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Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Holmes, Kim

  • Heritage Foundation: Vice President of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies

  • Defense Policy Board: Former Member

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Kim Holmes is the vice president of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at the right-wing Heritage Foundation. He has served as a foreign policy adviser to several failed GOP presidential campaigns, including  Mitt Romney’s in 2012[1] and Rudy Giuliani’s in 2008.[2]

Holmes has held his post at Heritage since 1992, save for a 2001-2005 stint as the assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs under Condoleezza Rice. “While at the State Department,” states his Heritage biography, “Holmes was responsible for developing policy and coordinating U.S. engagement at the United Nations and 46 other international organizations.” The bio credits Holmes with securing “U.N. mandates enabling Iraq to make the transition to democracy; the Security Council's first binding nonproliferation resolution; the U.N.'s first mandate requiring the Office of Internal Oversight Services to release reports to member states; an international outcry over Libya's assuming chairmanship of the Commission on Human Rights, which culminated in that body's refashioning; and establishment of the U.N. Democracy Caucus and U.N. Democracy Fund.”[3]

Holmes also previously served on the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board, a panel of outside advisers that was chaired by Richard Perle in the early years of the George W. Bush administration, during which time it aggressively pushed for the Iraq War. Holmes and Perle continued to collaborate during the Obama administration, penning a December 2010 op-ed in the right-wing National Review criticizing the Obama administration’s “New START” arms control agreement with Russia. “Ronald Reagan knew that in arms control, the United States should play to win,” they wrote. “The contrast between his negotiating approach and the current administration’s approach to New START could not be more striking.”[4]

Holmes has been an avid proponent of “American exceptionalism,” as well as the notion that the Obama administration has weakened the United States. “American exceptionalism is not dead,” wrote Holmes and his coauthor in a 2010 Heritage backgrounder. “Even more, it is not the root of all the world’s evils. It is the blessing of the liberty for which so many Americans fought, and each generation has a moral obligation to do what they can to spread that liberty and thereby ensure peace. … The Obama Doctrine, by seeking to remake America to please others, will fail because, in the end, no one will like the instability, vulnerability, and economic stagnation that follow from a weaker America.”[5]

Holmes has opposed cuts to the U.S. military budget, arguing instead for a robust budget that comes at the expense of domestic social programs. “Liberals want to preserve high-cost social programs,” he wrote of a congressional debt ceiling deal reached in 2011. “They would like to raise taxes to ‘pay’ for them, but if they cannot get that, they will take big defense cuts to save entitlements and other domestic programs. … Essentially, this deal just postpones the day of reckoning on entitlement spending while sacrificing America’s security interests.”[6]

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[1] MittRomney.com, “Mitt Romney Announces Foreign Policy And National Security Advisory Team,” October 6, 2011, http://www.mittromney.com/blogs/mitts-view/2011/10/mitt-romney-announces-foreign-policy-and-national-security-advisory-team.

[2] Michael Desch, “Declaring Forever War,” The American Conservative, January 14, 2008, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/declaring-forever-war/.

[3] Heritage Foundation, Kim Holmes bio, http://www.heritage.org/about/staff/h/kim-holmes.

[4] Richard Perle and Kim Holmes, “On Arms Control, Learn from Reagan,” National Review, December 20, 2010, http://www.nationalreview.com/blogs/print/255650.

[5] Kim Holmes and James Carafano, “Defining the Obama Doctrine, Its Pitfalls, and How to Avoid Them,” Heritage Foundation, September 1, 2010, http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2010/08/defining-the-obama-doctrine-its-pitfalls-and-how-to-avoid-them.

[6] Kim Holmes, “A Dangerous Debt Ceiling Deal,” Heritage Foundation, August 1, 2011, http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/08/debt-ceiling-deal-and-the-budget-cuts-in-defense-spending.

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Holmes, Kim Résumé


  • Heritage Foundation: Vice President, Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, and Director, The Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies (1992-)

  • Council on Foreign Relations: Member

  • Center for International Private Enterprise: Executive board member


  • State Department: Secretary of state for international organization affairs (2001-2005)

  • Defense Policy Board: Former member


  • Georgetown University: MA, PhD

  • University of Central Florida: BA


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Right Web tracks militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy.

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