On Friday, March 28, CHDS bid hasta luego to Dr. Richard D. Downie after his more than nine years of sustained superior performance as Director. I will be serving as Acting Director until a new Director is selected by the Secretary of Defense. Although we all will miss Dr. Downie's personality, energy, and focus, rest assured that our faculty and staff will maintain their high standards as the Center’s team continues to execute its mission and programs to meet or exceed your high expectations.
On January 3, President Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act, which confirmed the redesignation of CHDS as the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies. On April 2, CHDS held a ceremony officially announcing and implementing the change, and honoring the vision and leadership of a truly great man, our founder, former Secretary of Defense Dr. William J. Perry. We will be known from now on as “The William J. Perry Center or The Perry Center.” The Perry Center traces its roots to the Defense Ministerial of the Americas process that was created by Dr. Perry during his term as Defense Secretary, so it is only fitting that the Center now takes his name in honor of his integral role.
The maturation of the hemisphere's defense and security sector over the last decade has been both exciting and encouraging. These changes have permitted the Perry Center to expand its programs, while remaining the region's partner of choice for security and defense education.
Since the Perry Center offered its first course in 1998, our catalog of offerings has greatly expanded. Today, every Perry Center class includes a robust distance-learning phase that presents students with video sessions, electronic readings, and written assignments before ever setting foot in the classroom. One of the most radical changes in our operational model has been the Center’s collaboration with institutional partners throughout the Americas to offer courses away from Washington. The Perry Center’s outreach program has changed as well. Instead of large conferences that bring fellows together for a few days only once a year, small teams of Perry Center representatives now travel throughout the hemisphere to conduct both local and multinational programs.
Perhaps most fulfilling for the Perry Center team, however, is our support, when able, for those security and defense focused programs organized entirely by Fellows.
To see a full list of the activities and achievements of the Perry Center over the last year, please download the FY 2012 Annual Report in the Digital Collections.
Looking ahead in 2013 and beyond, the Perry Center is charged with continuing to develop programs, “designed to advance international security policy and defense decision-making processes, foster partnerships, and promote effective civil-military relations in democratic societies.” To address this guidance from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Perry Center will continue or increase, depending on our funding situation, the number of courses, seminars, workshops, and research projects both at home and with partner institutes across the region to foster greater institutional capacity among defense and security institutions throughout the Americas. Increasingly, our faculty and staff take advantage of technological resources such as video teleconference (VTC) and online outreach tools in order to best serve our mission and connect with our broad community of partners. The Perry Center team and I look forward to continued meaningful, collaborative, and productive relationships with you.
Mr. Kenneth LaPlante
On this Web site and its component pages and links, you will find extensive information about the Center's mission, outlines of curricula of our academic programs and outreach programs, course calendars, application procedures, news and information about upcoming seminars and conferences sponsored by CHDS throughout the region. You will also find a unique Spanish-Portuguese language portal to MERLN LAC (Military Education Research Library Network Latin America-Caribbean.). This website provides access to and search capabilities of the online catalogs, indexes and other unique electronic resources of the U.S. armed services war colleges and to a consortium of military and defense-related educational research libraries throughout the hemisphere.
Last update 4/2/2013