Donald H. Rumsfeld was sworn in as the 21st Secretary of Defense on January 20, 2001. Before assuming his present post, the former Navy pilot had also served as the 13th Secretary of Defense, White House Chief of Staff, US Ambassador to NATO, US Congressman and Chief Executive Officer of two Fortune 500 companies.
Mr. Rumsfeld attended Princeton University on academic and NROTC scholarships (A.B., 1954) and served in the US Navy (1954-1957) as an aviator and flight instructor. In 1957, he transferred to the Ready Reserve and continued his Naval service in flying and administrative assignments as a drilling reservist until 1975. He transferred to the Standby Reserve when he became Secretary of Defense in 1975 and to the Retired Reserve with the rank of Captain in 1989.
In 1957, he came to Washington, DC to serve as Administrative Assistant to a Congressman. After a stint with an investment banking firm, he was elected to the US House of Representatives from Illinois in 1962, at the age of 30, and was re-elected in 1964, 1966 and 1968. Mr. Rumsfeld resigned from Congress in 1969 during his fourth term to join the President's Cabinet. From 1969-1970, he served as Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity and Assistant to the President. From 1971-1972, he was Counsellor to the President and Director of the Economic Stabilization Program. From 1973-1974, he served as the US Ambassador to NATO. In August 1974, he was called back to Washington to serve as Chairman of the transition to the Presidency of Gerald R. Ford. He then became Chief of Staff of the White House and a member of the President's Cabinet from 1974-1975. He served from 1975-1977 as the 13th US Secretary of Defense, the youngest in the country's history. From 1977-1985, he served as Chief Executive Officer, President, and then Chairman of G.D. Searle & Co. From 1985-1990, he was in private business. Mr. Rumsfeld served as Chairman and CEO of General Instrument Corporation from 1990-1993. Until being sworn in as the 21st Secretary of Defense, Mr. Rumsfeld served as Chairman of the Board of Gilead Sciences, Inc.