Clements Center
Clements Center

The Hon. Thomas C. Reed

Former Secretary of the Air Force

Thomas C. Reed is a former Secretary of the Air Force, having served in that capacity during the Ford and Carter administrations. In the mid-seventies Reed was the youngest-ever Director of the once-covert National Reconnaissance Office, responsible for all US satellite intelligence systems, both photographic and electronic, during the Cold War. During the eighties, Reed served as Special Assistant to President Reagan for National Security Polciy. His technical background includes nuclear weapon design and low-temperature physics.

After warning a graduate degree from the University of Southern California, Reed moved to Lawrence Livermore where he designed two thermonuclear devices fired over the Pacific in 1962. On leaving Livermore, Reed started and ran a successful high-tech company making superconductors, but he also developed an interest in politics. In 1966 Reed became the Northern California chair of Ronald Reagan's initial gubernatorial race. he served as chief of personnel in the Governor's first administration and in 1970 assumed full responsibility for Governor Reagan's re-election as his statewide co-chair and campaign director.

In 1973 Reed was recruited to manage certain intelligence projects at the Pentagon in connection with the Yom Kippur War then raging in the Middle East. A decade of involvement in national security matters followed. Reed left Washington in 1963 to return to business pursuits, but throughout the years of Soviet collapse, Reed continued to advise the Join Strategic Planning Staff on policy and intelligence matters.

During the nineties Reed spent time in Ukraine, assisting with the return of abandoned Soviet nuclear weapons to Russian control. With the coming of the millennium, he turned his attention to writing, to documenting the history of the Cold War and its principal players.

Reed was born in New York City. His first book, At the Abyss: An Insider' History of the Old War with and introduction by Former President George H.W. Bush was published by Ballantine Books in 2004. It delves into the lives of those who fought and ended the Cold War without a nuclear shot being fired.

His second work, The Nuclear Express: A Political History of the Bomb and Its Proliferation was co-authored by Danny Stillman, a former chief of technical intelligence at Los Alamos. It was published by Zenith Press in 2009, with a favorable review by William J. Broad, science editor of the New York Times, prior to publication.

Reed lvies in Healdsburg, California, with his wife Kay.