posted on Nov. 11, 2003
Harold Brown
Harold Brown

Brown was Secretary of Defense in the Carter Administration from 1977 to 1981.

Harold Brown was the Director of Defense Research and Engineering during the Kennedy Administration.

During the Clinton Administration, following Defense Secretary Lee Aspin's death in May of 1995, Harold Brown was appointed to head the Commission on the Roles and Capabilities of the United States Intelligence Community

When the military hardliners from the Ford Administration were successful in commandeering Carter's foreign policy shortly after he assumed office [see Carter Administration] Brown, his Secretary of Defense, fell right in line:

As BUSINESS WEEK noted with approval, Defense Secretary Brown had proclaimed upon returning from a swing through the Middle East that the region's oil is 'clearly part of our vital interests' and that 'in protection of those vital interests we'll take any action that's appropriate, including the use of military force.' This was the same Brown who one year earlier when the Shah began to falter, said: 'We are as yet unsure of the utility of U.S. military power in Persian Gulf contingencies.'

The final collapse itself however registered a near-collective change in the elite mind. The same day, Brown, on nationwide television, expressed his new-found enthusiasm for intervention. Secretary of Energy Schlesinger [Defense Secretary in the previous administration, Ford's], appearing on a rival network, reiterated the same militaristic theme. - - Jerry Sanders, Peddlers of Crisis: The Committee on the Present Danger and the Politics of Containment (Boston, MA: South End Press, 1983), page 239.

In later years, Brown would revert to what seemed like a more thoughtful approach:

Mr. Aftergood, a researcher for the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, has been trying to make America's 13 intelligence agencies, including the CIA, reveal their total annual budgets to the public.

... A 1996 intelligence commission chaired by former Defense Secretary Harold Brown took up the subject and concluded that disclosure "is a worthwhile purpose, and may, to some degree, help restore the confidence of the American people in the intelligence function." [1] [2][3]

From a story on the report:

March 1, 1996: WASHINGTON (CNN) -- With the Cold War over, the U.S. intelligence community needs a major overhaul, according to a bi-partisan commission report released Friday.

The commission recommends expanding the power of the CIA director and stripping the Pentagon of its authority to recruit spies. The report also suggested the CIA lacks direction and is too far removed from the policy-makers it is intended to serve.

... headed by former Defense Secretary Harold Brown and former Sen. Warren Rudman, the commission spent a year studying the intelligence community before releasing its report. The commission was established by Congress.

The move to redefine the role of the intelligence was prompted, in part, by the collapse of the Soviet Union, which for decades was the main target of intelligence efforts. Key recommendations in the report:

  • Create two CIA deputy directors so the CIA director can spend more time on management of the overall intelligence units.
  • Transfer authority to recruit spies from the Pentagon to the CIA.
  • Make the intelligence budget public, but keep its details confidential.
  • Maintain capabilities to conduct covert operations. Also, the personnel in the CIA's covert operations should be rotated into other fields.
  • Create a national assessment center, outside CIA headquarters, to prepare intelligence estimates.
  • Create a committee on foreign intelligence within the National Security Council to provide guidance on major issues.
[4]

And in 1997, Harold Brown, Elliot Richardson and William Perry would support ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention. [5]

But in 2000, Brown would again team up with harldliner James Schlesinger to call for an increase in National Security Funding. From "What About Defense?" by James Schlesinger and Harold Brown, Washington Post, 12/20/2000:

In this year's presidential campaign, both major candidates spoke easily of spending trillions more in coming years on domestic needs such as Social Security and Medicare. In contrast, they said little and proposed to add only marginally to spending on national security. Yet over the next decade, the nation will need to spend significantly more certainly hundreds of billions of dollars on defense and foreign assistance if we are to maintain a military force capable of doing the things that both candidates seemed to feel it would have to do. " [5]

Here's an excerpt from a piece in the NY Times (1/7/2001) - entitled "Ratify, but Review" - by Harold Brown, Melvin R. Laird, and William J. Perry:

Nowhere is bipartisan cooperation more important than in the realm of national security. The new Congress must identify issues on which bipartisan agreement is possible. The spread of weapons of mass destruction is one such issue. Seeking a bipartisan approach to nuclear nonproliferation should be among the principal goals of the next administration and Congress.

... Historically, nonproliferation measures have enjoyed strong support from both sides of the aisle; we need to reinvigorate that support. A good way to start would be to consider the recommendations in the report issued by Gen. John M. Shalikashvili, special adviser to the president and the secretary of state for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. General Shalikashvili concludes that, with proper programs in place, the treaty will improve United States security and will not, as some have suggested, jeopardize nuclear deterrence.

In the debate preceding its October 1999 vote on the test ban treaty, the Senate was presented with compelling but conflicting statements on the nonproliferation benefits of the treaty and questions regarding its impact on the long-term safety and reliability and hence deterrence value of our nuclear arsenal. But the truncated debate meant there were no adequate answers given on these issues.

As a result, shortly before the vote, 62 senators signed a letter to Senators Trent Lott and Tom Daschle urging that final consideration of the treaty be put off until the next Congress. A clear, bipartisan majority, with a wide range of individual views on ratification, deemed this issue sufficiently important to delay a vote until cooler heads and more thorough consideration could prevail. This treaty is too important for the vote of the last Congress to be the final word.

Now General Shalikashvili proposes in his report to the president 16 recommendations and reservations that we believe deserve careful consideration by the Bush administration. ... Most importantly, General Shalikashvili recommends that the new administration propose periodic joint reviews conducted with the Senate of the treaty's impact on national security after the pact is put in place.

In our view, a periodic review of the treaty is the best way to address the Senate's concerns about whether the safety and reliability of the nuclear arsenal could be assured with absolute certainty beyond 10 years. ...

[7] [See also: [8]

On September 12, 2002, Brown would tow Bush's line on Iraq:

Essentially in what I thought was a strong and well presented speech, the president was saying, Saddam Hussein has proven he is very dangerous by his past actions -- that nonmilitary reactions have failed to contain him; and that therefore, failing an effective way of ending his program of weapons of mass destruction, military action will have to be taken. He did that in the context of invoking Saddam Hussein's failure to comply with past UN Resolutions.

And he implied very strongly that it was up to the UN Security Council to take action and if it didn't for one reason or another that the U.S. would. [9]

As chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations: [10]


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