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Donald Rumsfeld

Don Rumsfeld

21st United States Secretary of Defense
In office
January 20, 2001 – December 18, 2006
President George W. Bush
Preceded by William S. Cohen
Succeeded by Robert Gates

13th United States Secretary of Defense
In office
November 20, 1975 – January 20, 1977
President Gerald Ford
Preceded by James R. Schlesinger
Succeeded by Harold Brown

6th White House Chief of Staff
In office
September 1974 – November 20, 1975
President Gerald Ford
Preceded by Alexander Haig
Succeeded by Dick Cheney

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 13th Congressional district
In office
January 3, 1963 – March 20, 1969
Preceded by Marguerite S. Church
Succeeded by Phil Crane

Born July 9 1932 (1932-07-09) (age 80)
Evanston, Illinois, U.S.
Political party Republican
Religion Presbyterian

Donald Henry 'Rummy'[1][2] Rumsfeld (born July 9 1932) is a businessman, a U.S. Republican politician, the 13th Secretary of Defense under President Gerald Ford from 1975 to 1977, and the 21st Secretary of Defense under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2006. He is both the youngest (43 years old) and the oldest (68 years old) person to have held the position, as well as the only person to have held the position for two non-consecutive terms, and the second longest serving, behind Robert McNamara.

Rumsfeld has also served in various positions under President Richard Nixon, served four terms in the United States House of Representatives, and served as United States Ambassador to NATO. Rumsfeld was an aviator in the United States Navy between 1954 and 1957 before transferring to the Reserve. In public life, he has also served as an official in numerous federal commissions and councils. ABC and BBC news consider Rumsfeld to be the most controversial defense secretary in US history.[3][4][5]


Background and family


Donald Rumsfeld was born on July 9, 1932 in Evanston, Illinois[citation needed], to George Donald Rumsfeld (Illinois, 10 October 1904 – September 1974) and Jeannette Huster (Illinois, 27 May 1903 – 3 May 1988). His great-grandfather Johann Heinrich Rumsfeld emigrated from Weyhe near Bremen in Northern Germany in 1876.[6] In Germany, the name was sometimes spelled "Rumpsfeld". Rumsfeld grew up in Winnetka, Illinois.

Rumsfeld became an Eagle Scout in 1949 and is the recipient of both the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America.[7] and their Silver Buffalo Award in 2006. He was a ranger at Philmont Scout Ranch in 1949.[8] Rumsfeld would later buy a vacation house 30 miles west of Philmont at Taos, New Mexico.[9]


Rumsfeld went to Baker Demonstration School for middle school and graduated from New Trier High School. He attended Princeton University on academic and NROTC scholarships (A.B., 1954). In extracurricular activities he was an accomplished amateur wrestler and a member of the Lightweight Football team playing defensive back. While at Princeton his roommate was another future Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci.

His Princeton University senior thesis was titled "The Steel Seizure Case of 1952 and Its Effects on Presidential Powers."[10]

In 1956 he attended Georgetown University Law Center, but did not graduate.

Domestic life

Rumsfeld married Joyce H. Pierson (born September 18, 1932) on December 27, 1954. They have three children and six grandchildren. Their three children are psychologist Valerie J. Rumsfeld Richard (born March 3, 1956), housewife Marcy K. Rumsfeld Walczak (born March 28, 1960), and Internet entrepreneur Donald Nicholas "Nick" Rumsfeld (born June 26, 1967).

Rumsfeld lives in St. Michaels, Maryland, in a former bed-and-breakfast that began its history as a plantation home named "Mount Misery."[11] The plantation is infamous as the site of the captivity of Frederick Douglass at the hands of the "slave breaker" Edward Covey.

Military service

Rumsfeld served in the U.S. Navy from 1954 to 1957 as a naval aviator and flight instructor. His initial training was in the North American SNJ Texan basic trainer after which he transitioned to flying the Grumman F9F Panther fighter. In 1957, he transferred to the Naval Reserve and continued his naval service in flying and administrative assignments as a drilling reservist until 1975. He transferred to the Individual Ready Reserve when he became Secretary of Defense in 1975 and retired with the rank of Captain in 1989."[12]

Early political career

In 1957, during the Eisenhower administration, he served as Administrative Assistant to David S. Dennison, Jr., a Congressman representing the 11th district of Ohio. In 1959, Rumsfeld then moved on to become a staff assistant to Congressman Robert P. Griffin of Michigan.[13]

After a two-year stint with investment banking firm A. G. Becker from 1960 to 1962,[14] he was elected to the United States House of Representatives for Illinois' 13th congressional district in 1962, at the age of 30, and was re-elected by large majorities in 1964, 1966, and 1968.[15]

