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Perry Center Seal
|Headquarters||National Defense University, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, DC|
|Motto||Mens et fidis mutua|
(Mutual understanding and confidence)
|Parent agency||Department of Defense, Defense Security Cooperation Agency|
William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies is a U.S. Department of Defense institution for defense and security studies in the Western Hemisphere. Through courses, seminars, outreach, strategic dialogue, and focused research in support of policy objectives, the Perry Center works with senior civilian and military officials from the Americas to build strong, sustainable networks of security and defense leaders and institutions. In so doing, the Perry Center is supposed to promote greater understanding of U.S. policy, mutually supportive approaches to security challenges, and improved, sustainable institutional capacity." On April 12, 2018, AllGov.com reported that: "In 2015 CHDS was credibly accused in an internal Army report of shielding a teacher from Chile who belonged to a known state terrorist organization; clandestine involvement of Center officials in the 2009 Honduran coup; and gross mismanagement, corruption, homophobia, racism, and sexism." 
In February 2017, the controversial role played by the Perry Center in Latin America was underscored after the Miami Herald published an article on former CHDS Dean Craig Deare, who had been appointed by General Michael Flynn to be the Western Hemisphere chief for the National Security Council. Citing Deare's former William Perry colleagues, the story noted that Deare, in addition to security concerns and lax personal conduct, had "a checkered record of support for and involvement with some of the Western Hemisphere's most notorious human rights abusers." It pointed out that he was also "a central figure" in former Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Carl Levin's request for a Department of Defense inspector general's investigation that included questions about what role the U.S. Southern Command's William Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies may have played in the 2009 military coup in Honduras. It added that the probe of CHDS included the question of whether the Center "still bore vestiges of the old School of the Americas, the U.S. program that trained Latin America military officers, many of whom then went on to be brutal dictators in their home countries."  A day after its publication in the Herald, Deare offered a controversial analysis of Trump Administration policies and the role of key First Family figures during a supposedly "off-the-record" talk before a score of Beltway "insider" invitees at the Woodrow Wilson Center. Following media coverage of Deare's reported criticism of the Trump policies, allegedly 'awkward' comments about Ivanka Trump's good looks, and the Miami Herald article, Deare was unceremoniously shown the door at the NSC the day after his appearance at the Wilson Center.[deprecated source]
On March 10, 2017, Daniel P. Meyer, executive director for Intelligence Community Whistleblowing & Source Protection (ICW&SP), Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community (IC IG), announced that classified Congressional Disclosure #1703 relating to the CHDS scandal had been sent "to both the House Permanent Subcommittee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence via a classified network, protecting the lawful disclosure of classified information." Four days later, Department of Defense Inspector General Glenn Fine wrote an email to a senior member of Congress announcing that "Given the seriousness and scope of [the] allegations, OIG staff is conducting a careful analysis of each allegation. While this has taken longer than we would have preferred, we want to ensure that appropriate consideration is given."
The William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies (WJPC) was created on September 3, 1997 by then-U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry, who had proposed creating a regional center tailored to the unique requirements of the Western Hemisphere where many countries could strengthen civilian defense and security leadership in revitalized democracies. The Perry Center traces its roots back to the first two Defense Ministerial of the Americas (DMA), where Secretary Perry convened defense ministers from around the hemisphere to discuss shared defense and security issues.
In 2013, The Perry Center was the only federal office to receive an Alfred P. Sloan Award for Workplace Flexibility. In 2016, the Perry Center was again honored with the Award for Workplace Flexibility. However, in 2015 the Center for Public Integrity, in an article focusing on alleged gross violations of human rights by senior Center staff, quoted an internal Southern Command document that reported that CHDS "staff had exchanged 'racially charged emails' -- including one directed at President Barack Obama; used offensive language such as 'faggot,' 'buttboy' and 'homo'; and that 'women employees feel that they are treated inappropriately.' Even senior leaders used 'inappropriate hand gestures,' it said, and mentioned simulations of masturbation." 
In 2015 the Center for Public Integrity, in an article focusing on alleged gross violations of human rights by senior Center staff, quoted an internal Southern Command document that reported that CHDS "staff had exchanged 'racially charged emails' -- including one directed at President Barack Obama; used offensive language such as 'faggot,' 'buttboy' and 'homo'; and that 'women employees feel that they are treated inappropriately.' Even senior leaders used 'inappropriate hand gestures,' it said, and mentioned simulations of masturbation." 
