Doug Brook (MPA '67) recognized with Neil Staebler Alumni Service Award

October 12, 2009

One of the highlights of the late-September Ford School Alumni Reunion Weekend was the presentation of the Neil Staebler Alumni Service Award to Dr. Douglas A. Brook (MPA '67). Brook was given the award in recognition of a very distinguished career in public service.

"I'm honored to receive the Staebler award," said Brook. "It's a recognition not so much of my accomplishments as it is an acknowledgement of the opportunities the Ford School opens to all of us for lives in public service."

The award is a program of the Neil Staebler Political Education Fund at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. This fund was established in 1987 to honor Neil Staebler (1905-2000), one of Michigan’s leading political activists, whose public life was devoted to improving democratic government by increasing the participation of citizens in all aspects of public affairs.

Dr. Brook, or Doug as he is known to many, has had the sort of career that demonstrates the flexibility and potential reach of a public policy degree. Shortly after graduating with his MPA from what was then the Institute for Public Administration at the University of Michigan, Brook took a position with the U.S. Naval Reserve as a Supply Corps Officer. He was with the Naval Reserve until 1998, retiring at the rank of Captain.

During that period, Brook also held a number of positions in the private sector and the federal government, including four presidential appointments – two confirmed by Senate. This past January, he stepped down after a two year stint as Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management & Comptroller). Previous posts included Acting Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller), Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management & Comptroller), and Director of the Office of Personnel Management.

In 2001, Brook received his Ph.D. from George Mason University and went on to enter the world of academia, first as an Affiliate Assistant Professor and Senior Fellow at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), and later as the Dean and Professor of Public Policy. He currently serves as the Director of Center for Defense Management Research at NPS.

Brook received enthusiastic nominations from a number of Ford School community members. "I had the privilege of working with Dr. Brook as an intern during the summer of 2006," notes one of Brook’s nominators, Katherine Walsh (MPP '07). "While under his direction I was able to collaborate on a best practices report about business transformation for the Navy. Dr. Brook encouraged me to take classes at the Naval Postgraduate School (during work hours) so that I could expand my understanding and appreciation for public policy work set in a context vastly different from my past experiences. I can think of no one more deserving of this award than Dr. Doug Brook."

Doug Brook will have the opportunity to enrich the Ford School community in another way this year. For six weeks of the fall semester Brook will be back in Ann Arbor as the Harry A. and Margaret D. Towsley Policymaker in Residence. He’ll teach a fully-subscribed course called "Elements of Public Budgeting" and will deliver a public lecture. The lecture, titled "Budgeting for National Security: How Much Should We Spend?" will take place on Monday, November 2, 2009 from 4:00–5:30 pm with a reception afterwards.

"Doug exemplifies the sort of meaningful public service that marks the careers of so many of our alumni," notes Joan and Sanford Weill Dean of Public Policy Susan M. Collins. "We're proud of our alumni and very much welcome the opportunity the Staebler Award gives us to celebrate their accomplishments." Past Staebler Award winners include Bev Godwin (MPP '82), Donald Borut (MPA '65), Robert N. McKerr (MPA '58), and Frank Spence (MPA '60).