In the Congress, he served on the Joint Economic Committee, the Committee on Science and Aeronautics, and the Government Operations Committee, as well as the Subcommittees on Military and Foreign Operations. He was also a co-founder of the Japanese-American Inter-Parliamentary Council.[16]

Rumsfeld has been associated with the Chicago School of Economics and can be seen in Milton Friedman's PBS series Free to Choose.[17]


Nixon Administration

Rumsfeld resigned from Congress in 1969 — his fourth term — to serve in the Nixon administration as Director of the United States Office of Economic Opportunity, Assistant to the President, and a member of the President's Cabinet (1969–1970); named Counselor to the President in December 1970, Director of the Economic Stabilization Program; and member of the President's Cabinet (1971–1972).

In 1971 President Nixon was recorded saying about Rumsfeld "at least Rummy is tough enough" and "He's a ruthless little bastard. You can be sure of that."[1] In February 1973, Rumsfeld left Washington to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Brussels, Belgium. He served as the United States' Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Council and the Defense Planning Committee, and the Nuclear Planning Group. In this capacity, he represented the United States in wide-ranging military and diplomatic matters.

Ford Administration


In August, 1974, he was called back to Washington to serve as transition chairman for the new president, Gerald R. Ford. He had been Ford's confidant since their days in the U.S. House when Ford was House minority leader. Later in Ford's presidency, Rumsfeld became White House Chief of Staff, where he served from 1974 to 1975. In October of 1975, Ford named Rumsfeld to become the 13th U.S. Secretary of Defense at the same time he nominated George H. W. Bush to become Director of the CIA. According to Bob Woodward's 2002 book "Bush at War," a rivalry developed between the two men and "Bush senior was convinced that Rumsfeld was pushing him out to the CIA to end his political career."[18]

At the Pentagon, Rumsfeld oversaw the transition to an all-volunteer military and, although he supported the Ford administration's efforts at détente, he sought to reverse the gradual decline in the defense budget and to build up U.S. strategic and conventional forces. He asserted, along with Team B (which he helped to set up[19]), that trends in comparative U.S.-Soviet military strength had not favored the United States for 15 to 20 years and that, if continued, they "would have the effect of injecting a fundamental instability in the world."[12]


In 1977, Rumsfeld was awarded the nation's highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.[20]

Private career

In early 1977 Rumsfeld briefly lectured at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School and Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management, in Evanston, Illinois.

From 1977 to 1985 Rumsfeld served as Chief Executive Officer, President, and then Chairman of G.D. Searle & Company, a worldwide pharmaceutical company based in Skokie, Illinois, whose products included, among others, Metamucil, Dramamine, Aspartame, and the oral contraceptive pill Enovid. During his tenure at Searle, Rumsfeld led the company's financial turnaround that in turn earned him awards as the Outstanding Chief Executive Officer in the Pharmaceutical Industry from the Wall Street Transcript (1980) and Financial World (1981). Rumsfeld is believed to have earned around $12 million from Searle's sale to Monsanto.[21]

It was under Rumsfeld that Searle got the Food and Drug Administration's approval for the controversial artificial sweetener, aspartame, which it marketed as NutraSweet.[21]

From 1985 to 1990 he was in private business. During his business career, Rumsfeld continued public service in various posts, including:

  • Member of the President's General Advisory Committee on Arms Control—Reagan Administration (1982–1986);
  • President Reagan's Special Envoy on the Law of the Sea Treaty (1982–1983);
  • Senior Advisor to President Reagan's Panel on Strategic Systems (1983–1984);
  • Member of the U.S. Joint Advisory Commission on U.S./Japan Relations—Reagan Administration (1983–1984);
  • President Reagan's Special Envoy to the Middle East (1983–1984);
  • Member of the National Commission on the Public Service (1987–1990);
  • Member of the National Economic Commission (1988–1989);
  • Member of the Board of Visitors of the National Defense University (1988–1992);
  • Chairman Emeritus, Defense Contractor, Carlyle Group (1989–2005);
  • Member of the Commission on U.S./Japan Relations (1989–1991);
  • Member of the Board of Directors for ABB Ltd. (1990–2001);
  • FCC's High Definition Television Advisory Committee (1992–1993);
  • Chairman, Commission on the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States (1998–1999);
  • Member of the U.S. Trade Deficit Review Commission (1999–2000);
  • Member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR);
  • Chairman of the U.S. Commission to Assess National Security Space Management and Organization (2000);
  • Honorary Vice-Chancellor of Yale University (2001), honoring Rumsfeld's U.S. foreign policy work.


