Committee on the Present Danger

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SubpageCommittee on the Present Danger/Members

The Committee on the Present Danger denotes a series of hawkish US establishment pressure groups. The original committee founded in 1950, was revived three times, in 1976, 2004 and most recently in March 2019.


Both the first and second incarnations of the Committee sought to use public pressure to influence debates already underway within the Government, concerning the NSC-68 document in 1950, and the Team B exercise in 1976, each of which exaggerated the Soviet threat. The 1976 Committee was the first in which the neoconservatives emerged as a significant force within the hawkish coalition. They would go on to be the dominant strand in the 2004 Committee which attempted to apply a similar logic to the war on terror. The 2019 version is directed against China.

First CPD (1950-1953)

The original CPD was formed in 1950 at the time of the Korean War.[1] The committee worked closely with the Truman administration to promote the policy of "containment militarism" outlined in NSC-68,[2] a National Security Council document primarily authored by Paul Nitze.[3] According to Jerry Wayne Sanders, containment militarism replaced George Kennan's interpretation of the Soviet Union as a primarily political challenge with a view that saw an existential military threat.[4]

Sanders argues that NSC-68 presented a distorted picture of Soviet capabilities:

a fantastic scenario of conventional blitzkrieg was coupled with the knowingly false claim that the U.S.S.R. had already achieved the capability of delivering an atomic blow to the United States. The U.S.S.R. did not embark upon such a long-range bomber program until the mid-1950's and was not a strategic threat to the United States until at least 1957-58 - a situation then seized upon as a "bomber gap," which turned out to be equally apocryphal.[5]

According to Sanders the real target of containment militarism was Western Europe as much as the Soviet Union:

While the military threat was indeed contrived, a real Soviet threat - of a political nature - did exist. It was exaggerated. The reason for this hyperbole was fear that Western European nations would adopt an independent neutralist course which would greatly diminish American imperial power, both economic and political, first in that vital region and then in other parts of the world.[6]

The Committee's co-founders; Harvard President James Conant, former under-secretary of the Army Tracy Vorhees and atomic scientist Vannevar Bush made an initial public statement at the Willard Hotel in Washington on 12 December 1950.[7]

They soon came under attack from isolationist conservatives who noted a significant overlap between membership of the CPD and the pre-World War Two Committee To Defend America By Aiding The Allies.[8]

Nevertheless, by the time, the CPD disbanded in 1953, US military spending had quadrupled. Key members would go on to serve in the Eisenhower administration, and containment militarism would not be seriously challenged until Vietnam.[9]


Executive Committee

Julius Ochs Adler | Raymond B. Allen | Frank Altschul | William Douglas Arant | James Phinney Baxter, III | Laird Bell | Harry A. Bullis | Vannevar Bush | William L. Clayton | Robert Cutler | R. Ammi Cutter | Harold Willis Dodds | Charles Dollard | William J. Donovan | Truman K. Gibson, Jr | Meta Glass | Edward S. Greenbaum | Monte H. Lemann | William L. Marbury | Dr William C. Menninger | Frederick A. Middlebush | John Lord O'Brian | Robert P. Patterson | Howard C. Petersen | Stanley Resor | Theodore W. Schultz | Robert E. Sherwood | Robert G. Sproul | Robert L. Stearns | Henry M. Wriston

Other Members

Dillon Anderson | Barry Bingham | Mrs Dwight Davis | E.L. DeGolyer | Goldthwaite H. Dorr | David Dubinsky | Leonard K. Firestone | Arthur J. Goldberg | Samuel Goldwyn | W.W. Grant | Paul G. Hoffman | Stanley Marcus | James L. Morrill | Edward R. Murrow | Floyd B. Odlum | J. Robert Oppenheimer | Daniel A. Poling | Samuel I. Rosenman | Edgar W. Smith | Edmund A. Walsh | W.W. Waymack | J.D. Zellerbach[10]

Second CPD

The key actor in the reformation of the CPD was Eugene Rostow, who in 1972 had helped form the Coalition for a Democratic Majority (CDM), to back Henry Jackson's presidential campaign. In 1974, the CDM attacked "the myth of detente" arguing that "The goal of detente has not been achieved in any sense of the term Americans can accept. There is no evidence that Soviet objectives have changed."[11] Eventually, 13 of the 18 members of the Foreign Policy Task Force of the CDM, led by Rostow, joined the CPD. Notable among them were Jeane Kirkpatrick, Leon Keyserling, Max Kampelman, Richard Shifter, and John P. Roche.[12]

