Former Defense Secretary Harold Brown, who served under President Jimmy Carter, died at his home in Rancho Santa Fe, his family announced Saturday.
Brown, a nuclear physicist and Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree, died Friday. He was 91.
Carter nominated Brown to be defense secretary in 1977, and Brown served throughout the president’s term.
As defense secretary, he successfully championed increasing the Pentagon budget and led the charge to develop cutting-edge defense systems, including guided missiles, stealth aircraft and satellite surveillance.
His tenure covered a period that included Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan and the Iranian hostage crisis. He was instrumental in the 1979 SALT II treaty that limited the total number of nuclear weapons that could be fielded by the two superpowers.
Previously, in the John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson administrations, Brown held the posts of director of defense research and engineering and secretary of the Air Force.
Brown was born in New York City on Sept. 19, 1927, and attended public schools before heading to Columbia University on an accelerated wartime schedule, receiving an undergraduate degree in physics in 1945. He also attended graduate school at Columbia, receiving a doctorate in physics by age 21.
— City News Service
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