Donald Rumsfeld is the 21st Secretary of Defense

Prior to taking his latest post in government, Rumsfeld served since 1993 as chairman of Gilead Sciences, Inc.  

Rumsfeld served as chairman and chief executive officer of General Instrument Corporation from 1990 to 1993. A leader in broadband transmission, distribution, and access control technologies for cable, satellite and terrestrial broadcasting applications, the company pioneered the development of the first all-digital high definition television (HDTV) technology.  For five years prior to that, he worked in a private business practice.

During his business career, Rumsfeld performed public service in a variety of posts, including, chairman of the Commission on the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States;
member of the U.S. Trade Deficit Review Commission; and chairman of the U.S. Commission to Assess National Security Space Management and Organization.

Rumsfeld's civic activities included service as a member of the National Academy of Public Administration and a member of the boards of trustees of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation, the Eisenhower Exchange Fellowships, the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and the National Park Foundation. He was also a member of the U.S./Russia Business Forum and chairman of the Congressional Leadership's National Security Advisory Group; a member of the Board of Visitors of the National Defense University; the Commission on U.S./Japan Relations; and the FCC's High Definition Television Advisory Committee.

In the 1980's, Rumsfeld served under Ronald Reagan as a member of the President's General Advisory Committee on Arms Control.  He was also President Reagan's Special Envoy on the Law of the Sea Treaty; his senior advisor to the Panel on Strategic Systems; a member of the U.S. Joint Advisory Commission on U.S./Japan Relations; a special envoy to the Middle East; a member of the National Commission on the Public Service; and a member of the National Economic Commission.

From 1977 to 1985 he served as chief executive officer, president, and then chairman of G.D. Searle & Co., a worldwide pharmaceutical company. The successful turnaround there earned him awards as the Outstanding Chief Executive Officer in the Pharmaceutical Industry from The Wall Street Transcript and Financial World.

Rumsfeld served under both Presidents Ford and Nixon.  In August 1974, he was called to serve in the Ford Administration successively as chairman of the transition to the Presidency of Gerald R. Ford and chief of staff of the White House and a member of the President's Cabinet.  Later he served as the 13th U.S. Secretary of Defense, the youngest in the country's history.

In 1977, he was awarded the nation’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Rumsfeld left Washington, DC, in 1973 to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Brussels, Belgium.

Under President Nixon, Rumsfeld was director of the Office of Economic Opportunity, Assistant to the President, and a member of the President's Cabinet; and was counsellor to the President, director of the Economic Stabilization Program, and a member of the President's Cabinet.

Rumsfeld served in Nixon's cabinet following four terms as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois.  He ran for Congress at the age of 30 in 1962 after a stint with an investment banking firm

Rumsfeld first went to Washington, DC, in 1957, during the Eisenhower Administration, to serve as an administrative assistant to a Congressman.  He also served in the U.S. Navy between 1954-1957 as a Naval aviator.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1932, he attended Princeton University on scholarship, where he received his bachelor's degree.