Subscribe to FDD

Our Team

Clifford D. May

President

Areas of Impact:

North Korea, Arab Spring, Islamism, Pakistan, Israel, Iraq, Al Qaeda, Intelligence Community, Afghanistan, Palestinian Politics, Iran, Energy Security

Biography:

Clifford D. May is the President of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, created immediately following the 9/11 attacks on the United States. Under his leadership, FDD has become one of the nation’s most highly regarded policy institutes and a sought-after voice on a wide range of national security issues. He has helped FDD to assemble a staff and advisory board of the most compelling scholars and experts whose ideas and research have helped shape important policies and legislation on terrorism, Islamism and democratization.

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 in more than two dozen countries, including Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, Turkey, Sudan, Ethiopia, China, Uzbekistan, Northern Ireland and Russia. A former syndicated columnist for Scripps Howard News Services, he is now 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.

Clifford D. May is the President of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, created immediately following the 9/11 attacks on the United States. Under his leadership, FDD has become one of the nation’s most highly regarded policy institutes and a sought-after voice on a wide range of national security issues. He has helped FDD to assemble a staff and advisory board of the most compelling scholars and experts whose ideas and research have helped shape important policies and legislation on terrorism, Islamism and democratization.

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 in more than two dozen countries, including Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, Turkey, Sudan, Ethiopia, China, Uzbekistan, Northern Ireland and Russia. A former syndicated columnist for Scripps Howard News Services, he is now 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 appeared in National Review, The Wall Street Journal, 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 a book 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 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 1997 to 2001, he served as the Director of Communications for the Republican National Committee. In that role, he was the Republican Party's staff spokesman, appearing frequently on national television and radio programs. In addition, he managed all RNC communications activities, including long-range strategic planning; press, radio and television services; online services; TV and radio coaching; speech writing; advertising and marketing; and he was editor of the official Republican magazine, Rising Tide. 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 hold a certificate in Russian language and literature from Leningrad State University, USSR. He is a member of the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs. 

Read full bio

15th July 2014 – Sun News Network

The Source with Ezra Levant

Clifford D. May

FDD President, Clifford May, on Hamas' rejection of a ceasefire. more...

Analysis & Commentary

17th September 2014 – The Washington Times

Faith, Fanaticism and Fantasy in the Middle East

Clifford D. May

“God created war,” theorized Mark Twain, “so that Americans would learn geography.” That’s as true today as it was two centuries ago. How many of us would be able to find Yemen, Somalia and Mali on a map if not for the conflicts raging in those lands? more...

17th September 2014 – Radio America

Radio America with Greg Corombos

Clifford D. May

FDD President Clifford May discusses President Obama's IS strategy. more...

14th September 2014 – Podcast

On the Money with Charles Ortel

Clifford D. May

FDD President Clifford May discusses the foundation of the Islamic State's beliefs and President Obama's strategy to defeat them. more...

12th September 2014 – AM 560 The Answer, Chicago, IL

John Howell & Amy Jacobson

Clifford D. May

FDD President Clifford May discusses President Obama's recent address on IS strategy. more...