William Schneider Jr.
last updated: March 07, 2007
- Defense Science Board: Former Member
- Project for the New American Century: Signatory
- Center for Security Policy: Advise
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William Schneider Jr., a longtime proponent of controversial weapons programs and hardline advocacy groups like the Center for Security Policy (CSP), has worked as a defense adviser to the George W. Bush administration. He has also served as chairman of the Defense Science Board (DSB), a federal advisory committee that was established in 1956 to periodically review "the needs and opportunities presented by new scientific knowledge for radically new weapons systems" (see "Defense Science Board: History," Office of the Secretary of Defense). A supporter of national missile defense, Schneider has also served on the boards of a number of defense contractors, including BAE Systems, the British defense contractor that has been investigated by British and U.S. authorities for unethical business practices.
Schneider has been affiliated with a number of rightist and neoconservative-aligned advocacy groups, including Frank Gaffney's CSP, the Hudson Institute, and the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). A former adjunct fellow at Hudson and adviser to CSP, Schneider signed several PNAC open letters to government officials, including the September 20, 2001 letter that urged President Bush to attack Iraq as part of the war on terror, " even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the [9/11] attack" (for more on PNAC and contributors to its letter campaigns, see Right Web Profile: Project for the New American Century).
Schneider also participated in a study group that produced the report "Rationale and Requirements for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control," published by the hawkish National Institute for Public Policy (NIPP) in 2001. According to the World Policy Institute, the NIPP study served as a blueprint for George W. Bush's Nuclear Posture Review ("About Face," World Policy Institute, May 2002). Among the study participants were several former Bush administration officials, including Stephen Cambone, Stephen Hadley, Robert Joseph, and Keith Payne (NIPP's director).
In 2004, Schneider published "A 21st-Century Role for Nuclear Weapons," in which he endorsed the Nuclear Posture Review. Twentieth century non-proliferation strategies like "international norms, exhortation, and economic sanctions," Schneider argued, have failed. Drawing a distinction between "dissuasion" and "deterrence," Schneider advocated "developing a military capability that holds a proliferator's entire WMD posture at risk rather than relying solely on the ability to deter the threat or use of WMD after they have been developed, produced, and deployed, the prospects for reducing the role of WMD in international politics are much improved." He concluded: "Proliferation of WMD was stimulated as an unintended consequence of a U.S. failure to invest in technologies such as ballistic missile defense that could have dissuaded nations from investing in such weapons" (Issues in Science and Technology, Spring 2004).
Before participating in the NIPP study group, Schneider helped produce the final report of the so-called Rumsfeld Missile Commission (1998), a controversial congressional commission that made the highly controversial argument that several rogue nations would be capable of attacking the United States with ballistic missiles within a few short years. Other members of the Donald Rumsfeld-chaired commission included Cambone, James Woolsey, and Paul Wolfowitz (Lisbeth Gronlund, "What They Didn't Do," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, November/December 1998).
An economist by training, Schneider began work with "strategic forces, Soviet affairs, theater nuclear force operations, and arms control," in the late 1960s at the Hudson Institute. Throughout the 1970s, Schneider worked on Capitol Hill as a staff member for the Senate and, later, the House of Representatives, where he assisted the chairman of the Appropriations Committee. He entered the Reagan White House as the Associate Director for National Security and International Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget. In 1982 he moved to the State Department, where he served as Under Secretary for Security Assistance, Science, and Technology until 1986. Schneider has also served on several presidential commissions and government advisory bodies dealing with counterterrorism, intelligence, defense, and economic policy, including the President's General Advisory Committee on Arms Control and Disarmament where he was chairman from 1987 to 1993 (for more on Schneider's background, see Biography of William Schneider Jr., Commission on the Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry).
In April 2002, Schneider told the Washington Post that he had been encouraged by then-Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to look into the use of nuclear-tipped interceptors in a missile defense system. The inquiry itself was seen as a dramatic shift because, 30 years prior, the idea of using nuclear weapons to destroy incoming ballistic missiles had been deemed "technically problematic and politically unacceptable" (Graham, Bradley, "Nuclear-Tipped Interceptors Studied," Washington Post, April 11, 2002).
Schneider has served on the boards of several contractors, some of which have large government defense contracts, including the United Kingdom-based BAE Systems, one of the world's largest defense contractors. The company, which produces heavy weapons and parts for civilian and military aircraft, has been the target of a series of investigations both in the United States and the United Kingdom regarding alleged corruption in its business dealings, including with Saudi Arabia. According to the International Herald Tribune (June 26, 2007), British press outlets reported in mid-2007 that " BAE had paid more than $2 billion into bank accounts in Washington operated by Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who for many years was the Saudi ambassador to the United States, as part of an arms deal in the 1980s. Bandar has denied the reports, calling the allegations 'untrue' and 'grotesque in their absurdity.'"
