El Salvador's Strategic Superior Studies College recieves 3nd annual CHDS William J. Perry Award
Blank WJPC Masthead
01 Oct 2009

Perry Award Winners - CAEEOn September 17, 2009, CHDS officially awarded its third annual William J. Perry Award for Excellence in Defense Education in the institutional category to the Strategic Superior Studies College of El Salvador (CAEE). The award is named after the former U.S. Secretary of Defense, William J. Perry, whose vision resulted in the founding of CHDS.

In presenting the award at an evening ceremony held in Rosslyn, Center Director Richard D. Downie said that the decision to give the award to CAEE was made “in recognition of the extraordinary work the Colegio is doing in benefit of the Salvadoran people and for the region as a whole.” Among those attending the event were Dan Restrepo, director of Western Hemisphere Affairs for the National Security Council and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs Frank Mora, a former professor of national security strategy at the National War College (NDU). Downie pointed out that, following its creation in the aftermath of more than a decade-long civil war, the CAEE made important contributions “on the difficult terrain of social reconciliation, by means of a high-level exchange among the military, the new national civilian police and Salvadoran citizens who did not wear uniforms.”

In his own remarks, CAEE Director and Salvadoran former Vice Minister of Defense General (ret.) Omar Vaquerano said that receiving the Perry was “a point of pride and a motive for continuing our work at promoting dialogue and healthy relations between civilians and the military.” Calling the CAEE a “hothouse for leaders,” including members of the Salvadoran Supreme Court, government ministers and academics, and others, Vaquerano recognized the important contribution his Center has played in the country’s democratic consolidation: “Every year CAEE students from every ideology and institution come together to study our national reality and to promote an understanding between civilians and the military.”

Since its founding, CHDS has had close academic ties with NDU and has been intimately involved in creating expertise and cooperative initiatives around the hemisphere in subjects ranging from civil-military relations, defense policy formulation, resource allocation and management, to the nexus between international terrorist organizations and organized crime.

Following the Defense Ministerial of the Americas in Williamsburg, Virginia in late 1995, then Secretary of Defense Perry created an academic center to educate and foster cadres of knowledgeable civilians in the defense and security arenas – CHDS.

Last year’s winners of the Perry Award were Colombian President Alvaro Uribe (individual category) and the Chilean Academia Nacional de Estudios Políticos y Estratégicos, or ANEPE (institutional category). In 2008, a single Perry award was given to the creators and director of Peru’s Strategic Leadership for Defense and Crisis Management Course (known by its Spanish acronym CEDEYAC), who modeled their course on CHDS’ academic content and instructional methodology, adapted to the Peruvian reality. Eligibility for the Perry award includes a recognized contribution in either academic or policy arena, and extends to practitioners or institutions of defense and security education or policy in the Hemisphere. Martin Edwin Andersen, CHDS assistant professor of national security affairs and chief of strategic communications, served as the 2009 coordinator for the CHDS Perry Award selection committee. Announcement of details for the 2010 Perry Award competition will be announced early next year.