Ambassador Henry Cooper
Former Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization
2010 Ronald Reagan Award Winner
Ambassador Henry F. (Hank) Cooper is Chairman of the Board of High Frontier, a non-profit, non-partisan educational corporation, formed to examine the potential for defending America against missile attack. Founded by General Daniel O. Graham in the early 1980's, High Frontier played a key role in developing the framework for President Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). Under Ambassador Cooper's direction, High Frontier continues to inform the nation of the growing threat of ballistic missiles and of the need for a workable missile defense.
Ambassador Cooper has had a long and distinguished career in service to his country. He was Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO) during the Bush administration. Prior to becoming SDIO's first civilian director, he conducted a major independent review of the SDI program and related policy issues for Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, the results of which were instrumental in reversing the SDI funding cuts Congress had mandated in the preceding several years. Previously, he was President Reagan's Chief Negotiator at the Geneva Defense and Space Talks, successfully defending SDI in these negotiations with the now defunct Soviet Union.
Ambassador Cooper also led the development of President Reagan's space arms control policy while serving as Assistant Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force earlier in the Reagan Administration, he helped institute the 1981 Strategic Modernization Program. Much earlier in his career, he was Scientific Advisor at the Air Force Weapons Laboratory, now Phillips Laboratory, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
He is also Chairman of Applied Research Associates, Senior Associate of the National Institute for Public Policy, and Visiting Fellow at the Heritage Foundation. Previously in the private sector, he was Senior Vice President of Jaycor, Deputy Director of the Nuclear Weapons Effects Division at R&D Associates, member of the technical staff at Bell Laboratories, and an instructor at Clemson University.
Author of over 100 technical and policy publications, Ambassador Cooper holds a Ph.D. from New York University in mechanical engineering, and BS and MS degrees from Clemson University, also in mechanical engineering. He and his wife Bobbye, have two daughters, Laura and Cynthia, a son, Scott, and eight grandchildren.
As a respected engineer, program manager, and negotiator who understands technology and its policy ramifications, and brings both technical and political expertise to High Frontier.