Bush Selects Rumsfeld for Another Term as Secretary of DefenseBoth Men Stress Importance of Missile Defense System
(Source : US State Department ; issued Dec. 28, 2000)
WASHINGTON---President-elect George W. Bush has chosen Donald Rumsfeld, a veteran of several prior Republican administrations, to be his secretary of defense.
Rumsfeld, who was the youngest defense secretary when he served in the post previously under President Ford, would be returning to the Pentagon after an absence of almost a quarter century.
It had been widely speculated that Bush would name Rumsfeld, now 68, to head the Central Intelligence Agency, but his choice for defense came as something of a surprise. The Secretary-designate joked about this in his remarks at a joint news conference after Bush announced his selection December 28, saying he looked forward to working with "the very fine national security team" that includes Vice President-elect Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, "and your director of central intelligence, whoever that may be."
"And I guess we can confirm today, Mr. President-elect, that it's not me," he said.
Introducing Rumsfeld, Bush said "This is a man who has got great judgment, he has got strong vision, and he's going to be a great secretary of defense -- again."
Rumsfeld first came on the national scene as a member of the House of Representatives from Illinois, winning election at the age of 30 in 1962.
He served as director of the Office of Economic Opportunity and as U.S. ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization under President Nixon, White House chief of staff in the Ford administration before his first term as defense secretary, and as a special envoy to the Middle East in the Reagan administration.
Bush took the occasion of the Rumsfeld selection announcement to restate and expand on some of his views on the United States' military posture, starting with a comment that "the foundation of peace is to have a military ready to keep the peace, ready for every danger, equal to every challenge."
He cited three goals for the nation's defense: "One is to strengthen the bond of trust between the American President and those who wear our nation's uniform. Secondly is to defend our people and allies against missiles and terror. And thirdly is to begin creating a military prepared for the dangers of a new century."
With respect to the contentious issue of missile defense, Bush declared that "to defend our forces and allies and our own country from the threat of missile attack or accidental launch, we must develop a missile defense system."
He indicated that he had chosen Rumsfeld in part because he was impressed with his work as chairman of the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States, which in 1998 evaluated the nation's vulnerability to missile attack.
"I felt he did an extraordinary job with a delicate assignment," Bush said. "He brought people together who understand the realities of the modern world. In picking Don Rumsfeld, we'll have a person who is thoughtful and considerate and wise on the subject of missile defense."
Rumsfeld, in his response, termed the start of the 21st century "clearly not a time at the Pentagon for presiding or calibrating modestly.
"Rather, we are in a new national security environment," he said, one that requires careful attention to "information warfare, missile defense, terrorism, defense of our space assets and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction throughout the world.
"History teaches us that weakness is provocative," Rumsfeld said. "The task you have outlined is to fashion deterrence and defense capabilities, so that our country will be able to successfully contribute to peace and stability in the world." (ends)
Personal Profile of Donald Rumsfeld
(Source : US State Department ; issued Dec. 28, 2000)
WASHINGTON---Donald Rumsfeld, President-elect George W. Bush's choice to be his new Secretary of Defense, is a former member of Congress who also served as defense secretary during the Ford administration.
In announcing his selection, Bush cited Rumsfeld as "a man of extraordinary experience and integrity," and said he "will command the respect of our soldiers and sailors. As a former Naval aviator and Secretary of Defense, he knows the challenges awaiting him and will do an outstanding job of strengthening and modernizing our armed forces."
Rumsfeld began his political career in 1957, serving as an administrative assistant to an Ohio congressman. In 1962, at the age of 30, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from the state of Illinois. He retired from Congress in 1969 to serve in the Nixon administration as director of the Office of Economic Opportunity, assistant to the President, and a member of the President's cabinet. In 1971, he accepted the position of counselor to the President and director of the Economic Stabilization Program.
In 1973, Rumsfeld left Washington, D.C. to serve as U.S. ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Brussels, Belgium. He was called back to Washington in 1974 to serve as chairman of the transition to the presidency of Gerald Ford. After completing those duties, he served as President Ford's chief of staff and a member of the President's cabinet. In 1975, he became the thirteenth U.S. Secretary of Defense, the youngest in United States history.
From 1977 to 1985, Rumsfeld served as chief executive officer, president, and then chairman of G.D. Searle & Company, a worldwide pharmaceutical company. He served as chairman and chief executive officer of General Instrument Corporation, which pioneered the development of the first all-digital high definition television (HDTV) technology, from 1990 to 1993.
Throughout his business career, Rumsfeld continued his public service in a variety of posts. During the Reagan administration, he served as an advisor to the U.S. Departments of State and Defense, and as a member of the President's General Advisory Committee on Arms Control. From 1998 to 1999, he served as chairman of the U.S. Ballistic Missile Threat Commission and most recently, from 1999 to 2000, he was a member of the U.S. Trade Deficit Review Commission.
Rumsfeld currently works in private business and serves as chairman of the board of directors of Gilead Sciences, Inc. He is chairman of the U.S. Commission to Assess National Security Space Management and Organization, and of the congressional leadership's National Security Advisory Group.
Rumsfeld was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1932. He attended Princeton University on scholarship and, from 1954 to 1957, served in the U.S. Navy as an aviator. He and his wife Joyce have three children and five grandchildren.