Project for the New American Century
The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) is a now defunct neoconservative letterhead organization with strong ties to the American Enterprise Institute. It was established in 1997 by several well-known neoconservatives including founders William Kristol and Robert Kagan.
PNAC's policy document, "Rebuilding America's Defences", openly advocated for total global military domination.
Many PNAC members held high-level positions in the George W. Bush administration.
- 1 History
- 2 Purpose
- 3 Iraq and 9/11
- 4 Key positions
- 5 Personnel
- 6 Original 25 signatories
- 7 Funding
- 8 Affiliations with the American Enterprise Institute
- 9 PNAC Documents
- 10 References, Resources and Contact
- 11 External Resources
- 12 Notes
PNAC was founded in 1997 during the Clinton administration by William Kristol and Robert Kagan. PNAC's original 25 signatories were an eclectic mix of academics and conservative politicians, several of whom subsequently found positions in the presidential administration of George W. Bush.
PNAC was set up because the founders felt that there was a lack of coherence in America's foreign policy and that America was not being as dominant as it should be in world politics.
Kristol was the editor and founder of The Weekly Standard, a prominent Neoconservative publication of the day. William Kristol has been affiliated with many publications and neoconservative groups. He has also played a part in the US government in the Office of the Vice President: he was Chief of Staff to Dan Quayle, 1989-1992 and Office of the Secretary of Education: Chief of Staff/Counselor for Education Secretary William Bennett, 1985-1988.
Among other notable founder members of PNAC were Jeb Bush, the Governor of Florida and brother of President George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, the Vice President to George W. Bush, Francis Fukuyama, an author of neoconservative literature, Dan Quayle, vice president to George Bush Senior, Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defence to George W. Bush, and Paul Wolfowitz, who has held many government positions and is the former President of the World Bank.
The main purpose of PNAC was to approach the then administration with views on what should be done within the field of global affairs.
According to PNAC, America needed to:
- Reposition permanently based forces to Southern Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East;
- Modernize U.S. forces, including enhancing our fighter aircraft, submarine and surface fleet capabilities;
- Develop and deploy a global missile defense system, and develop a strategic dominance of space;
- Control the "International Commons" of cyberspace;
- Increase defense spending to a minimum of 3.8 percent of gross domestic product, up from 3 percent.
These points show that PNAC can be seen as an imperial force that wishes to be in the lead of all global politics. The term that would be used for this is full spectrum dominance and this can be found in a US government document called Joint Vision 2020. This document lays out the way forward for America to become the leading force in the world. Full spectrum dominance incorporates land, sea and air, but also space and cyberspace. The policy of full spectrum dominance has not only been endorsed by PNAC but has also been actively encouraged through the use of the Joint Vision 2020 doctrine.
Iraq and 9/11
PNAC is noteworthy for its focus on Iraq, a preoccupation that began before George W. Bush became president and that predates the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. See main article: Project for the New American Century and the Iraq War.
Among the key conclusions of PNAC's defense strategy document (Rebuilding America's Defenses) were the following :
- "Develop and deploy global missile defenses to defend the American homeland and American allies, and to provide a secure basis for U.S. power projection around the world."
- "Control the new 'international commons' of space and 'cyberspace,' and pave the way for the creation of a new military service--U.S. Space Forces--with the mission of space control."
- "Increase defense spending, adding $15 billion to $20 billion to total defense spending annually."
- "Exploit the 'revolution in military affairs' [transformation to high-tech, unmanned weaponry] to insure the long-term superiority of U.S. conventional forces."
- "Need to develop a new family of nuclear weapons designed to address new sets of military requirements" complaining that the U.S. has "virtually ceased development of safer and more effective nuclear weapons."
- "Facing up to the realities of multiple constabulary missions that will require a permanent allocation of U.S. forces."
- "America must defend its homeland" by "reconfiguring its nuclear force" and by missile defense systems that "counteract the effects of the proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction."
- "Need for a larger U.S. security perimeter" and the U.S. "should seek to establish a network of 'deployment bases' or 'forward operating bases' to increase the reach of current and future forces," citing the need to move beyond Western Europe and Northeast Asia to increased permanent military presence in Southeast Asia and "other regions of East Asia." Necessary "to cope with the rise of China to great-power status."
- Redirecting the U.S. Air Force to move "toward a global first-strike force."
- End the Clinton administration's "devotion" to the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty.
