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The Bipartisan Coalition for American Security (BCAS) is a nonprofit advocacy group founded to promote American “global leadership,” a robust U.S. defense budget, and an active and interventionist U.S. foreign policy.
In a press release announcing the group’s launch in June 2013, BCAS proclaimed a commitment “to defend and protect America by supporting broad engagement across the world, democracy and human rights as fundamental tenets of our foreign policy, strong alliances around the globe, and a robust foreign policy and strong national defense.” A statement on the group’s website added that its “singular goal is to ensure that America remains the most powerful nation in the world”—a goal, BCAS hopes, “around which Americans of all political stripes can unite.”
Shortly after its launch, BCAS named former Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Scott Brown (R-MA) as honorary co-chairmen of the organization. In a statement, Lieberman—a neoconservative Democrat who became an independent after losing a Democratic primary in 2006—said he joined BCAS to combat “a new consensus in Washington that favors retrenchment and disengagement from challenges overseas, and that downplays the dangers we face as a nation.” Brown—who lost his 2012 reelection bid and may be trying to pad his national security credentials for a future run—added that the United States “cannot afford to shift our national and global security resources and policies from being expansive and focused on global stability, to one centered on protectionism” (sic).
BCAS’s “issues” page lists a number of priorities long important to U.S. neoconservatives and other foreign policy hawks. In addition to supporting “American leadership” and neoliberal trade policies, the page calls for the development of expensive and provocative “missile defense” systems abroad and declares that “the U.S. military must have a global reach,” along with a budget to match it.
In the Middle East, BCAS proclaims that Washington “must prevent the Iranian regime from getting nuclear weapons—through diplomatic means if possible, with military force if necessary” and endorses “airstrikes against the Assad regime and a robust program of assistance, including weapons and training, for the Syrian opposition.” Likening the “war on terror” to twentieth century wars against “fascism and communism,” BCAS also endorses “ensuring that al Qaeda and its Taliban enemies never return to power in Afghanistan” and declares that thetwenty-first century “must also be an American Century,” channeling rhetoric promoted by the Project for the New American Century, a key pressure group in the run-up to the Iraq War.
Covering the launch of BCAS, the Springfield Republican reported, “It was not immediately clear who was behind the new group. The group’s spokesman, public relations professional Glenn Selig, said in an email that the coalition ‘rose out of dozens of discussions among several individuals who all believed that America must show strength in the face of increasing international adversity and uncertainty.’”
One prominent backer is Elliott Broidy, an Israeli-American private equity investor who previously served on Michael Chertoff’s Homeland Security Council and has served on the boards of the Republican Jewish Coalitionand the Wiesenthal Center. In 2009, Broidy pled guilty to bribing several members of New York State’s pension fund with cash payments and trips to Israel and Italy. As of June 2013, Broidy was the only member of BCAS’s advisory board.