Harold Brown

CSIS Counselor and Trustee

On July 1, 1992, Harold Brown joined CSIS as a counselor. From 1984 to 1992, he was chairman of the Foreign Policy Institute of the Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and from 1981 to 1984, he was distinguished visiting professor at the Nitze School. He was a partner in Warburg, Pincus & Co. from 1990 to 1997. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Chemical Engineering Partners and of Philip Morris International. He also an honorary director on the board at the Atlantic Council. He is president emeritus and Life Trustee of the California Institute of Technology, trustee emeritus of the RAND Corporation, and a member of the North America Group of the Trilateral Commission.

President Jimmy Carter nominated Dr. Brown to be Secretary of Defense on January 20, 1977. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate the same day, took the oath of office on January 21, 1977, and served as Secretary of Defense until January 21, 1981. Born in New York City on September 19, 1927, Dr. Brown attended New York City public schools. He graduated from Columbia University with an A.B. degree in 1945, an A.M. degree in 1946, and a Ph.D. in physics in 1949. He has also received 12 honorary degrees. Dr. Brown was a Lecturer in Physics at Columbia University, Stevens Institute of Technology, and the University of California (1947–1952); and he was Group Leader, Division Leader, and later the Director of the Radiation Laboratory at Livermore, University of California (1952–1961). He was a member of the Polaris Steering Committee (1956–1958), a member of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board (1956–1961), and consultant to, and then member of, the President’s Science Advisory Committee (1958–1961). He was senior science adviser at the Conference on the Discontinuance of Nuclear Tests (1958–1959) and a delegate to the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks in Helsinki, Vienna, and Geneva from 1969 to 1977.

Before his service as Secretary of Defense, Dr. Brown had been Director of Defense Research and Engineering (1961-65), Secretary of the Air Force (1965-69), and President of the California Institute of Technology (1969-77). Among his many honors, Dr. Brown was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981 and the Fermi Award in 1993. He is the author ofThinking about National Security: Defense and Foreign Policy in a Dangerous World (Westview, 1983), The Strategic Defense Initiative: Shield or Snare? (Westview, 1987), and Star Spangled Security (Brookings, 2012).