The decision to re-establish the CPD was taken at an organising lunch at the Washington DC Metropolitan Club on 12 March 1976, chaired by Rostow. Among those present were Richard V. Allen, Henry Fowler, Professor Edmund Gullion, Max Kampelman, Lane Kirkland, Charles Burton Marshall, Paul Nitze, David Packard, James Schlesinger, Charles Tyroler, Charles Walker and Admiral Elmo Zumwalt. Other supporters not present included Sol Chaiken, Ronald Reagan, George Shultz, Dean Rusk, Professor Richard Pipes and Herbert Stein.[13]

CPD II expanded on its predecessor's political base to include "top labor officials, Jewish liberals and neoconservative intellectuals". [14] Neoconservatives were wary of detente in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War because of fears that the two superpowers could come together to pressure Israel.[15]

According to the British strategist Michael Howard the new group was well funded and "consisting largely of pupils and associates of Albert Wohlstetter, who urged the breaking off of arms-control negotiations and massive rearmament." [16]

The CPD was formally launched on 11 November 1976, three days after Jimmy Carter won the presidential election.[17] The initial response to the event was muted, with little press coverage and the participants dismissed as 'cold warriors.[18]

However, on 20 October 1976, details of the parallel national intelligence estimate produced by Team B had been leaked to the Boston Globe.[19]The Team B report claimed that Soviet military spending was continously increeasing, at a time when it was in fact, sharply decreasing.[20] This ultimately provided fodder for the CPD which included Team B members Richard Pipes, Foy Kohler, Paul Nitze and William Van Cleave. By spring 1977, a CPD policy statement What is the Soviet Union up to? by Richard Pipes, received widespread favourable press and television coverage.[21]

In 1980, 32 CPD members joined the Reagan administration, including Reagan himself, William Casey, Richard Allen, Jeane Kirkpatrick, John Lehman and Richard Perle.[22]


Executive Committee

Richard V. Allen | Edmund A. Gullion | Rita E. Hauser | Charles Burton Marshall | Richard E. Pipes | John P. Roche | Dean Rusk | Richard J. Whalen | Elmo R. Zumwalt

Board of Directors

Theodore C. Achilles | Richard V. Allen | John M. Allison | Eugenie Anderson | Eugene Bardach | Frank R. Barnett | Joseph D. Baroody | Jacob D. Beam | Saul Bellow | Karl R. Bendetsen | Joseph W. Bishop, Jr | Adda B. Bozeman | Donald G. Brennan | Vincent J. Browne | Randolph W. Burgess | John M. Cabot | Glenn W. Campbell | William J. Casey | Sol C. Chaikin | Peter B. Clark | Ray S. Cline | Edwin S. Cohen | William E. Colby | John B. Connally | William Connall | John T. Connor | Colgate W. Darden, Jr | Arthur H. Dean | C. Douglas Dillon | S. Harrison Dogole | Peter H. Dominick | Walter Dowling | Evelyn DuBrow | William DuChessi | Valerie Earle | James T. Farrell | David Fellman | Henry H. Fowler | William H. Franklin | Peter H. B. Frelingshuysen | Martin L. Friedman | Robert H. Ginsburgh | Nathan Glazer | Andrew J. Goodpaster | Peter J. Grace | Gordon Gray | Edmund A. Gullion | Barbara Bates Gunderson | Oscar Handlin | John A. Hannah | David B. Harper | Huntington Harris | Rita E. Hauser | Donald C. Hellman | Alfred C. Herrera | Rachelle Horowitz | J.C. Hurewitz | Belton K. Johnson | Chalmers Johnson | Whittle Johnston | David C. Jordan | Max M. Kampelman | Geoffrey Kemp | Leon H. Keyserling | Lane Kirkland | Jeane J. Kirkpatrick | Foy D. Kohler | Peter Krogh | Ernest W. Lefever | Lyman L. Lemnitzer | Hobart Lewis | W.F. Libby | Sarason D. Liebler | James A. Linen | Seymour Martin Lipset | Mary P. Lord | Jay Lovestone | Clare Booth Luce | John H. Lyons | Donald S. MacNaughton | Leonard H. Marks | Charles Burton Marshall | William McChesney Martin, Jr | Edward A. McCabe | Samuel McCracken | George C. McGhee | Robert E. McNair | John Miller | George C. Mitchell | Joshua M. Morse | Steven Muller | Robert S. Mulliken | Bess Myerson | Thomas S. Nichols | Paul H. Nitze | William V. O'Brien | George Olmsted | David Packard | James L. Payne | Robert L. Pfalzgraff, Jr | Midge Decter Podhoretz | Norman Podhoretz | Uri Ra'anan | Estelle R. Ramey Paul Ramsey | Matthew B. Ridgway | John P. Roche | H Chapman Rose | Peter R. Rosenblatt | Eugene V. Rostow | James H. Rowe, Jr | Dean Rusk | Bayard Rustin | Charles E. Saltzman | Richard M. Scaife | Richard Schifter | Paul Seabury | Albert Shanker | Milan B. Skacel | Fred Smith | Lloyd H. Smith | Kenneth Spang | Ralph I. Straus | Horold W. Sweatt | George K. Tanham | Hobart Taylor, Jr | Maxwell D. Taylor | Edward Teller | Arthur Temple | J.C. Turner | Charles Tyroler II | William R. Van Cleave | Charls E. Walker | Martin J. Ward | Robert E. Ward | Paul S. Weaver | Richard J. Whalen | Eugene P. Wigner | Francis O. Wilcox | Bertram D. Wolfe | Elmo R. Zumwalt[23]

