Committee on the Present Danger

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 Harry Truman, 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 radio broadcast on the Mutual Broadcasting System throughout 1951.[4] This iteration of the CPD was disbanded in 1953 when its leaders were offered positions in the Presidential administration of Dwight D. Eisenhower.

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, 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)

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

On 12 December 1950, James Conant, Tracy Voorhees and Vannevar Bush announced the creation of the Committee on the Present Danger.[5] The group was formed in order to support the Truman Administration's remilitarization plans contained within NSC-68.[5] The 'present danger' to which the group's title referred was "the aggressive designs of the Soviet Union", the CPD announced.[5]

Members of the First CPD

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 I. 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.[6] The name of this version of the Committee was "borrow[ed]" from the 1950s version, and was not a direct successor.[6] 141 founding Board Members and a policy statement, 'Common Sense and the Common Danger', were introduced at the CPD's launch.[7]

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

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)

In June 2004, The Hill reported that a third incarnation of CPD was being planned, to address the War on Terrorism.[8] 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.[8]

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.[8] 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]

See also


  1. 1 2 "Mission". Committee on the Present Danger. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
  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.
  3. Christopher I., Xenakis (2002). What happened to the Soviet Union?. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002. ISBN 978-0-275-97527-2.
  4. 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.
  5. 1 2 3 Sanders, Jerry (1983). Peddlers of Crisis: The Committee on the Present Danger and the Politics of Containment. South End Press. p. 54. ISBN 0896081818.
  6. 1 2 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. 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.
  8. 1 2 3 Kirchick, James (June 30, 2004). "Cold warriors return for war on terrorism". The Hill. Archived from the original on 2006-12-19.
  9. Lieberman, Joe and Jon Kyl (July 20, 2004). "The Present Danger". The Washington Post.
  10. "Members". Committee on the Present Danger. Retrieved 2015-07-18.

Further reading

External links

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