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. Throughout its four iterations—in the 1950s, the 1970s, the 2000s (decade), and 2019, it has tried to influence all the presidential administrations since Harry Truman.[1]


The focus of the committee 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 radio broadcast on the Mutual Broadcasting System throughout 1951.[2] 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.


First CPD (1950s)[edit]

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

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.[4] The name of this version of the Committee was "borrow[ed]" from the 1950s version, and was not a direct successor.[4] 141 founding Board Members and a policy statement, 'Common Sense and the Common Danger', were introduced at the CPD's launch.[5]

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.

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.[6] This incarnation of the committee was still active as of 2008. Its stated goal was "to stiffen American resolve to confront the challenge presented by terrorism and the ideologies that drive it"[7] through "education and advocacy".[8] 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.[6]

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.[6] At the July 20, 2004 launching of the 2004 CPD, Lieberman and Senator Jon Kyl were identified as the honorary co-chairs.[9] 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.[10]

Fourth CPD (2019)[edit]

The fourth CPD was established on March 25, 2019. The name of the fourth committee is "Committee on the Present Danger: China." The revived committee aims to help defend America through public education and advocacy against the full array of conventional and non-conventional dangers posed by the ruling Communist Party of China of the People's Republic of China.[11][12]

Members of the Fourth CPD[13][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
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
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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Christopher I., Xenakis (2002). What happened to the Soviet Union?. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002. ISBN 978-0-275-97527-2.
  2. ^ Sanders, Jerry (1983). Peddlers of Crisis: The Committee on the Present Danger and the Politics of Containment. South End Press. pp. 92–93. ISBN 0896081818.
  3. ^ a b c 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. ^ a b 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.
  5. ^ Tyroler, II, Charles, ed. (1984). Alerting America: The Papers of the Committee on the Present Danger. Pergamon Brassey's. p. 3. ISBN 0-08-031925-4.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ "Mission". Committee on the Present Danger. Archived from the original on 2007-10-09. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
  8. ^ "CPD Today". Committee on the Present Danger. Archived from the original on 2007-10-21. 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.
  9. ^ Lieberman, Joe and Jon Kyl (July 20, 2004). "The Present Danger". The Washington Post.
  10. ^ "Members". Committee on the Present Danger. Archived from the original on 2015-08-13. Retrieved 2015-07-18.
  11. ^ Gertz, Bill (2019-03-26). "National Security Group Reestablished With Focus on China Threat". Washington Free Beacon. Retrieved 2019-03-29.
  12. ^ Swanson, Ana (2019-07-20). "A New Red Scare Is Reshaping Washington". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-07-21.
  13. ^ "Members". Retrieved 2019-03-29.

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.
  • Sanders, Jerry (1983). Peddlers of Crisis: The Committee on the Present Danger and the Politics of Containment. South End Press. ISBN 0-89608-181-8.
  • Singh, Robert. "Neoconservatism in the age of Obama." in Inderjeet Parmar, ed., Obama and the World (Routledge, 2014). 51-62. online
  • Tyroler, II, Charles (1984). Alerting America: The Papers of the Committee on the Present Danger. Permagon Brassey's. ISBN 0-08-031925-4.
  • 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]