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Clifford D. May

Founder and President

Areas of Impact:

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 assemble a staff and advisory board of the most compelling scholars and experts whose research, ideas and recommendations have shaped important policies and legislation on terrorism, economic warfare, nonproliferation, human rights, Islamism, jihadism, democratization and related issues.

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 datelines from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Sudan, Kazakhstan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Chad, Mexico, Northern Ireland, China and Russia.

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 assemble a staff and advisory board of the most compelling scholars and experts whose research, ideas and recommendations have shaped important policies and legislation on terrorism, economic warfare, nonproliferation, human rights, Islamism, jihadism, democratization and related issues.

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 datelines from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Sudan, Kazakhstan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Chad, Mexico, Northern Ireland, China and Russia.

A former syndicated columnist for Scripps Howard News Services, he is currently 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 also 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.

From 2016 to 2018, Mr. May served as a commissioner on 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.

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.

Read full bio

10th October 2018 – The Washington Times

Trump’s new counterterrorism strategy

Clifford D. May

“We remain a nation at war.” President Trump’s new National Strategy for Counterterrorism (NSC) begins with that simple statement of fact. The 21st century is an age of conflict. That’s unlikely to change any time soon. more...

Analysis & Commentary

10th October 2018 – The Washington Times

Trump’s new counterterrorism strategy

Clifford D. May

“We remain a nation at war.” President Trump’s new National Strategy for Counterterrorism (NSC) begins with that simple statement of fact. The 21st century is an age of conflict. That’s unlikely to change any time soon. more...

9th October 2018 – Foreign Podicy

President Carter’s Foreign Policy—Does a New Book Shed New Light?

Jonathan Schanzer, Clifford D. May

Stuart Eizenstat has had a long and extraordinary career. Among the influential positions he’s held: President Jimmy Carter’s chief White House Domestic Policy Advisor, President Bill Clinton’s ambassador to the European Union, and an undersecretary in the departments of Commerce and State. He’s today a leading international lawyer with Covington and Burling in Washington, D.C. more...

3rd October 2018 – The Washington Times

The life, times and foreign policies of Jimmy Carter

Clifford D. May

Those elected to high office are stars but the success of their shows often depends on supporting actors: their advisors. For nearly 50 years, Stuart E. Eizenstat has been a wise advisor to Democratic leaders. He served as President Clinton’s ambassador to the European Union, and in senior positions at the Departments of State, Treasury and Commerce. more...

26th September 2018 – Washington Times

Americans’ right to self-rule

Clifford D. May

In a stern and defiant speech earlier this month, National Security Advisor John Bolton made clear that the U.S. will not join the International Criminal Court, will not cooperate with it, nor provide it assistance. What will the U.S. do instead? “We will let the ICC die on its own,” Mr. Bolton said. “After all, the ICC is already dead to us.” Denunciations were soon flying from academics, “human rights” groups, and the major media. more...