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Rumsfeld Tapped to Lead Pentagon

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 29, 2000 – President-elect George W. Bush nominated Donald H. Rumsfeld as defense secretary.

If confirmed by the Senate this will be Rumsfeld’s second tour at the Pentagon. He was secretary in the Ford Administration from 1975 to 1977.

Rumsfeld, 68, would succeed William S. Cohen. “He’s going to be a great secretary of defense -- again,” said Bush during the announcement Dec. 28.

During the announcement, Bush said he wants to restructure the department to make forces more mobile. During the campaign, Bush said he would look into skipping generations of military hardware to ensure U.S. forces have the best weaponry. Bush also reiterated that he would add $1 billion to the budget for a higher military pay raise.

Rumsfeld will preside over the next Quadrennial Defense Review. “One of Secretary Rumsfeld’s first tasks will be to challenge the status quo inside the Pentagon, to develop a strategy necessary to have a force equipped for warfare in the 21st Century,” Bush said.

Bush called Rumsfeld “a decisive leader” who will work well with the rest of the National Security experts in the administration. Bush has nominated former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Colin Powell as secretary of state and Condoleezza Rice as national security advisor. In addition, Vice President-elect Dick Cheney also served as defense secretary.

Rumsfeld is from Illinois and served in the administration of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. He is a former Navy fighter pilot and Illinois congressman. He was U.S. ambassador to NATO.

Since leaving the Ford administration he served as the chief executive officer of the pharmaceutical company G.D. Searle in Skokie, Ill. until 1985. He was also chairman of General Instrument Corp.

He has kept close to national security issues. In 1998, he chaired the U.S. Ballistic Missile Threat Commission. The Rumsfeld Report concluded that rogue nations could threaten the United States with ballistic missiles topped with weapons of mass destruction. Two months after the report, North Korea launched a missile over Japan that underscored the threat.

He is a trustee of the Rand Corp.

Rumsfeld was born in Chicago in 1932. He graduated from Princeton in 1954 and went into the Navy. He married Joyce Pierson and they have three children.

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Related Sites:
Biography: Donald H. Rumsfeld

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