Secure Free Society (SFS)

The Center for a Secure Free Society (SFS) is the leading national security think tank combating transregional threats in the Western Hemisphere and worldwide. For more than a decade, SFS is spearheading the effort to counter Venezuela, Russia, Iran, and China’s expansion in Latin America and the Caribbean and deter the growing convergence of international terrorism and transnational organized crime that is plaguing the U.S. southern border.


To discover, develop, and support a global network of security scholars and practitioners advancing freedom and security in the Western Hemisphere and worldwide.

Profile Pic
Dr. Alejandro “Alex” Chafuen, SFS founder and President of the International Freedom Educational Foundation (IFEF)

Our History

With ten years of a proven track record analyzing Transregional Threat Networks in the Americas, the Center for a Secure Free Society (SFS) is the leading national security think tank in the United States combating Venezuela, Russia, Iran, and China’s expansion in our neighborhood.

Our history began with a vision by Dr. Alejandro A. Chafuen.

One of the world’s leading commentators on the economic thought of the Thomistic and Late-Scholastic thinkers, Dr. Alex Chafuen is the founder of the Center for a Secure Free Society (SFS). Dr. Chafuen has dedicated most of his life to advancing the free society through research and policy programs, including security and defense issues. The interest sparked after witnessing terrorism erupt in his native Argentina, in addition to the increasing insecurity spreading across Latin America.

Once Dr. Chafuen recognized that terrorism was on the rise and counterterrorism efforts left many holes, he began to recruit and support security and defense experts. The September 11th terrorist attacks further elucidated the problem, making evident that in order to advance a free society, we must connect the efforts of those promoting economic freedom to those working within the realm of national security.  

From 2004 to 2011, SFS was housed at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. Initially as an idea to catalyze those working on economics to focus more on security, intelligence, and defense, and to connect national security scholars to the world of economic freedom. The model, at the time, was the Prague Security Studies Institute (PSSI) in the Czech Republic, which served as an inspiration for the SFS program. While acting as president and CEO of Atlas, Dr. Chafuen created the “Think Tanks for a Secure Free Society” program. In 2008, Joseph Humire joined Atlas and started managing the SFS program, which by then focused largely on workshops and seminars in Lisbon, Prague, New York, Dallas, Buenos Aires, Bogotá, Santiago, and other major cities around the world and funding some independent research papers. 

In 2012, SFS spun off from Atlas to the International Freedom Educational Foundation (IFEF) with Joseph Humire at its helm as Executive Director. To read more about the transition to IFEF and the birth of SFS as a think tank please read this document.

Case for Securing Freedom

Since then, Joseph has grown SFS from its humble beginnings as a part-time endeavor to now a full-time effort with a team of dedicated staff and fellows and forged a new path for the Center with a unique focus on the crime-terror nexus and how external state actors, Russia, China, and Iran, are changing the geopolitical landscape of Latin America. Issues that at the time, not many were discussing.

SFS was the first think tank to reveal that Venezuela’s immigration agency provided identification documents to suspected members and supporters of Hezbollah and other foreign terrorist organizations. SFS also pioneered a deeper analysis into Iran’s strategic penetration of Latin America, including a groundbreaking study that uncovered how Iran historically uses the beef trade to build intelligence networks in the region. More recently, SFS studies have analyzed how China uses 5G telecommunications networks to undermine democracy in South America, as well as what state and non-state actors are inducing and manipulating Central American caravans to weaponize mass migration and catalyze a crisis on the U.S. southern border.

The Center for a Secure Free Society has evolved from an idea, to a plan, to a program, to a center, finally to its permanent role as an independent, next-generation, national security think tank, engrained as an important fixture within the U.S. foreign policy and national security community, particularly for those focused on the Western Hemisphere. 

For the last ten years, SFS has evolved into a leading research and educational think tank, publishing scholarly reports and organizing various seminars and programs on Capitol Hill and throughout the Americas. As of 2022, SFS is also an emerging content creator for innovative digital products that showcase our leading research on national security issues of interest.

We are the leading national security think tank in the United States combating transregional threats in the Western Hemisphere, with name recognition and a respected brand behind it.

Please watch this short 3-minute video describing our work and the SFS impact in recent years.