Brown, Harold

Brown, Harold, 1927–2019, American nuclear physicist and government official, b. New York City, Ph.D. Columbia, 1949. He joined (1952) the staff of the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory (now Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), becoming its director (1960–61), then served as director of defense research and engineering in the Defense Dept. (1961–65), secretary of the air force (1965–69), and president of the California Institute of Technology (1969–77). As secretary of defense (1977–81) under President Jimmy Carter, Brown oversaw a military buildup that included the development of stealth aircraft, precision bombs, and cruise missiles. He also supported the SALT II talks that led to a pact, signed (1979) by Carter and Soviet President Brezhnev, that was intended to reduce nuclear missiles and warheads, and helped plan the failed 1980 mission to rescue some 50 Americans from the Tehran embassy held hostage by Iran.

See his Star Spangled Security (2012, with Joyce Winslow).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. History: Biographies