From 1965 to 1968, Brown was secretary of the air Force. Initially a supporter of the Vietnam War, he was an architect of the bombing program, but became a supporter of deescalation. Appointed president of California Institute of Technology (1969), Brown served the Nixon administration as a member of the SALT I delegation. When Jimmy Carter was elected president in 1976, he appointed Brown secretary of defense. A strong secretary, who was committed to sustaining a strategic nuclear edge over the Soviet Union, Brown left his stamp upon the administration's defense programs, including the MX missile, SALT II, and nuclear strategy (Presidential Directive 59). Brown also presided over defense budget increases, especially after the invasion of Afghanistan (1979), although his rationale—a purportedly increased rate of Soviet military investment—remains contested. To bolster containment of the Soviet Union, Brown promoted military and intelligence cooperation with China, an initiative that he cemented with a major trip to Beijing (1980). During the 1980s, Brown became an investment banker but also held posts at Johns Hopkins University and the Center for International Strategic Studies.
[See also SALT Treaties.]
Current Biography, 1961, pp. 76–78.
Current Biography, 1977, pp. 86–89.
Bernard Weinraub , The Browning of the Pentagon, New York Times: 29 January 1977.
Raymond Garthoff , Detente and Confrontation: U.S.‐Soviet Relations from Nixon to Reagan, 1994.
Olav Njølstad , Peacekeeper and Troublemaker: The Containment Policy of Jimmy Carter, 1995.