Dept. of Homeland Security Under Secretary for Science and Technology: Who Is Reggie Brothers?
L. Reginald Brothers was confirmed by the Senate on April 7, 2014, to lead the Directorate for Science and Technology in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In that role, Brothers will manage all DHS research and development efforts. President Barack Obama nominated Brothers for the position on January 30, 2014.
Brothers’ father, Lou, served in World War II with the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, the first African-American paratroopers. Because of segregation, the unit did not serve in combat. However, they did serve as smoke jumpers in the Pacific Northwest, parachuting into the forest to fight fires caused by Japanese “fire balloons,” released from Japan and set to land in the United States.
Brothers, 54, attended Beaver Country Day School in Brookline, Massachusetts. He went to Tufts University, earning a B.S. in electrical engineering in 1984. He then started work for Texas Instruments in Dallas. After four years there, during which time he earned his MSEE at Southern Methodist University, Brothers left for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory. At MIT, he worked in the areas of radio frequency and optical communications, or the science of using light waves to carry information. Brothers worked at the Lincoln Lab until 1999, earning his Ph.D. in optical communications at MIT in 1997.
In 1999, Brothers went to work for a startup electronics company, Envoy Networks, as their chief architect. Brothers left for the Charles Draper Laboratory in 2001 to work on wireless communications.
Brothers left the Draper Lab later that year to work at the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), a research organization established to maintain the U.S. military’s technological preeminence. Brothers’ work centered on wireless communications and precision navigation and targeting, including a program that helps pilots land planes in sandy conditions.
In 2007, Brothers returned to the private sector, joining defense contractor BAE Systems, working on advanced programs and technology.
Brothers joined the Obama administration in 2011 as deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Research. In that role, he was responsible for policy and oversight of Department of Defense Science and Technology programs from basic research through advanced technology development.
Brothers and his wife, Cynthia Tinajero, have a daughter, Jasmine. In 2006, Tinajero founded Mamistad, a network for first-time mothers.
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