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In this two-part interview, David Zierler, Oral Historian for AIP, interviews Victor Reis, formerly of the Department of Energy. In part I, Reis recounts his childhood in New York City, his education at Brooklyn Tech, his undergraduate experience at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), his enrollment in the Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC), and his graduate work in electrical engineering at Yale University, where his dissertation focused on supersonic flow. Reis describes his work at the Ames Research Center where he focused on aeronautics, his work on missile systems with the Anti-Missile Research Advisory Council (AMRAC), and his decision to join Lincoln Laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Reis explains his research on space lasers, and the factors leading to his decision to join the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Reis provides a broad view of science policy in Washington, his consulting work at Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC), and his work at Deputy Director of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). In the final portion of the first interview, Reis discusses his work as the Assistant Secretary of Energy for the Department of Energy Defense Program.