- "North Korea, Iran, Iraq, or similar states [should not be allowed] to undermine American leadership, intimidate American allies, or threaten the American homeland itself."
- "Main military missions" necessary to "preserve Pax Americana" and a "unipolar 21st century" are the following: "secure and expand zones of democratic peace, deter rise of new great-power competitor, defend key regions (Europe, East Asia, Middle East), and exploit transformation of war."
According to the PNAC report, "The American peace has proven itself peaceful, stable, and durable. Yet no moment in international politics can be frozen in time: even a global Pax Americana will not preserve itself." To preserve this "American peace" through the 21st century, the PNAC report concludes that the global order "must have a secure foundation on unquestioned U.S. military preeminence." The report struck a prescient note when it observed that "the process of transformation is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event -- like a new Pearl Harbor."
Many of PNAC's conclusions and recommendations are reflected in the White House's National Security Strategy document of September 2002, which reflects the "peace through strength" credo that shapes PNAC strategic thinking.
Original 25 signatories
The original 25 signatories of the PNAC were:
- Elliott Abrams
- Gary Bauer
- William J. Bennett, who served during the Reagan and first Bush administrations as U.S. Secretary of Education and Drug Czar. Upon leaving government office, Bennett became a "distinguished fellow" at the conservative Heritage Foundation, co-founded Empower America, and established himself as a self-proclaimed expert on morality with his authorship of The Book of Virtues: A Treasury of Great Moral Stories (Simon & Schuster, 1993)
- Jeb Bush, the son of former President George H. W. Bush and brother of President George W. Bush. At the time of PNAC's founding, Jeb Bush was a candidate for the Florida governor's seat, a position which he currently holds.
- Dick Cheney, the former White House Chief of Staff to Gerald R. Ford, six-term Congressman, and Secretary of Defense to the first President Bush, was serving as president of the oil-services giant Halliburton Company at the time of PNAC's founding. He subsequently became U.S. vice president under George W. Bush.
- Eliot A. Cohen
- Paula Dobriansky
- Steve Forbes, publisher, billionaire, and Republican presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000. Forbes has also campaigned actively on behalf of the "flat tax," which would reduce the federal tax burden for wealthy individuals like himself.
- Aaron Friedberg, professor of politics and international affairs; Director, Center of International Studies; Director, Research Program in International Security, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University.
- Francis Fukuyama, author of The End of History and the Last Man; Dean of the Faculty and Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University. Appointed to the President's Council on Bioethics by George W. Bush, January 2002.
- Frank Gaffney
- Fred C. Ikle, "distinguished scholar" at the Center for Strategic and International Studies
- Donald Kagan, professor of history and classics at Yale University and the author of books including While America Sleeps: Self-Delusion, Military Weakness, and the Threat to Peace Today; A Twilight Struggle: American Power and Nicaragua, 1977-1990; and The Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace. Kagan is also a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a contributing editor at the Weekly Standard and a Washington Post columnist, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Alexander Hamilton fellow in American diplomatic history at American University. Past experience includes: Deputy for Policy in the State Department's Bureau of Inter-American Affairs (1985-1988); State Department's Policy Planning Staff member (1984-1985); speechwriter to Secretary of State George P. Shultz (1984-1985); foreign policy advisor to Congressman Jack Kemp (1983); Special Assistant to the Deputy Director of the United States Information Agency (1983); Assistant Editor at the Public Interest (1981).
- Zalmay Khalilzad, an Afghan-American who was the only Muslim among the group's original signatories and the only signatory who was not a native-born U.S. citizen. Khalilzad has became the Bush administration's special envoy to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban as well as is special envoy to the Iraqi opposition to Saddam Hussein. Khalilzad has written about information warfare, and in 1996 (in pre-Taliban days), he served as a consultant to the oil company Unocal Corporation (UNOCAL) regarding a "risk analysis" for its proposed pipeline project through Afghanistan and Pakistan.
- William Kristol
- I. Lewis Scooter Libby
- Norman Podhoretz
- J. Danforth Quayle, former vice president under President George Herbert Walker Bush and a presidential candidate himself in 1996.
- Peter W. Rodman, who served in the State Department and the National Security Council under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush, became the current Bush administration's Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security affairs in 2001.
- Stephen P. Rosen, Beton Michael Kaneb Professor of National Security and Military Affairs at Harvard University.
