, Bertram D.
Zumwalt, Elmo R.

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.[7] 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.[7]

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.[7] At the July 20, 2004 launching of the 2004 CPD, Lieberman and Senator Jon Kyl were identified as the honorary co-chairs.[8]

Fourth CPD (2019)[edit]

The fourth CPD was established on March 25, 2019, branding itself "Committee on the Present Danger: China" (CPDC).[9] Members include both China-focused specialists and others without specific experience related to the country, [10] and are predominantly conservative.[11]

Members of the Fourth CPD[edit]

Member Name Title
Kennedy, Brian Chairman;

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
Chang, Gordon
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
Perry, Scott Congressman
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

Criticisms[edit]

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.[9][12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bronner, Stephen Eric (2005). Blood in the sand : imperial fantasies, right-wing ambitions, and the erosion of American democracy. Lexington, Ky.: University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-7168-7. OCLC 65562600.
  2. ^ Christopher I., Xenakis (2002). What happened to the Soviet Union?. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002. ISBN 978-0-275-97527-2.
  3. ^ a b c d Sanders, Jerry (1983). Peddlers of Crisis: The Committee on the Present Danger and the Politics of Containment. South End Press. pp. 54. ISBN 0896081818.
  4. ^ 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. S2CID 155072379.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Lieberman, Joe and Jon Kyl (July 20, 2004). "The Present Danger". The Washington Post.
  9. ^ a b Swanson, Ana (2019-07-20). "A New Red Scare Is Reshaping Washington". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-07-21.
  10. ^ Wu, Wendy (26 March 2019). "Cold War is back: Bannon helps revive U.S. committee to target 'aggressive totalitarian foe' China". POLITICO. Retrieved 12 July 2020.
  11. ^ Rogin, Josh (10 April 2019). "China hawks call on America to fight a new Cold War". Washington Post. Retrieved 12 July 2020.
  12. ^ Skidmore, Davod (23 July 2019). "The US Scare Campaign Against China". The Diplomat. Retrieved 12 July 2020.

Further reading[edit]

  • 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.

External links[edit]