In his new book, Star Spangled Security: Applying Lessons Learned Over Six Decades Safeguarding America (Brookings, 2012), former U.S. Secretary of Defense Harold Brown (under President James Carter) offers an insider’s view of U.S. national security strategy over service to ten presidencies and bridges it to current challenges facing the United States.
Dr. Brown currently sits on the Defense Policy Board and previously served as secretary of the Air Force under President Lyndon B. Johnson; director of U.S. research and engineering under President John F. Kennedy; president of Caltech; director of Livermore Lab; and a negotiator on the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks (SALT I and SALT II). He also led the development of the Polaris missile, nuclear ballistic missiles, the stealth bomber, and put the first GPS satellites in the sky.
On May 6, the Brookings Press hosted a discussion of Star Spangled Security. Drawing on his 60 years safeguarding America, Harold Brown discussed how to balance China’s ambitions with U.S. interests to avoid conflict; whose 3 a.m. phone call from the Pacific is most likely to trigger US military action; what strategic positions in the Middle East and in Africa will best serve American interests; what strategy might prevent rogue nations from using nuclear weapons; lessons learned from Iraq and Afghanistan that ought to shape response to Syria now; a new perspective on drones; and the best ways to cut defense spending and reform the Defense Department.
Vago Muradian, editor of Defense News, moderated the discussion with Brown.