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Former United States secretary of defense, Donald Henry Rumsfeld, died at the age of 88. He passed away in Taos, New Mexico on June 29, 2021. The sharp and forthright architect of the Iraq war and a master Washington power player served under two presidents.
The former lawmaker was born on July 9, 1932, in Chicago, Illinois. After he graduated from Princeton University in 1954, he served three years in the U.S. Navy as an aviator. Rumsfeld was first elected into the U.S. House of Representatives in 1962. Afterward, he was re-elected three times.
Rumsfeld resigned from Congress to head President Richard Nixon’s Office of Economic Opportunity in 1969. From 1973 to 1974 he was Nixon’s emissary to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
He served as White House chief of staff for President Gerald Ford from 1974 to 1975. Then served as the secretary of defense from 1975 to 1977. He was the youngest person to ever hold the post of secretary of defense.
While working as the defense secretary Rumsfeld entrenched The Trident ballistic missile submarine, the B-1 strategic bomber, and the MX ( Peacekeeper) intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) programs.
Rumsfeld entered into the private sector after Jimmy Carter beat Ford in the presidential election. He was the president, CEO, and later the chairman of G.D. Searl & Co. — a pharmaceutical firm — from 1977 to 1985.
From 1990-93 he was the CEO and chairman of General Instrument Corp. He later served as chairman of Gilead Science, Inc. He also chaired the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missle Threat to the U.S.
In 1998, the commission released a document commonly referred to as the “Rumsfeld report.” This report claimed that a so-called rogue state such as Iran or North Korea could possibly build a ballistic missile. A missile that could be capable of striking the U.S. within five years. This report spurred debate over proposals to create a national missile defense system.
He became secretary of defense under President George Walker Bush in 2001. Rumsfeld continued to support the national missile defense system while he sought to streamline and modernize the military. When the Sept. 11, 2001 attack happened, he helped rescue victims out of the burning Pentagon.
At the time of his death, he was surrounded by his family. A cause of death has not been provided.
Written by Sheena
CNN: Donald Rumsfeld, former secretary of defense, dies at 88; by Stephen Collinson and Paul LeBlanc
Britannica: Donald Rumsfeld
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