- Henry S. Rowen was president of the RAND Corporation from 1967-1972. He served under former presidents Reagan and Bush as chairman of the National Intelligence Council (1981-83) and Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (1989-91). He currently holds the title of "senior fellow" at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace
- Donald H. Rumsfeld
- Vin Weber, a former Republican congressman from Minnesota, is now a well-connected lobbyist who has represented such firms as AT&T, Lockheed Martin and Microsoft. Weber is also vice chairman of Empower America and a former fellow of the Progress and Freedom Foundation.
- George Weigel, a Roman Catholic religious and political commentator, is a "senior fellow" at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
- Paul Dundes Wolfowitz
Original 25 signatories given positions in Bush Administration
Of the 25 original signatories of PNAC, 14 members were given positions in the Bush Administration.
- Elliott Abrams - Appointed to National Security Council. He was first appointed as Chief Human Rights Officer then as Senior Director of North East and North African Affairs. In 2005, he became Bush's Deputy Assisstant and the deputy national security adviser for global democracy strategy. 
- Dick Cheney – Vice President of the United States. He is also a former fellow of the AEI.
- Eliot Cohen – Member of Defense Policy Board. Counselor to Condoleezza Rice. In an article from 2005, Cohen continues to defend the decision to go to war in Iraq, however he criticises America’s ability to carry out the invasion successfully..
- Paula Dobriansky – Undersecretary of State for Democracy and Global affairs. Dobriansky was also a signatory of the letter to President Clinton urging him to take action in Iraq in 1998 .
- Aaron Friedberg- Vice President Cheney’s Deputy National Security Advisor .
- Francis Fukuyama- Former Member of Bush’s Council on Bioethics. Although a PNAC signatory who had campaigned for the invasion of Iraq, Fukuyama changed his opinion after it became clear that the invasion was turning into ‘an increasingly bloody counterinsurgency conflict’, noting the need for changes in American foreign policy. .
- Fred Iklé - Member of Defense Policy Board. Iklé also served on the AEI's advisory council on foreign policy. He is also a member of the board of governers for the Smith Richardson Foundation- a foundation which funds the AEI. .
- Zalmay Khalilzad – National Security Council (2001-2003) | Special Presidential Envoy to the Free Iraqis (2002-2003) | Special Presidential Envoy to Afghanistan (2002-June 2005) | Ambassador to Afghanistan (2002-2005) | Ambassador to Iraq (2003-2005) | United Nations: US Nominated January 2007.
- I.Lewis Libby - Former Chief of Staff to Vice President Cheney (2001-2005). Libby was "instrumental in shaping the foreign policy of the Bush administration in the wake of 9/11". .
- Dan Quayle - Defense Board Member.
- Peter Rodman - Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (2001-2007). Rodman was deputy assistant for national security affairs for both Reagan and George Bush senior. He was also a signatory of early PNAC letters urging President Clinton to take action in Iraq..
- Henry Rowen – Member of Defense Policy Board .
- Donald Rumsfeld – Former Secretary of Defense. Rumsfeld was "one of the key architects and promoters of the war in Iraq", and is known for his misleading stories about Iraq before the invasion. .
- Paul Wolfowitz – Deputy Secretary of Defense Department (2001-2005). Chair of International Security Advisory Board .
Other PNAC members (Updated 23 November 2005)
- John R. Bolton, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security in the Bush administration.
- Ellen Bork, Deputy Director .
- Thomas Donnelly, Senior Fellow.
- Reuel Marc Gerecht, Senior Fellow, Director of the Middle East Initiative 
- Mark Gerson, Project Director .
- Michael Goldfarb, Research Associate .
- Bruce P. Jackson, President of the Project on Transitional Democracies
- Robert Kagan, PNAC Co-founder and Project Director.
- Timothy Lehmann, Assistant Director .
- Daniel McKivergan, Deputy Director .
- Christopher Maletz, Assistant Director.
- Richard N. Perle
- Gary Schmitt, Executive Director.
- Randy Scheunemann, Project Director 
Non-overlapping signatories to a 28 January 2005 letter to Congress
Source: Letter to Congress on Increasing U.S. Ground Forces, PNAC, January 28, 2005.
- Peter Beinart
- Jeffrey Bergner
- Daniel Blumenthal
- Max Boot
- Ivo H. Daalder
- Michele Flournoy
- Buster C. Glosson
- Frederick Kagan
- Craig Kennedy
- Paul Kennedy
- Robert Killebrew
- Will Marshall
- Clifford D. May
- Barry R. McCaffrey
- Joshua Muravchik
- Steven J. Nider
- Michael O'Hanlon
- Mackubin Thomas Owens
- Ralph Peters
- Danielle Pletka
- Stephen Peter Rosen
- Robert H. Scales
- Walter Slocombe
- James B. Steinberg
See the Right Web Profile.
