Thomas C. Reed
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 the National Reconnaissance Office, an organization whose very existence was held to be secret until the end of the Cold War. During the eighties, Reed was a Special Assistant to President Reagan for National Security Policy. His technical background includes nuclear weapon design at Livermore and low-temperature physics.
Reed graduated from Cornell University with a degree in engineering and an ROTC commission into the U.S. Air Force. He began his professional career at the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division in Los Angeles during the 1950s, the years of Sputnik and the missile gap.
After earning a graduate degree from the University of Southern California, he moved to Lawrence Livermore where he designed two thermonuclear devices fired over the Pacific in the Dominic test series of 1962. On leaving Livermore, Reed started and ran a successful high-tech company making superconductors.
In 1973 Reed was recruited to manage certain intelligence projects at the Pentagon in connection with the Yom Kippur War then raging in the Mideast. A decade of involvement in national security matters followed. Reed left Washington in 1983 to return to business pursuits, but throughout the years of Soviet collapse, Reed continued to advise the Joint Strategic Planning Staff on policy and intelligence matters.
Reed was born in New York City. His first book, At the Abyss: An Insider’s History of the Cold War, with an 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 more recent book, The Nuclear Express: a Political History of the Bomb and its Proliferation, was published by Zenith Press in 2009. It was favorably reviewed by William J. Broad of The New York Times on December 9, 2008. Reed was the principal authority appearing in the National Geographic Channel’s Secret History of the Atom Bomb, first aired April 15, 2010.
Mr. Reed lives in Healdsburg, California, with his wife Kay.