Schneider is president of International Planning Services, an international trade and advisory company, and served as chairman of the Defense Science Board during the George W. Bush presidency. During his tenure at the DSB, Schneider oversaw a number of controversial proposals, including a massive expansion of covert antiterror operations within the Defense Department that was proposed in the wake of 9/11. According to the Inter Press Service (IPS) (November 5, 2002), the DSB proposal, the 2002 "Summer Study on Special Operations and Joint Forces in Support of Countering Terrorism," urged "the Pentagon to 'take the terrorist threat as seriously as it takes the likelihood and consequences of major theater war,' urging officials to launch secret missions and intelligence operations to penetrate and disrupt terrorist cells abroad. Some of those operations should be aimed at signaling to countries that harbor terrorists that 'their sovereignty will be at risk.'"
Among some of the DSB study's concrete proposals, according to the Inter Press Service, was to recommend "the creation of a super-Intelligence Support Activity, an organization it dubs the Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG), to bring together CIA and military covert action, information warfare, intelligence, and cover and deception. ... To bolster government [human intelligence] capabilities, the task force [advanced] the idea of an intelligence 'surge/unsurge' capability—a 'robust, global cadre of retirees, reservists, and others who are trained and qualified to serve on short notice, including expatriates.' This group could be pressed into service during times of crisis. P2OG would launch secret operations aimed at 'stimulating reactions' among terrorists and states possessing weapons of mass destruction, meaning it would prod terrorist cells into action, thus exposing them to 'quick-response' attacks by U.S. forces."
Responding to concerns that such a plan would cause the Pentagon to infringe on CIA terrain, Schneider told IPS that the DSB was merely seeking to expand ways in which special ops units could aid in the "war on terror," adding that in any case although the "CIA executes the plans ... they use Department of Defense assets."
Other advisory posts Schneider has served in during the George W. Bush presidency include membership on the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission and the Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry.
In November 2005, Schneider participated in a conference on missile defense held by the American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC), along with AFPC Chair Ilan Berman, and Brian Kennedy, president of the Claremont Institute.
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William Schneider Jr. Résumé
- Hudson Institute: Former Staff Member
- Center for Security Policy: Member, National Security Advisory Council
- Project for the New American Century: Letter Signatory
- National Institute for Public Policy: Study Participant, "Rationale and Requirements for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control," 2001
- Council on Foreign Relations: Member
- American Foreign Policy Council: Discussant
- Defense Science Board: Former Chairman (through July 2008)
- State Department: Member, Defense Trade Advisory Group; Under Secretary for Security Assistance, Science, and Technology (1982-1986)
- U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission: Former Member
- Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States ("Rumsfeld Missile Commission"): Member (1998)
- President's General Advisory Committee on Arms Control and Disarmament: Chairman (1987-1993)
- Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission: Member
- Office of Management and Budget: Associate Director for National Security and International Affairs (1981-1982)
- U.S. House of Representatives: Staffer (1976-1981)
- U.S. Senate: Staffer (1971-1976)
- International Planning Services, Inc.: President
- BAE Systems: Member, Board of Directors
- WorldSpace: Member, Board of Directors
- Defense Group, Inc.: Member, Board of Directors
- Evans & Sutherland Computer Corp.: Member, Board of Directors
- Lucent Technologies: Member, Government Advisory Board
- G2 Satellite Solutions: Former Member, Advisory Board
- Defense Forecasts International: Former Member, Board of Directors
- New York University: Ph.D. (1968)
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1. Bioraphy of William Schneider Jr., Commission on the Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry, http://web.archive.org/web/20040203023853/http://www.aerospacecommission.gov/commissioners/schneider.shtml (Web Archive).
2. "Defense Science Board: History," Office of the Secretary of Defense, http://www.acq.osd.mil/dsb/history.htm.
3. William Hartung and Jonathan Reingold, "About Face: The Role of the Arms Lobby in the Bush Administration's Radical Reversal of Two Decades of U.S. Nuclear Policy," World Policy Institute, May 2002.
4. Defense Group, Inc., Board of Directors, http://www.defensegroupinc.com/directors.cfm.
5. Center for Security Policy, National Security Advisory Council, http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/Home.aspx?CategoryID=47&SubCategoryID=50.
6. Graham, Bradley, "Nuclear-Tipped Interceptors Studied," Washington Post, April 11, 2002, http://www.commondreams.org/headlines02/0411-01.htm.
7. William Schneider Jr., "A 21st-Century Role for Nuclear Weapons," Issues in Science and Technology, Spring 2004, http://www.issues.org/20.3/schneider.html.
8. "Timeline: BAE Corruption Probe," BBC news, June 26, 2007, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6182137.stm.
9. Federal Advisory Board Database, Defense Science Board Member List, http://fido.gov/facadatabase/.
10. Lisbeth Gronlund and David Wright, "What They Didn't Do," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, November/December 1998.
11. David Isenberg, "P2OG Allows Pentagon to Fight Dirty," Inter Press Service, November 5, 2002.
12. Washington Daybook, "The American Foreign Policy Council Holds a Conference on 'Missile Defense and American Security,'" November 29, 2005.
13. WorldSpace Satellite Radio, Inc., Board of Directors, http://www.worldspace.com/about/board.html#schneider.
14. BusinessWire, "Evans & Sutherland Elects Two New Board Members," May 22, 2002, http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_2002_May_22/ai_86163614.
15. M2 PressWire, "Lucent Technologies: Jamie Gorelick Named to Lucent Technologies' Government Advisory Board ...," November 15, 2005.