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Welcome Remarks for "Harold Brown: Offsetting the Soviet Military Challenge, 1977–1981"

Good afternoon, and welcome to the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and I’m very pleased you could join us for today’s discussion, whether you’re here with us in the theater or joining through YouTube and C-SPAN.

Today we are pleased to collaborate with the Secretary of Defense Historical Office to present a roundtable discussion related to the ninth volume in the Secretaries of Defense Historical Series, Harold Brown: Offsetting the Soviet Military Challenge, 1977–1981. We are honored to be joined by our special guests, former Secretaries of Defense Harold Brown and William Perry, historian Eliot Cohen, and the moderator for today’s discussion, Edward Keefer, author of the aforementioned book.

But before we get started, I want to tell you about two other programs coming up soon at the McGowan Theater and on our YouTube channel.

On Thursday, December 7, at 7 p.m., we present the next public discussion related to “Remembering Vietnam,” our new exhibit in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery. “Conflict Journalism in South East Asia” will examine the role of television journalists during the Vietnam War, and will feature former Nightline anchor Ted Koppel and other journalists.

On Monday, December 11, at noon, Dr. Rachel Lance, an expert in biomedical engineering from Duke University, will present an illustrated lecture on her research and findings as to the fate of the Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley and her crew.

To learn more about these and all of our public programs and exhibits, consult our monthly Calendar of Events online at Archives.gov. Check our website or sign up to get email updates. You’ll also find information about other National Archives programs and activities.

Another way to get more involved with the National Archives is to become a member of the National Archives Foundation. The Foundation supports the work of the agency, especially its education and outreach programs. Pick up your application for membership in the lobby or become a member online at archivesfoundation.org.

In 2015, we presented a discussion based on the previous volume in the series, Melvin Laird and the Foundation of the Post-Vietnam Military, 1969–1973. The moderator then as today was Erin Mahan.

Since 2010 Erin R. Mahan serves as Chief Historian for the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Previously she worked in the Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction at National Defense University and in the Historian’s Office at the U.S. Department of State. At the State Department, she was an editor of several volumes in the Foreign Relations of the United States series related to Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, the former Soviet Union, the Vietnam War, and Korea. She is also the author of Kennedy, De Gaulle and Western Europe and has published several chapters and articles on biological and chemical weapons, NATO, and U.S. and French foreign economic policies during the 1960s. She was a nationally elected Council member for the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations, 2009–2011, and was appointed to the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. Dr. Mahan holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Virginia.

It is now my pleasure to welcome Dr. Mahan back to our stage to introduce our panel.