MISSION AND HISTORY
The Defense Forum Foundation is a U.S. non-profit foundation dedicated to promoting a strong national defense and promoting freedom, democracy, and human rights abroad. It is best known for its Congressional Defense and Foreign Policy Forums, held regularly on Capitol Hill for the benefit of Congressional staff, and for its work abroad promoting the freedom, human rights and dignity of the people of North Korea, and self-determination for the people of Western Sahara.
The Defense Forum Foundation (DFF) is was founded during the Presidency of Ronald Reagan for the purpose of educating Congressional staff about the need to re-build America’s defense. DFF’s founder, Chadwick R. Gore, began in the 1980’s a series of briefings on Capitol Hill that are known today as the Congressional Defense and Foreign Policy Forum. He formally established DFF in 1987 to continue these bi-partisan forums to provide the opportunity for expert speakers to come to Capitol Hill to address defense issues critical to our nation and our allies. Ambassador J. William Middendorf, II, became Chairman of DFF in 1988 and Suzanne Scholte, a founding Board Member, became President of DFF in 1989.
In the early years the forums focused chiefly on national security and defense issues but over the years the programs expanded to encompass foreign policy and human rights issues because the greatest threats to the United States are always from regimes that terrorize their own people. As a result, DFF began programs specifically to promote freedom, democracy and human rights abroad. In this area, DFF has been the leading organization in the United States in promoting human rights for the North Korean people and in promoting self determination for the people of Western Sahara.
In recent years, DFF’s Forums focused on how to win the war on terror and how to protect the United States’ homeland from terror attacks. DFF continued its work as a leading advocate in the promotion of freedom and human rights for the people of North Korea and on self-determination in Western Sahara. In this capacity, DFF continued to work closely with the North Korean defectors living in South Korea as well as help and support the underground railroad which assists North Korean refugees to escape to freedom.
Regarding Western Sahara, DFF continued to work closely with Ambassador Moulud Said of the Sahrawi Republic and Carlos Wilson of California, who is the Executive Director of DFF’s U.S. Western Sahara Foundation.