MediaTransparency.org has documented $600,000 in donations to PNAC from 1997-2004 from conservative foundations. Funders listed include:
- Bradley Foundation ($500,000)
- John M. Olin Foundation ($50,000)
- Scaife Foundations (Sarah Mellon Scaife Foundation ($50,000)
Affiliations with the American Enterprise Institute
The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy was founded in 1943 Lewis H Brown.  According to their website, the AEI is ‘a private, nonpartisan, not-for-profit institution dedicated to research and education on issues of government, politics, economics, and social welfare.’ Their purpose claims to be ‘to defend the principles and improve the institutions of American freedom and democratic capitalism--limited government, private enterprise, individual liberty and responsibility, vigilant and effective defense and foreign policies, political accountability, and open debate..
The American Enterprise Institute has close ties with both the Project for the New American Century and the Bush Administration.
- John Bolton, as well as being Senior Vice President for Public Policy Research for the AEI between 1997-2001, has also been involved with the Project for the New American Century and the Bush administration, taking on the roles of Undersecretary for the State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs (2001-2005) and as a United States representative to the UN (2005-2006). . Bolton was a key support of the invasion of Iraq, reportedly saying to council members that "You are not going to decide whether there is war in Iraq or not. That decision is ours, and we have already made it. It is already final. The only question now is whether the council will go along with it or not."
- Paul Wolfowitz, one of the founding signatories of the Project for the New American Century, is a Visiting Scholar of the American Enterprise Institute. He is chair of the International Security Advisory Board and was previously Deputy Secretary of the Defense Department. (2001-2005). Wolfowitz also worked as the President of the World Bank (2005-June 2007). Like Bolton, Wolfowitz was an avid campaigner for the war in Iraq, being described as "a drum that would not stop. He and his group of neoconservatives were rubbing their hands over the ideas [for invading Iraq]."
- Irving Kristol considers himself a conservative, although he is widely believed to be one of the founding fathers of the neoconservative movement.. It has been said that 'Kristol also played an important role in shaping the neoconservative connection to the think tank and pressure group world.' . Kristol became a fellow of the AEI in the 1980s. .
- Richard Perle was one of the main campaigners for the invasion of Iraq and the 'War on Terror' in the aftermath of 9/11.. He has been described as a 'man of many hats:Pentagon policy adviser (resigned February 2004), former Likud policy adviser, media manager, international investor, op-ed writer, talk show guest, think tank expert, and ardent supporter of the war in Iraq.' . Once named the 'Prince of Darkness' due to his anti-Soviet policies, Perle helped to shape foreign policies in the Bush Administration in the run up to the Iraq War. 
- Letters and Statements stored on PNAC web site.
- Defense Policy Guidance 1992-1994
- Statement of Principles, Project for the New American Century, June 3, 1997.
- Letter to President Clinton on Iraq, Project for the New American Century, January 26, 1998.
- Letter to Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott on Iraq, Project for the New American Century, May 29, 1998.
- "Rebuilding America's Defences: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century," Project for the New American Century, September 2000.
- Statement on Post-War Iraq, Project for the New American Century, March 19, 2003.
- Second Statement on Post-War Iraq, Project for the New American Century, March 28, 2003.
References, Resources and Contact
- Project for the New American Century
- 1150 17th St. NW, Suite 510
- Washington, DC 20036
- Phone: (202) 293-4983
- Fax: (202) 293-4572
- Website www.newamericancentury.org
- America and the New American Century, the new book covering the PNAC, their takeover of American foreign policy, and the War on Terror.
- The PNAC Info weblog is devoted to exposing PNAC and "its plan for a 'unipolar' world."
- at IPS reverse date sort.
- Jason Vest, Bush's War Hawk, The American Prospect, November 5, 2001.
- Jon Wolfsthal, "What Is to Be Done With The Axis of Evil?" Proliferation Brief, Vol. 5, No. 1, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, February 6, 2002.
- Brian Whitaker, "US Think Tanks Give Lessons in Foreign Policy," Guardian (UK), August 19, 2002.
- "Plans For Iraq Attack Began On 9/11," CBS News, September 4, 2002.
- Neil Mackay, "Bush planned Iraq 'regime change' before becoming President," Sunday Herald (UK), September 15, 2002.
