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Carter’s Defense Secretary Harold Brown dies

RANCHO SANTA FE — Former Defense Secretary Harold Brown, who served under President Jimmy Carter, died at his home in Rancho Santa Fe, his family announced on Monday, Jan. 7.

Harold Brown

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.

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.

The man 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.

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