Absolute spectrophotometric measurements of diffuse radiation at 1 μm to 2 μm are crucial to our understanding of the radiative content of the universe from nucleosynthesis since the epoch of reionization, the composition and structure of the zodiacal dust cloud in our solar system, and the diffuse galactic light arising from starlight scattered by interstellar dust. The Low Resolution Spectrometer (LRS) on the rocket-borne Cosmic Infrared Background Experiment is a λ/Δλ ∼ 15-30 absolute spectrophotometer designed to make precision measurements of the absolute near-infrared sky brightness between 0.75 μm <λ < 2.1 μm. This paper presents the optical, mechanical, and electronic design of the LRS, as well as the ground testing, characterization, and calibration measurements undertaken before flight to verify its performance. The LRS is shown to work to specifications, achieving the necessary optical and sensitivity performance. We describe our understanding and control of sources of systematic error for absolute photometry of the near-infrared extragalactic background light. © 2013. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.