WASHINGTON — The Rand Corp. says the defense secretary during the Carter administration, Harold Brown, has died.
The think tank which Brown served as a trustee says he died Friday at the age of 91.
Brown guided the Pentagon through a turbulent period that included the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan and the Iranian hostage crisis. He later said that he considered the failed attempt to rescue the hostages, in which eight U.S. service members died, his “greatest regret and most painful lesson learned.”
Brown successfully campaigned to increase the Pentagon budget during his term, despite skepticism inside the White House and Congress. He also oversaw efforts to modernize U.S. defense systems with weapons that included precision-guided cruise missiles, stealth aircraft, advanced satellite surveillance and improved communications and intelligence systems.