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Rumsfeld Takes Pentagon Helm

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 22, 2001 – For the second time in his career, Donald H. Rumsfeld has taken the helm at the Pentagon.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Donald H. Rumsfeld takes the oath of office as the 21st secretary of defense from David O. Cooke (left) as his wife, Joyce, holds the Bible. The Jan. 20, 2001, ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building marks Rumsfeld's return to the Pentagon, where he was secretary from 1975 to 1977. Cooke is the director of Administration and Management at the Department of Defense. White House Photo by Hyungwon Kang.

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

David O. Cooke, DoD's director of administration and management, swore in Rumsfeld as the nation's 21st defense secretary at 6:10 p.m. Jan. 20 at the Old Executive Office Building here. Rumsfeld previously served as the nation's 13th defense secretary, from 1975 to 1977 during the Ford administration.

"I am grateful to the president for the opportunity to serve again as secretary of defense," he said, following the ceremony. "I look forward to working with the dedicated and talented men and women who serve in the armed forces and the civilian ranks of the department."

During Jan. 11 confirmation hearings before the Senate Armed Service Committee, Rumsfeld said he would follow President Bush's three overarching goals for bringing U.S. armed forces into the 21st century.

"First, we must strengthen the bond of trust with the American military," Rumsfeld said. "The brave and dedicated men and women who serve in our country's uniform -- active, Guard and Reserve -- must get the best support their country can possibly provide them so that we can continue to call on the best people in the decades to come."

Second, he said, the United States must develop capabilities to defend against missiles and terrorism, and newer threats aimed against space assets and information systems. "The American people, our forces abroad and our friends and allies must be protected against the threats which modern technology and its proliferation confront us," he said.

Third, DoD must take advantage of the new possibilities that the ongoing technological revolution offers to create the military of the next century, he continued.

Rumsfeld said at the hearings that one of his first duties as secretary would be to order a comprehensive review of U.S. defense policy. This would be in addition to the congressionally mandated Quadrennial Defense Review.

"This review will be aimed at making certain that we have a sound understanding of the state of the U.S. forces and their readiness to meet the 21st century security environment," he said.

Prior to accepting President George W. Bush's appointment to head the military, Rumsfeld served as the nonexecutive chairman of the board of directors of Gilead Sciences, Inc. and on the board of directors of Asea Brown Boveri Ltd. and Amylin Pharmaceuticals.

He was chairman of the Salomon Smith Barney International Advisory Board and served as adviser to a number of companies. Prior to his business career, Rumsfeld, at age 30, won election as a congressman from Illinois in 1962 and was re-elected in 1964, 1966 and 1968.

Rumsfeld went on to serve in the Nixon administration as an economic adviser. He served as U.S. ambassador to NATO in Brussels, Belgium, from 1973 to 1974 and returned to Washington to serve President Ford as White House chief of staff and then as defense secretary.

Even during his career in private business, Rumsfeld continued public service in a variety of posts. Most recently, he was chairman of the Commission on the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States and chairman of the U.S. Commission to Assess National Security Space Management and Organization.

Born in Chicago in 1932, he attended Princeton University on scholarship, served in the Navy from 1954 to 1957 as a naval aviator and was an all-Navy wrestling champion.

Rumsfeld and his wife, Joyce, have three children and five grandchildren. Joyce Rumsfeld is the founding chair of the Chicago Foundation for Education.

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Related Sites:
Secretary Rumsfeld biography

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