Three years earlier, following national security whistleblower disclosures of corruption, alleged human rights violations and other gross malfeasance by other senior staff working under the then Director, Richard Downie, (who earlier was the first Commandant of the controversial Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, or WHINSEC), the latter requested an officer from another Regional Center to "informally"--not outside of the chain of command headed by that same Director--investigate the claims. This was done using an Army 15-6 rule in a civilian DoD training institution, choosing someone who belonged to a "sister" institution rather than an independent Office of Inspector General to head the probe. In March, 2012, the investigating officer privately provided his "findings" to the Center Director who had commissioned him: "After extensive review into these allegation[s], I find that the Center's leadership has not violated any laws or Department of Defense regulations, has not acted unethically towards its employees, and has maintained good order and conduct expected in an organization of the Department of Defense." (Downie's deputy at WHINSEC and CHDS was Kenneth LaPlante, a former instructor at the notorious School of the Americas, shut down by Congress in 2000, and an ardent defender of that institution while at what is now called the Perry Center.)
However, four years later, the AR 15-6 military inquiry used by Downie in a civilian DoD center to defend against accusations against him and his colleagues was significantly revised and would not be permitted to be used in such cases as that of CHDS. The "Procedures for Administrative Investigations and Boards of Office" dated April 1, 2016, specifically "prohibits an individual from appointing an inquiry, investigation, or board if that individual is reasonably likely to become a witness; has an actual or perceived bias for or against a potential subject of the investigation, or has an actual conflict of interest in the outcome of the investigation (pars. 2-1F)."
A copy of the report obtained by the Center in a Freedom of Information ((FOIA)) request reflected a state of fear shared by Center staff members reluctant to come forward, as "many employees did want to remain anonymous for fear of retribution" by senior staff. The report specifically cited what the accused wrongdoers had already done to two national security whistleblowers. The Center is now the focus of a DoD Inspector General probe following a request by then Senate Armed Services Chair Carl Levin.
The Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies (CHDS) opened its doors on September 17, 1997, followed by a two-day Hemispheric Conference on Education and Defense. The Center conducted its first resident course, the Defense Planning and Resource Management Course, in March 1998. The Center also conducted the first of many in-region seminars that year.
On April 2, 2013, the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies was renamed the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies in honor of the Center's founder, the 19th Secretary of Defense, Dr. William J. Perry.
Resident courses form the core of the Perry Center academic program. Conducted in Spanish or English, foundational and specialized courses are designed to meet the evolving needs of sophisticated professionals from the defense and security sectors across the hemisphere. Resident phases are one or two weeks in length and are preceded by a distance learning phase.
Regional seminars are held in conjunction with regional partners and are tailored to the specific objectives identified by the Perry Center, the partner institution, and the U.S. embassy team. Regional seminars serve to enhance sustainable institutional capacity, emphasizing support to national and regional policy-makers and leaders.
The Hemispheric Forum is a vehicle that takes advantage of the abundance of subject-matter experts and the community of interest in Western Hemisphere affairs. The format of each program is a panel discussion centered on a timely and important topic, with expert panelists representing government, think tanks, and academia. These events are open to the public and are streamed online with simultaneous Spanish interpretation.
Hemispheric Forum topics have included:
Key to the Perry Center's mission is relationship-building, as it strives to maintain strong relationships with alumni. Maintaining relationships with alumni helps the Center's professors stay abreast of security and defense developments in countries throughout the region, and also provides opportunities for collaboration and increased regional exposure for the Perry Center. All of the following countries have sent participants to resident events at the Center: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Belize, Bahamas, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Great Britain, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Pakistan, Peru, Portugal, Romania, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Spain, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago, the United States Uruguay, and Venezuela.
The William J. Perry Award for Excellence in Security and Defense Education is named after the former U.S. Secretary of Defense who was responsible for the establishment of the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies. Recipients are chosen for having substantially contributed in tangible ways to enhancing capacity in security and defense, building mutually beneficial relationships, and increasing democratic security in the Americas. Nominees may be educators, practitioners, or institutions of defense and security from throughout the Hemisphere, or from outside the region.
|Year||Individual category||Institutional category|
|2015|| Admiral Vidal Francisco Soberón Sanz, Secretary of the Mexican Navy|
Professor Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith, Ph.D.
|2014||Dr. Richard Millett, Professor Emeritus of History, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville||The Inter-American Defense College (IADC)|
The Center of Advanced Studies of National Defense of Spain (CESEDEN)
|2013||Dr. Maria Liz Garcia de Arnold, Minister of Defense of Paraguay||The National War College of Colombia (ESDEGUE)|
|2012|| Felipe Calderón, President of Mexico|
Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence of Canada
|The Regional Security System (RSS)|
The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC)
|2011||Nelson Jobim, former Minister of Defense of Brazil||The U.S. National Guard Bureau's State Partnership Program|
|2010|| Dr. José Arturo Bayardi Lozano, former Minister of Defense of Uruguay|
GEN John Galvin, USA (ret.), former Supreme Allied Commander, NATO
|The Center for Superior Naval Studies of Mexico (CESNAV)|
|2009||N/A||The Strategic Superior Studies College of El Salvador (CAEE)|
|2008||N/A||The National Academy for Political and Strategic Studies of Chile (ANEPE)|
|2007||N/A||The Strategic Leadership for Defense and Crisis Management Course (CEDEYAC) of Peru|