Executive committee as of 1989

Paul Nitze | David C. Acheson | Kenneth L. Adelman | Richard V. Allen | Adda B. Bozeman | Valerie A. Earle | William R. Graham | Charles M. Kupperman | Charles Burton Marshall | Richard E. Pipes | John P. Roche | William Schneider, Jr. | Hugh Scott | Lloyd Smith | Herbert Stein | William R. Van Cleave

Third CPD (2004)

In June 2004, The Hill reported that a third incarnation of CPD was being planned, to address the War on Terrorism. The head of the 2004 CPD, lobbyist and former Reagan adviser Peter 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.[24] The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies was closely involved in reviving the Committee.[25][26]

Members of the 2004 CPD include 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 M. Kampelman.[27]At the 20 July launching of the 2004 CPD, Lieberman and Senator Jon Kyl were identified as the honorary co-chairs.[28] 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.[29] Of those involved Kenneth Adelman, Max Kampelman, William Van Cleave, Charles Kupperman and Jeane Kirkpatrick had all been members of CPD II.[30]

Peter Hannaford resigned as director a day after the launch, after journalist Laura Rozen revealed that his former lobbying firm, the Carmen Group had represented Joerg Haider's Austrian Freedom Party.[31]


Board of Directors


Morris Amitay William Brock Charles Kupperman Elie Wiesel
Eliot Cohen Henry Cooper Robert McFarlane Ben Wattenberg
Midge Decter Steve Forbes Edwin Meese Stephen Solarz
Frank Gaffney Jeffrey Gedmin Joshua Muravchik Dov Zakheim
Newt Gingrich Bruce Jackson Laurent Murawiec Nina Shea
Max Kampelman Phyllis Kaminsky Michael Novak Peter Rosenblatt
Jack Kemp Jeane Kirkpatrick Daniel Pipes Norman Podhoretz
Bradford Belzak Ilan Berman Barry Blechman Jerome Hauer
Peter Brookes Jacquelyn Davis Candace de Russey Victor Davis Hanson
Viola Herms Drath Richard Fairbanks John Fonte Jeffrey Gayner
Joseph diGenova Alvin Felsenberg Benjamin Gilman Lawrence Haas
Amoretta Hoeber Michael Horowitz Peter Huessy Kenneth Jensen
John Joyce John Kester Robert Kogod Anne Korin
Robert Lieber Gal Luft Barton Marcois Dana Marshall
Dave McCurdy Brett McGurk Philip Merrill Hedieh Mirahmadi
Khaleel Mohammed John Norton Moore Powell Moore Laurie Mylroie
Chet Nagle Kamal Nawash Mark Palmer Robert Pfaltzgraff
James Phillips Bruce Ramer Samantha Ravich Nina Rosenwald
Edward Rowny Sol Sanders George Sawyer Pedro Sanjuan
Richard Shifter Peter Schweizer John Shenefield Jeffrey Stein
James Strock Ron Silver Max Singer Rob Sobhani
Victoria Toensing Robert Turner Charles Walker John Whitehead
Michael Wildes George Whitman Francisco Wong-Diaz Farid Ghadry
Roland Arnall Mark Benson Walter Berns  

International Members

Jose Maria Aznar, Spain Edmond Aphandery, France Vaclav Havel, Czech Republic Akbar Atri , Iran
Saad al-Din Ibrahim, Egypt Enrique Krauze Helen Szamuely, UK David Pryce-Jones, UK
Gerald Frost, UK Moshe Yaalon, General, Israel Defense Force (former chief of staff)


Website: (URL registered by APCO Online)

Fourth Committee on the Present Danger: China

The fourth CPD was established on March 25, 2019. It wants to end the "policy of engagement" with China, and continue Trump's "broad and coherent strategy of robust, alternative policies". Its guiding prinicples[33] states, with Cold War bombast:

"The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), especially the party-controlled Chinese military, regards the United States as the only real impediment to its aspirations.".