- Jay Bookman, "The president's real goal in Iraq," Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Information Clearinghouse), September 29, 2002.
- Tom Barry and Jim Lobe, "The Men Who Stole the Show," Foreign Policy In Focus, October 2002.
- Joe Taglieri, "Bush Advisers Planned Iraq War Since 1990s," From The Wilderness, October 1, 2002.
- Tom Barry, "PNAC'S Present Dangers As Blueprint for Bush Doctrine," Foreign Policy In Focus, October 31, 2002.
- Laura Miller, "War is Sell," PR Watch, 4th Quarter 2002. This report includes information about PNAC and related organizations supporting and pushing for the war on Iraq.
- William Rivers Pitt, "Of Gods and Mortals and Empire," February 21, 2003 editorial for Truthout.
- William Rivers Pitt, "Blood Money," February 27, 2003 editorial for Truthout.
- Robert Dreyfuss, The Thirty-Year Itch, Mother Jones, March/April 2003.
- Von Jochen Bölsche, "The war designed in a think tank" (German), Der Spiegel, March 4, 2003. This report describes how Bush's current policies toward Iraq mirrors PNAC's blueprint for war before Bush took office.
- ABC's Nightline, hosted by Ted Koppel, featured a program about PNAC on Wednesday, March 5, 2003. See "The Plan: Were Neo-Conservatives' 1998 Memos a Blueprint for Iraq War?", March 10, 2003.
- Joseph Cirincione, "Origins of Regime Change in Iraq," Proliferation Brief Vol. 6, No. 5, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, March 19, 2003.
- André Verlöy and Daniel Politi; Data by Aron Pilhofer, "Advisors of Influence: Nine Members of the Defense Policy Board Have Ties to Defense Contractors," Center for Public Integrity, March 28, 2003.
- Joseph Cirincione, Interview by Terry Gross, Fresh Air, April 1, 2003.
- Bruce Murphy, Neoconservative clout seen in U.S. Iraq policy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel On-line, April 5, 2003.
- Bernard Weiner, "A PNAC Primer," informationclearinghouse, May 7, 2003.
- Neil Mackay, No weapons in Iraq? We'll find them in Iran, Sunday Herald, June 1, 2003.
- Jim Lobe, "Key Officials Used 9/11 As Pretext for Iraq War," Inter Press Service, July 15, 2003: "A close examination of the public record indicates that all of these individuals -- both in and outside the administration -- were actively preparing the ground within days, even hours, after the 9/11 attacks, for an eventual attack on Iraq, whether or not it had any role in the attacks or any connection to al Qaeda. The challenge, in their view, was to persuade the public that such links either did indeed exist or were sufficiently likely to exist that a preventive strike against Iraq was warranted. Their success in that respect was stunning, although, in order to pull it off, they also had to distort and exaggerate the evidence being collected by U.S. intelligence agencies." See cooked intelligence.
- Richard M. Bennett, "US wages war from within Iran," Asia Times, June 20, 2003.
- Barbara Starr, "Defense deputy gets authority for military tribunals," CNN, June 24, 2003.
- Ed Crane and William Niskanen, "Upholding Liberty in America," CATO Institute, July 9, 2003.
- "Neo-conned," Congressman Ron Paul addresses the U.S. House of Representatives, July 10, 2003.
- Jim Lobe, "Pentagon Office Home to Neo-Con Network," Inter Press Service, August 7, 2003.
- Dan Morgan, "A Debate Over U.S. 'Empire' Builds in Unexpected Circles," Washington Post (TruthOut), August 10, 2003. re Office of Special Plans
- William Bunch, "Invading Iraq not a new idea for Bush clique. 4 years before 9/11, plan was set," Philly.com (Freedom of Information Center), January 14, 2004.
- Jason Leopold, "Paul O'Neill's Claims Against Bush Supported By 1998 'War' Letters to Clinton Signed By Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz," Liberal Slant, January 19, 2004.
- "Empire Builders. Neoconservatives and their blueprint for US power," Christian Science Monitor, Updated June 2005.
- Al Kamen, "The Democrats, Keeping a Civil Tongue", Washington Post, June 12, 2006; Page A19
- Jim Lobe, ""New American Century" Project Ends With A Whimper", Inter Press Service, June 13, 2006
- "[http://www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf Rebuilding America's Defences: Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century]", Project for the New American Century, September 2000, accessed 21 July 2009
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