About the Perry Center
» Our Mission
Conduct educational activities for civilians and the military in the Western Hemisphere to foster trust, mutual understanding, regional cooperation and partner capacity.
» A Brief History
The William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies (CHDS) is a product of the Defense Ministerial of the Americas (DMA) process that began in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1995. Latin American civilian and military defense officials expressed deep concerns over the relative lack of civilians prepared to deal knowledgeably with defense and military issues in their countries. In response, U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry proposed creating a regional center to address this problem during the second Defense Ministerial held at Bariloche, Argentina, in 1996. Secretary Perry envisioned an educational center tailored to the unique requirements of the Western Hemisphere where many countries wished to strengthen civilian defense and security leadership in revitalized democracies.
Between 1996 and September 1997, preparatory work for what became CHDS was conducted by a team from the U.S. Department of Defense and the National Defense University which included consultation with regional stakeholders such as the defense ministries and civilian academics. Activated on 17 September 1997, CHDS opened its doors, the following day, with a Hemispheric Conference on Education and Defense, 18-19 September 1997. Its first Director and two faculty members officialy reported for duty in December and CHDS conducted its first three-week course, the Defense Planning and Resource Management Courses in March 1998. The Center also conducted the first of many in-region seminars in Bolivia that year.
At DMA V, in Santiago, Chile in 2003, CHDS was officially recognized for its contribution to matters of Hemispheric Defense and Security. In March 2004, Dr. Richard Downie took office as the new Director of CHDS. He immediately undertook a strategic reassessment of the Center in consultation with his faculty, staff, and U.S. and regional stakeholders. This assessment resulted in the affirmation of many things CHDS had been doing along with many significant changes. CHDS is building on its past success as it ventures into new territory in its sixteenth year. Please click here if you want to learn about the CHDS SEAL.
» Our Vision & Values
"CHDS is the pre-eminent academic institution for teaching, research, and outreach on defense and security issues affecting the Americas."
- Integrity: Exemplify professional ethics in all decisions and actions.
- Service: Foster learning, teamwork and strategic leadership meeting the highest standards of excellence and professionalism in an environment of dignity, equality and respect.
- Creativity: Stimulate innovation and the exploration of new ideas in and for the international security environment.
- Team Spirit/Work.
» Operational Concept
The William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies:
- Provide education, and conduct outreach, research and knowledge-sharing activities on defense and international security policy-making with military and civilian leaders of the Western Hemisphere.
- Advance international security policy and defense decision-making processes, foster partnerships and promote effective civil-military relations in democratic societies.
- Contribute to a cooperative international security environment and mutual understanding of priority U.S. and regional defense and international security policy issues.