Perhaps because even Afghan president Hamid Karzai is making fun of his geography problems, Herman Cain has revealed the foreign policy team that's bringing him up to speed. This was unusual for the candidate who likes to keep his advisers secret, but with national security emerging as a bit of a weak spot after, the campaign named names. Leading the team is former Navy officer J.D. Gordon, whom the Cain campaign contacted after they saw him on Fox News. Gordon told Foreign Policy's Josh Rogin that Cain's been studying really hard, and "once he gets briefed on something he learns and he retains it. He's been getting smarter on foreign policy every day."

Gordon worked in the Pentagon public affairs office under defense secretaries Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates. He was going to start a think tank called the Center for Security and Diplomacy before Cain called, Rogin reports. And in some ways, Gordon sounds like he's still advertising the organization: "The central tenets of the Center for Security and Diplomacy were restoring U.S. leadership, maintaining a strong military and getting tough on terrorism." Gordon added, "That matches exactly with Herman Cain's views on foreign policy." What is the Center for Security and Diplomacy? It doesn't have a website. Google it in parentheses and you get results for just this one Foreign Policy article. It's not listed in the IRS's database as a non-profit. It's not listed in the non-profit tracker GuideStar. But it looks like a lot of the mysterious thinktank is on Cain's campaign. Five of the six Cain staffers Rogin names also claim CSD affiliation:
  • "Robert Brockhaus, who was community relations manager at the Heritage Foundation and one of the founders of CSD, is now the campaign's assistant vice president for communications and writes "Cain connections," a weekly summary of events that is sent to over 200,000 people."
  • "Fellow CSD founder Matt Martini ... is the campaign's new assistant vice price for communications."
  • "Mark Pfeifle ... was a CSD board member. He's now senior advisor for the Cain campaign, in charge of rapid response."
  • "Roger Pardo Maurer is another CSD board member who is now advising the Cain campaign. He was deputy assistant secretary of Defense for the Western Hemisphere from 2001 to 2006 under Rumsfeld ... Maurer is a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- he did a year-long tour in each country as an enlisted Special Forces reservist. But having attended Yale and Oxford and being well into his 40s, he wasn't the typical Army private. Rumsfeld personally promoted him to specialist in the field in Afghanistan. He's advising Cain on the wars in the Middle East."
  • "On international economics, Cain is taking advice from Joseph Humire, a former Marine and senior fellow at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation ... Humire was an advisor for CSD; Atlas is a client of Gordon's consulting firm."
Gordon has been working for Cain since September 1, but as Foreign Policy's Daniel Drezner noticed 10 days ago, Cain's website has "a total of five paragraphs on 'national security.' That's it.  No white papers, fact sheets, bullet points, or list of advisors." Maybe that's because they are too busy with the basics. Rogin reports that after Cain made his infamous "Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan" comment, they gave him a list of 20 heads of state to memorize. The Daily Caller's Jamie Weinstein and Alex Pappas explained this week that "Almost every day ... Cain is handed a one-page briefing from his chief foreign policy adviser on news from around the world." Gordon told them, "He's really getting up to speed a lot more so than people give him credit for." Up to speed one (hopefully single-spaced) single-page memo at a time.