"For decades, the PRC has used an array of asymmetric financial, economic, cyber, information, influence, espionage, political warfare and other techniques (including unconventional ones) to weaken and ultimately defeat America."

"In the face of such threats, America must mobilize all instruments of national power to protect its people, territory, human freedom, vital interests and allies from the Chinese Communist Party."

The CPD mentions a propaganda campaign and creating a network of politicians: The Committee on the Present Danger: China is committed to educating policymakers and the American people about the mortal threat posed by the Communist Chinese Party and recommending and advocating for essential policy course-corrections aimed at defeating PRC aggression and keeping the United States and Free World strong and safe.[34]

Full article: Committee on the Present Danger/Members

Website: [[1]]

External Links

Further Reading


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Sins of Statecraft - The War on Terror Exposedpaper29 July 2006Brian Bogart
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  1. Anne Hessing Cahn, Killing Detente, Pennylvania State University Press, 1998, p28.
  2. Jerry Wayne Sanders, Peddlers of Crisis, South End Press, 1983, p60.
  3. Jerry Wayne Sanders, Peddlers of Crisis, South End Press, pp.9-10.
  4. Jerry Wayne Sanders, Peddlers of Crisis, South End Press, p.29.
  5. Jerry Wayne Sanders, Peddlers of Crisis, South End Press, 1983, p30.
  6. Jerry Wayne Sanders, Peddlers of Crisis, South End Press, 1983, p34.
  7. Jerry Wayne Sanders, Peddlers of Crisis, South End Press, 1983, p54.
  8. Jerry Wayne Sanders, Peddlers of Crisis, South End Press, 1983, p60.
  9. Jerry Wayne Sanders, Peddlers of Crisis, South End Press, 1983, p13.
  10. Jerry W. Sanders, Peddlers of Crisis, South End Press, 1983, p.87.
  11. Anne Hessing Cahn, Killing Detente, Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998, pp.26-27.
  12. Committee on the Present Danger, Right Web profile, accessed 23 March 2009.
  13. Anne Hessing Cahn, Killing Detente, Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998, pp.27-28.
  14. Committee on the Present Danger, Right Web profile, accessed 23 March 2009.
  15. Anne Hessing Cahn, Killing Detente, Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998, pp.30-31.
  16. Michael Howard, Captain Professor The Memoirs of Sir Michael Howard (Continuum International Publishing Group, 2006) pp.192-3
  17. Anne Hessing Cahn, Killing Detente, Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998, p28.
  18. Anne Hessing Cahn, Killing Detente, Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998, p.188.
  19. Anne Hessing Cahn, Killing Detente, Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998, p.121.
  20. Anne Hessing Cahn, Killing Detente, Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998, p.196.
  21. Anne Hessing Cahn, Killing Detente, Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998, p188.
  22. Anne Hessing Cahn, Killing Detente, Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998, p30.
  23. Jerry W. Sanders, Peddlers of Crisis, South End Press, 1983, pp.154-160.
  24. James Kirchick, Cold warriors return for war on terrorism, The Hill, 30 June 2004, via the Internet Archive.
  25. Success Stories], Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, accessed 23 March 2008.
  26. Matthew Yglesias, [ Present Dangers, The American Prospect, 27 July 2004.
  27. James Kirchick, Cold warriors return for war on terrorism, The Hill, 30 June 2004, via the Internet Archive.
  28. Joe Lieberman and Jon Kyl, "The Present Danger," The Washington Post, 20 July 2004.
  29. Members, Committee on the Present Danger, archived by the Internet Archive, 21 July 2004, accessed 23 March 2009.
  30. Jim Lobe, Neocons Revive Cold War Group,, 21 July 2004.
  31. Eli Lake, Director of Present Danger Committee Resigns After a Day on the Job , New York Sun, 22 July 2004, via the Internet Archive.
  32. CPD Our Team, accessed 14 January 2009