Rumsfeld served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of General Instrument Corporation from 1990 to 1993. A leader in broadband transmission, distribution, and access control technologies for cable, satellite and terrestrial broadcasting applications, the company pioneered the development of the first all-digital high-definition television (HDTV) technology. After taking the company public and returning it to profitability, Rumsfeld returned to private business in late 1993. From January 1997 until being sworn in as the 21st Secretary of Defense in January 2001, Rumsfeld served as Chairman of Gilead Sciences, Inc. He was also a board member of the RAND Corporation.

Rumsfeld served as United Way Inter-governmental Affairs Director in Washington, D.C. from 1986 to 1989. He was asked to serve the U.S. State Department as a "foreign policy consultant," a role he held from 1990 to 1993 concurrently with General Instrument Corporation CEO and ABB corporate board member.

ABB and North Korea

Rumsfeld sat on ABB's board from 1990 to 2001. ABB is a European engineering giant based in Zürich, Switzerland; formed through the merger between ASEA of Sweden and Brown Boveri of Switzerland. In 2000 this company sold two light water nuclear reactors to KEDO for installation in North Korea, as part of the 1994 agreed framework reached under President Bill Clinton.

The sale of the nuclear technology was a high-profile contract. ABB's then chief executive, Göran Lindahl, visited North Korea in November 1999 to announce ABB's "wide-ranging, long-term cooperation agreement" with the communist government. Rumsfeld's office said that the Secretary of Defense did not "recall it being brought before the board at any time." But ABB spokesman Björn Edlund told Fortune that "board members were informed about this project."[2]

Reagan Administration

This a pro-Iraq policy was adopted when the Iran-Iraq war began to go strongly in Iran's favor, and it looked as if Iran would overrun Iraq completely. Although the United States was hesitant to support a Soviet client state, the prospect of a greatly expanded Iran outweighed these concerns. When Rumsfeld visited on December 19–December 20 1983, he and Saddam Hussein had a 90-minute discussion that covered Syria's occupation of Lebanon, preventing Syrian and Iranian expansion, preventing arms sales to Iran by foreign countries, increasing Iraqi oil production via a possible new oil pipeline across Jordan. According to declassified U.S. State Department documents Rumsfeld also informed Tariq Aziz (Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister) that: "Our efforts to assist were inhibited by certain things that made it difficult for us ... citing the use of chemical weapons."[22] Rumsfeld brought many gifts from the Reagan administration. These gifts included pistols, medieval spiked hammers even a pair of golden cowboy spurs. Until the 1991 Gulf war these were all displayed at Saddam's Victory Museum in Baghdad which held all the gifts bestowed on Saddam by world leaders.[23]

During his brief bid for the 1988 Republican nomination, Rumsfeld stated that restoring full relations with Iraq was one of his best achievements. This was not a particularly controversial position at the time, when U.S. policy considered ties with Iraq an effective bulwark against Iran.

George H.W. Bush and Clinton years

Rumsfeld's public activities included service as a member of the National Academy of Public Administration and a member of the boards of trustees of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation, the Eisenhower Exchange Fellowships, the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and the National Park Foundation. He was also a member of the U.S./Russia Business Forum and Chairman of the Congressional Leadership's National Security Advisory Group.

Rumsfeld was a founder and active member of the Project for the New American Century, a conservative think tank dedicated to overthrowing Saddam Hussein with military force. On January 29, 1998, he signed a PNAC letter calling for President Bill Clinton to implement "regime change" in Iraq.[24]

From January to July 1998 Rumsfeld chaired the nine-member Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States. They concluded that Iraq, Iran, and North Korea could develop intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities in five to ten years and that U.S. intelligence would have little warning before such systems were deployed.[25]

Opposing effort to release Jonathan Pollard

 Rumsfeld has long been an opponent of the release or sentence commutation of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard. In late 1998, in response to media reports that President Clinton was considering issuing a pardon to Pollard, Rumsfeld sent a letter to President Clinton, urging him not to grant clemency. According to Rumsfeld, seven former U.S. Secretaries of Defense signed the letter urging Clinton not to pardon Pollard or commute his sentence. Eventually, President Clinton decided against granting Pollard clemency. (See letter on right.)

George W. Bush Administration

  Rumsfeld was named Defense Secretary soon after President George W. Bush took office in 2001. He immediately announced a series of sweeping reviews intended to plot the transformation of the U.S. military into a lighter force. These studies were led by Pentagon analyst Andrew Marshall.

  Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, Rumsfeld led the military planning and execution of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Rumsfeld pushed hard to send as small a force as possible to both conflicts, a concept codified as the Rumsfeld Doctrine.

