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Clifford D. May

Founder and President

Areas of Impact:

Arab Spring, Islamism, Pakistan, Israel, Iraq, Al Qaeda, Intelligence Community, Afghanistan, Iran, Energy Security

Biography:

Clifford D. May is the founder and President of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a nonpartisan policy institute focusing on national security created immediately following the 9/11/01 attacks on the United States. Under his leadership, FDD has become one of the nation’s most highly regarded think tanks and a sought-after voice on a wide range of national security issues. He has helped FDD to assemble a staff and advisory board of the most compelling scholars and experts whose ideas and research have helped shape important policies and legislation on terrorism, nonproliferation, human rights, Islamism, democratization and related issues.

In August 2016, Mr. May was appointed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission that makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress in order to advance the pivotal right of religious freedom around the world and integrate religious freedom into America’s foreign policy.

Clifford D. May is the founder and President of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a nonpartisan policy institute focusing on national security created immediately following the 9/11/01 attacks on the United States. Under his leadership, FDD has become one of the nation’s most highly regarded think tanks and a sought-after voice on a wide range of national security issues. He has helped FDD to assemble a staff and advisory board of the most compelling scholars and experts whose ideas and research have helped shape important policies and legislation on terrorism, nonproliferation, human rights, Islamism, democratization and related issues.

In August 2016, Mr. May was appointed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission that makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress in order to advance the pivotal right of religious freedom around the world and integrate religious freedom into America’s foreign policy.

Mr. May has had a long and distinguished career in international relations, journalism, communications and politics. A veteran news reporter, foreign correspondent and editor (at The New York Times and other publications), he has covered stories around the world, including from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, Turkey, Sudan, Ethiopia, China, Northern Ireland, Nigeria, Mexico and Russia.

A former syndicated columnist for Scripps Howard News Services, he is now the weekly “Foreign Desk” columnist of The Washington Times. He is a frequent guest on national and international television and radio news programs, providing analysis and participating in debates on national security issues.

His writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, National Review, Commentary, USA Today, The Atlantic and many other publications. He is the co-editor of a book on the conflict in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as one on energy policy.

In 2006 he was appointed an advisor to the Iraq Study Group (Baker-Hamilton Commission) of the United States Institute of Peace, an independent nonpartisan national institution established and funded by Congress. He also received a two-year appointment (2007-2009) to the bipartisan Advisory Committee on Democracy Promotion, reporting to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. In 2008, he was nominated by President George W. Bush to serve on the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the entity responsible for all US government and government sponsored, non-military, international broadcasting. In 2009, the U.S. Department of State awarded him a "U.S. Speaker and Specialist Grant" for a series of speaking engagements and meetings (with government and religious leaders, academics and journalists) in Pakistan.

He served as the Communications Director for the Republican National Committee during the historic 2000 cycle in which Republicans won the presidency, the Senate and the House for the first time in 48 years (as well as a majority of state legislatures and governors’ mansions).

Mr. May holds master’s degrees from both Columbia University’s School of International Affairs and its School of Journalism. His undergraduate degree is from Sarah Lawrence College, and he holds a certificate in Russian language and literature from Leningrad State University, USSR. He is a member of the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs. He is married and has two children.

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Border disputes

8th February 2017 – The Washington Times

Border disputes

Clifford D. May

Al Qaeda does not value diversity and it’s not an equal opportunity employer. The same can be said of the Islamic State. And when the rulers of the Islamic Republic of Iran want to commit an act of terrorism – the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, to take just one example – they are likely to give the assignment to members of Hezbollah, a radical Islamic group of the Shia persuasion. They are highly unlikely to recruit Unitarians, Mormons or Baha’i. more...

Analysis & Commentary

8th February 2017 – The Washington Times

Border disputes

Clifford D. May

Al Qaeda does not value diversity and it’s not an equal opportunity employer. The same can be said of the Islamic State. And when the rulers of the Islamic Republic of Iran want to commit an act of terrorism – the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, to take just one example – they are likely to give the assignment to members of Hezbollah, a radical Islamic group of the Shia persuasion. They are highly unlikely to recruit Unitarians, Mormons or Baha’i. more...

1st February 2017 – The Washington Times

How much is the U.N. worth?

Clifford D. May

This may come as a shock: It’s possible, not likely but possible, that a committee of officials from the Defense, State and Justice Departments, as well as the National Security Council, will conduct a review of the disproportionate funding the United States provides to the United Nations and, hold onto your hats, come to the conclusion that American taxpayers should spend less on an organization that is inefficient, corrupt and inimical to American interests. more...

27th January 2017 – Deseret News

My view: Holocaust Remembrance Day: Europe must fight anti-Semitism

Clifford D. May

As the world commemorates International Holocaust Remembrance Day, marking the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp 71 years ago, European Jews no longer face a single, continent-wide regime seeking their destruction. more...

25th January 2017 – The Washington Times

Defending the civilized world

Clifford D. May

In an inaugural address that was more purposeful than poetic, President Trump last Friday vowed to “unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate from the face of the Earth.” I hope we can agree, across party and ideological lines, that those are worthwhile objectives. But let’s acknowledge, too, that achieving them will require a much more strenuous and strategic effort than previous administrations have undertaken. more...