Joseph Samuel Hoover, 74, a former principal deputy assistant secretary of Defense (comptroller) and a retired brigadier general in the Air Force reserves, died June 10 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He had diabetes.

He began his government career in 1930 with the Census Bureau. In 1942, he became a special assistant to the administrator of the Farm Security Administration. He was named deputy budget director for the Air Force in 1949, and in 1961 became deputy assistant secretary of Defense for budget affairs. He became principal deputy assistant secretary in 1966, and retired from the Pentagon two years later.

He was a recipient of the Air Force's Exceptional Civilian Service Award and the Defense Department's Distinguished Civilian Service Award.

Gen. Hoover had served on active duty with the Army Air Forces during World War II, and retired from the reserves in 1969. His military decorations included the Legion of Merit.

After retiring from the government, he worked for a time with the Girl Scouts Coucil of the National Capital Area and the Archdiocese of Washington's board of education.

Gen. Hoover was a native of Washington. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees at Benjamin Franklin University and was a graduate of the Georgetown University law school.

Survivors include his wife, the former Miriam Zimmerman, a son, Joseph Jr., and a daughter, Marie Hoover, all of Washington.