Harold Brown served as U.S. Secretary of Defense from 1977 to 1981. He advocated détente with the Soviet Union and supported the SALT II treaty. Brown played a major role in deciding the fate of the Panama Canal, as well as an integral role in the development of U.S. foreign policy.
Harold Brown was born in New York City on September 19, 1927. After obtaining 3 degrees and a Ph.D. from Columbia University, he pursued a career in scientific research and consultancy.
Dr. Brown was nominated as Secretary of Defense by Jimmie Carter in 1977. While head of the Department of Defense, he initiated a comprehensive review and reform of the defense organization. Brown made a strong commitment to arms control but also followed the principle of "essential equivalence" in the nuclear competition with the Soviet Union. At the Conference on the Discontinuance of Nuclear Tests, he was the senior science adviser.
Lead by Brown, the Defense Department played a major role in negotiating the return of the Panama Canal to Panama, as well as the treaty to maintain the canal's neutrality.
Brown also helped to develop foreign policy related to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and supporting President Carter's Camp David Accords.