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The 13th and 21st U.S. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld recently completed writing his number one New York Times bestselling memoir, Known and Unknown. Published in February 2011, the book spans his career and includes extensive primary documentation, much of which has been made public on a supporting website, www.rumsfeld.com.
He currently chairs a non-profit foundation with his wife, Joyce. The Rumsfeld Foundation (www.rumsfeldfoundation.org) supports leadership and public service at home and the growth of free political and free economic systems abroad. The Rumsfeld Foundation funds microfinance projects, fellowships for graduate students interested in public service, the development of linkages between young leaders from Central Asia and the Caucasus and the United States, and charitable causes that benefit the men and women of the U.S. armed forces and their families. His proceeds from the sales of Known and Unknown go to the military charities sponsored by the Rumsfeld Foundation.
Mr. Rumsfeld completed his second tour as Secretary of Defense in December 2006. A former naval aviator, Secretary Rumsfeld previously served as U.S. Congressman, U.S. Ambassador to NATO, White House Chief of Staff, Special Presidential Envoy to the Middle East, and chief executive officer of two Fortune 500 companies.
Secretary Rumsfeld led the Defense Department in response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, to include the liberation of Afghanistan from the Taliban and Al Qaeda and the liberation of Iraq from the regime of Saddam Hussein, and overseeing the reform and transformation of America's military to be better able to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.
Mr. Rumsfeld attended Princeton University (B.A., 1954) on scholarships. He served in the U.S. Navy (1954-57), and was all-Navy wrestling champion and a captain in the Naval Reserve. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois in 1962, at the age of 30. He resigned in his fourth term in 1969 to join President Nixon’s Cabinet, where he served successively as the Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity, Director of the Economic Stabilization Program, Counsellor to the President, and U.S. Ambassador to NATO.
In August 1974, he was called back to Washington, D.C. to chair the transition to the Presidency of Gerald R. Ford. He later served as White House Chief of Staff and a member of the Cabinet (1974-1975), and as the 13th U.S. Secretary of Defense, the youngest in the country's history (1975-1977).
From 1977 to 1985 he served as Chief Executive Officer, President, and later Chairman of G.D. Searle & Co., an international pharmaceutical company. The successful turnaround there earned him awards as the Outstanding Chief Executive Officer in the Pharmaceutical Industry from the Wall Street Transcript (1980) and Financial World (1981). Mr. Rumsfeld served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of General Instrument Corporation from 1990 to 1993. Until being sworn in as the 21st Secretary of Defense, Mr. Rumsfeld served as Chairman of the Board of Gilead Sciences, Inc., a pharmaceutical company.
Throughout his business career, Mr. Rumsfeld continued his public service in a variety of posts, including President Reagan’s Special Presidential Envoy on the Law of the Seas Treaty, Special Envoy to the Middle East, chairman of the U.S. Ballistic Missile Threat Commission in 1998, and chairman of the Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization.