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Project on Defense Alternatives Joins Center for International Policy


30 January 2013


Jacob LaViolet - 202.232.3317 -
Ethan Rosenkranz - 202.232.7018 -

Project on Defense Alternatives Joins Center for International Policy

“Common Defense Campaign” Seeks to Reset US Defense Policy in 2013

The Project on Defense Alternatives (PDA), a long-time advocate of Pentagon reform, is joining the Center for International Policy as part of CIP’s growing Common Defense Campaign.   “Our aim,” says CIP Executive Director William Goodfellow, “is to establish the country’s strongest, most effective voice for progressive change in US national security policy.” 

In recent years, the Project on Defense Alternatives has been a leader in efforts to roll back Pentagon spending to affordable levels.  In 2010, it helped form the Sustainable Defense Task Force which, under the auspices of US Representatives Barney Frank and Ron Paul, set the mark for substantial reductions in defense spending.   According to PDA co-director Charles Knight, “the goal we share with CIP is a lasting reset of US defense policy and budgeting.” 

Goodfellow sees an historic opportunity for policy reform in 2013, partly due to fiscal concerns and partly to the public’s weariness with interminable wars abroad.  “We know there’s a better path to security,” he says, “and with the addition of PDA we’ll be better able to turn the tide of debate.”  

Cynthia McClintock, board chair of the Center for International Policy, said “the challenge in 2013 is to build a consensus on reducing the Pentagon’s budget while also building a strong institutional foundation for progressive work on security policy.”  

The Center’s Common Defense Campaign already incorporates several of Washington’s most active security policy reform efforts: the Afghanistan Study Group, the Win Without War coalition, and the National Security Project.  In 2011, it also added the Arms & Security Project, formerly a part of the New America Foundation.

Since its founding in 1975, CIP has worked with Congressional offices, advocacy organizations, and citizen groups to rebalance US security policy and put greater emphasis on diplomacy, development, and human rights considerations.  Over the past decade, the Center has focused on winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and making lasting cuts in the military budget.

Although younger, the Project on Defense Alternatives has followed a similar path.  Founded in the late 1980s, it focused initially on de-escalating the East-West conflict.  During the 1990s, it turned its attention to adapting US and allied defense policy to post-Cold War conditions.  Since 9/11, it has focused on defining more effective and affordable means for dealing with terrorism, weapon proliferation, and other transnational problems.

Throughout their histories, both organizations have advocated cooperative approaches to resolving security problems and promoted policy options that might reduce the role of force in international affairs.

While staking out a position that puts it left of center, CIP intends to pursue cooperation with conservatives on a variety of issues.  According to Goodfellow there is a “growing opportunity for an alliance with conservatives who share our skepticism about the war in Afghanistan and believe that the Pentagon budget is rife with waste and unnecessary spending that has nothing to do with national defense.”

“Both Left and Right want an America that is solvent and secure,” says PDA co-director Carl Conetta, “and we can achieve that if we’re willing to reform how we produce military power and rethink how, why, and where we put it to use.”