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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 partner with the Historical Office of the Secretary of Defense 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 Secretary of Defense Harold Brown; Robert O. Work, former Deputy Secretary of Defense; and the moderator for today’s discussion, Edward Keefer, author of that volume.

But before we get started, I want to alert you to two other programs coming up soon here in the McGowan Theater.

Tomorrow at noon, we will screen the recent documentary Democracy’s Messengers: The Never-Before-Told Story of Young Americans on Capitol Hill, about the history of pages in Congress and at the Supreme Court. Following the screening, Producer Jerry Papazian will moderate a discussion with former pages Frank Mitchell, Jonathan Turley, and Camilla Bosanquet.

On Wednesday, March 7 at noon, author Jeanne E. Abrams will be here to discuss and sign her new book, First Ladies of the Republic: Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Dolley Madison, and the Creation of an Iconic American Role.

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.

Erin R. Mahan has been chief historian for the Office of the Secretary of Defense since 2010. 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.