Donald Rumsfeld

Donald Henry Rumsfeld (July 9, 1932 – June 29, 2021) was an American politician, government official and businessman who served as Secretary of Defense from 1975 to 1977 under Gerald Ford, and again from 2001 to 2006 under George W. Bush.[1][2] He was both the youngest and the oldest secretary of defense.[3] Additionally, Rumsfeld was a three-term U.S. Congressman from Illinois (1963–1969), director of the Office of Economic Opportunity (1969–1970), counselor to the president (1969–1973), the U.S. Representative to NATO (1973–1974), and the White House Chief of Staff (1974–1975). Between his terms as secretary of defense, he served as the CEO and chairman of several companies.

Donald Rumsfeld
Rumsfeld in 2001
13th and 21st United States Secretary of Defense
In office
January 20, 2001  December 18, 2006
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byWilliam Cohen
Succeeded byRobert Gates
In office
November 20, 1975  January 20, 1977
PresidentGerald Ford
DeputyBill Clements
Preceded byJames Schlesinger
Succeeded byHarold Brown
6th White House Chief of Staff
In office
September 21, 1974  November 20, 1975
PresidentGerald Ford
Preceded byAlexander Haig
Succeeded byDick Cheney
9th United States Ambassador to NATO
In office
February 2, 1973  September 21, 1974
Preceded byDavid Kennedy
Succeeded byDavid Bruce
Director of the Cost of Living Council
In office
October 15, 1971  February 2, 1973
PresidentRichard Nixon
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Counselor to the President
In office
December 11, 1970  October 15, 1971
Serving with Robert Finch
PresidentRichard Nixon
Preceded by
Succeeded byRobert Finch
3rd Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity
In office
May 27, 1969  December 11, 1970
PresidentRichard Nixon
Preceded byBertrand Harding
Succeeded byFrank Carlucci
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 13th district
In office
January 3, 1963  March 20, 1969
Preceded byMarguerite Church
Succeeded byPhil Crane
Personal details
Donald Henry Rumsfeld

(1932-07-09)July 9, 1932
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
DiedJune 29, 2021(2021-06-29) (aged 88)
Taos, New Mexico, U.S.
Resting placeArlington National Cemetery
Political partyRepublican
Joyce Pierson
(m. 1954)
WebsiteLibrary website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch United States Navy
Years of service
Rank Captain

Born in Illinois, Rumsfeld attended Princeton University, graduating in 1954 with a degree in political science. After serving in the Navy for three years, he mounted a campaign for Congress in Illinois's 13th Congressional District, winning in 1962 at the age of 30. While in Congress, he was a leading co-sponsor of the Freedom of Information Act. Rumsfeld accepted an appointment by President Richard Nixon to head the Office of Economic Opportunity in 1969; appointed counsellor by Nixon and entitled to Cabinet-level status, he also headed up the Economic Stabilization Program before being appointed ambassador to NATO. Called back to Washington in August 1974, Rumsfeld was appointed chief of staff by President Ford. Rumsfeld recruited a young one-time staffer of his, Dick Cheney, to succeed him when Ford nominated him to be Secretary of Defense in 1975. When Ford lost the 1976 election, Rumsfeld returned to private business and financial life, and was named president and CEO of the pharmaceutical corporation G. D. Searle & Company. He was later named CEO of General Instrument from 1990 to 1993 and chairman of Gilead Sciences from 1997 to 2001.

Rumsfeld was appointed Secretary of Defense for a second time in January 2001 by President George W. Bush. As Secretary of Defense, Rumsfeld played a central role in the invasion of Afghanistan and invasion of Iraq. Before and during the Iraq War, he claimed that Iraq had an active weapons of mass destruction program; yet no stockpiles were ever found.[4][5] A Pentagon Inspector General report found that Rumsfeld's top policy aide "developed, produced, and then disseminated alternative intelligence assessments on the Iraq and al Qaida relationship, which included some conclusions that were inconsistent with the consensus of the Intelligence Community, to senior decision-makers".[6] Rumsfeld's tenure was controversial for its use of torture and the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal.[7] Rumsfeld gradually lost political support and resigned in late 2006. In his retirement years, he published an autobiography, Known and Unknown, as well as Rumsfeld's Rules: Leadership Lessons in Business, Politics, War, and Life. He died on June 29, 2021, at the age of 88.[8]