Henry S. “Harry” Rowen, Hoover Institution senior fellow, Professor Emeritus of Public Policy and Management at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, and recipient of the United States Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal, passed away November 12, 2015, at the age of 90. Harry’s work in policy, public service, and academia spanned 6 decades and yielded countless contributions to our understanding of international economics, security, and development. His strength in advancing Hoover’s mission and reputation was inimitable.


“The Hoover Institution mourns the loss of a devoted public servant and friend. It is with sadness that we reflect upon a man whose contributions to the international community made our world a better place.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”


Henry S. Rowen was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1925. He completed a bachelor of science in Industrial Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and went on to receive a masters degree in economics at Oxford University.

He began his professional career as an economist for the RAND Corporation, where he returned in 1967 to lead for five years as President. Harry also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs from 1961-1964, Assistant Director of the United States Bureau of the Budget from 1965-1966, Chairman of the U.S. National Intelligence Council from 1981-1983, and as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs from 1989-1991. More recently, he spent time on the Secretary of Defense Policy Advisory Board, and the Presidential Commission on Intelligence of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Harry was a noted expert on international security, economic development, and the rise of high-tech industry. He served as director of the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, codirected Stanford University’s Program on Regions of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and was a member of the International Institute of Strategic Studies and the Council of Foreign Relations.

Among his many contributions to policy analysis was his insight that for much of the Cold War, the Soviet Union’s military might concealed fundamental economic weakness.  Along with co-editors Charles Wolf Jr., and Jeanne Tayler, Harry compiled a volume of essays on this topic: The Soviet Union as Military Giant and Economic Weakling, published by the Hoover Institution Press in 1990.

His recent research focused on the advent of high-tech enterprise in Asia. His latest publication was “China: Big Changes Coming Soon” (Policy Review, December 2011/January 2012). Other publications (coedited) include MAKING IT: The Rise of Asia in Information Technologies (Stanford University Press, 2007); The Silicon Valley Edge: A Habitat for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (2000); Behind East Asian Growth: The Political and Social Foundations of Prosperity (1998); and Defense Conversion, Economic Reform, and the Outlook for the Russian and Ukrainian Economies (1994), with Charles Wolf and Jeanne Zlotnick.

Harry’s contributions to the Hoover Institution as scholar, and a friend, were of tremendous value. He will be sorely missed.


Remembering Henry Rowen

"Henry S. Rowen, Stanford business professor and U.S. policymaker, dies at 90," via Stanford News.
Henry Rowen, public policy leader on defense matters, dies at 90," via Washington Post
"Henry S. Rowen, A eulogy for a Cold Warrior who helped defeat the Soviets," via Wall Street Journal
"Henry S. Rowen, Second President of RAND, Dies at 90," via Rand Corporation

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