This paper proposes an optimization based method of planning reactive power control for electric transmission systems to endow them with the capability of being reconfigured to a secure configuration under a list of contingencies. The overall objective function is to minimize the installation cost of new controls such as mechanically switched capacitors, while satisfying the requirements of voltage stability margin and voltage magnitude under a contingency list. The backward/forward search algorithm with linear complexity is used to select candidate locations for switched capacitors. Optimal locations and amounts of new switch controls are obtained by solving a sequence of mixed integer programming problems. The modified New England 39-bus system and a North American power system with 6358 buses are adopted to illustrate the effectiveness of the proposed method.