Learn About the Center for Defense Information

The Center for Defense Information (CDI) is a military think tank that promotes the discussion between military leaders and government agencies about nuclear weapons, space security, missile defense, small arms and military transformation. It was started by the retired  U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Gene La Rocque in 1972 to help the reduce the reliance on military and nuclear weapons, and to promote national and international cooperation through diplomacy.

Currently, the Center for Defense Information operates as a component of the larger organization, World Security Institute, which is composed of retired military officers and academics dedicated to conducting analysis of US defense and security policies. CDI’s Straus Military Reform Project, directed by Winslow Wheeler analyzes “ both the fiscal and strategic implications of defense programs and promotes informed insight of Pentagon activities. “
CDI issues reports,briefs and monographs documenting statistics about such topics, for which it is sometimes criticized. Some US conservatives believe that CDI’s general opposition to defense spending is not realistic or in the best interest of the country.

In its 2008 report , America’s Defense Meltdown: Pentagon Reform for President Obama and the New Congress, it begins by expressing the following sentiment:

“Genuine reform often requires swimming against strong currents of conventional wisdom and a refusal to pander to politically driven notions of what is and is not acceptable to think and do at the time.”

Needless to say, most of CDI’s recommendations are not conventional or common. In America’s Defense Meltdown, CDI recommends that the Army and Marine forces are based on “antiquated inappropriate World War II-style organizations for combat.” In other words, their functions as they stand today are not appropriate for today.  Other recommendations were included such as reserve units becoming “as capable as active-duty battalions” and reducing the size of the officer corps above company grades.

These types of recommendations by the CDI will continue to be challenged by the status quo. Although it may seem that some of their recommendations are far-fetched, adjustments within the marines did begin to take shape. In 2011, announcements were made that the Marines Corps planned to downsize and change their function.

Additional Resources
America’s Defense Meltdown: A full-text version of the 2008 report by CDI
Center For Defense Information: Overview of the CDI
The Center for Global Studies : provides general information about CDI
Market Sectors: According to CDI
World Security Institute
Daily Defense: The newsletter distributed by CDI