Rumsfeld's plan resulted in a lightning invasion that took Baghdad in well under a month with very few American casualties. Many government buildings, plus major museums, electrical generation infrastructure, and even oil equipment were looted and vandalized during the transition from the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime to the establishment of the Coalition Provisional Authority. A violent insurrection began shortly after the occupation started.

After the German and French governments voiced opposition to invading Iraq, Rumsfeld labeled these countries as part of "Old Europe", implying that countries that supported the war were part of a newer, modern Europe.[26]

  He gave more press conferences than his predecessors. The BBC Radio 4 current affairs program Broadcasting House had been so taken by Rumsfeld's various remarks that it once held a regular slot called "The Donald Rumsfeld sound bite of the Week" in which they played his most amusing comment from that week.

Bush retained Rumsfeld after his 2004 presidential re-election. In December 2004, Rumsfeld came under fire after a "town-hall" meeting with U.S. troops where he responded to a soldier's comments about inferior military equipment by saying "you go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you want."

September 11, 2001


Rumsfeld's activities during the September 11, 2001 attacks were outlined in a Pentagon press briefing on September 15, 2001. Within three hours of the start of the first hijacking and two hours of American Airlines Flight 11 striking the World Trade Center, Rumsfeld raised the defense condition signaling of the United States offensive readiness to DEFCON 3; the highest it had been since the Arab-Israeli war in 1973.[27]

Run-up to Iraq

Approximately five hours after the attack on the World Trade Center, Rumsfeld told aides he wanted the; "best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H. [Saddam Hussein] at same time. Not only UBL [Osama bin Laden]."[28][29]

Military decisions

Rumsfeld stirred controversy by quarreling for months with the CIA over who had the authority to fire Hellfire missiles from Predator drones, although according to The 9/11 Commission Report, the armed Predator was not ready for deployment until early 2002.[30]

Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon note:

These quarrels kept the Predator from being used against al Qaeda.... The delay infuriated the terrorist hunters at the CIA. One individual who was at the center of the action called this episode "typical" and complained that "Rumsfeld never missed an opportunity to fail to cooperate. The fact is, the Secretary of Defense is an obstacle. He has helped the terrorists."[31]

Following September 11, 2001, Rumsfeld was in a meeting whose subject was the review of the Department of Defense's (Contingency) Plan in the event of a war with Iraq (U.S. Central Command OPLAN 1003-98). The plan (as it was then conceived) contemplated troop levels of up to 500,000, which Rumsfeld opined was far too many. Gordon and Trainor wrote:

As [General] Newbold outlined the plan … it was clear that Rumsfeld was growing increasingly irritated. For Rumsfeld, the plan required too many troops and supplies and took far too long to execute. It was, Rumsfeld declared, the "product of old thinking and the embodiment of everything that was wrong with the military."

  • * *

[T]he Plan . . . reflected long-standing military principles about the force levels that were needed to defeat Iraq, control a population of more than 24 million, and secure a nation the size of California with porous borders. Rumsfeld's numbers, in contrast, seemed to be pulled out of thin air. He had dismissed one of the military's long-standing plans, and suggested his own force level without any of the generals raising a cautionary flag.

Id.Gordon, Michael R. and Bernard E. Trainor, Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq], 2006. Book excerpt from the Denver Post

In Rumsfeld's final television interview as Secretary of Defense, he responded to a question by Brit Hume as to whether he pressed General Tommy Franks to lower his request for 400,000 troops for the Iraq War by stating:

Absolutely not. That's a mythology [sic]. This town is filled with this kind of nonsense. The people who decide the levels of forces on the ground are not the Secretary of Defense or the President. We hear recommendations but the recommendations are made by the combatant commanders and by members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and there hasn't been a minute in the last six years when we have not had the number of troops that the combatant commanders have requested.[32]

Rumsfeld told Hume that Franks ultimately decided against such a troop level. By 2007 it had become commonly accepted amongst Army leadership that the war in Iraq had been initiated with too few troops.

Role in US public relations effort

An April 2006 memo lists instructions to Pentagon staff including:

"Keep elevating the threat".... "Talk about Somalia, the Philippines etc. Make the American people realise they are surrounded in the world by violent extremists"[33]

Rumsfeld was deliberate in crafting the propaganda message to target the public. People will "rally" to the word "sacrifice," Rumsfeld noted after a meeting. "They are looking for leadership. Sacrifice = Victory." In May 2004, Rumsfeld considered whether to redefine the war on terrorism as a fight against "worldwide insurgency." He advised aides "to test what the results could be" if the war on terrorism were renamed.[34] Rumsfeld also ordered specific public Pentagon attacks and responses to US newspaper columns that reported negative news about the war, which he often personally reviewed before being sent.[35]

In October 2003, Rumsfeld personally approved a secret Pentagon "roadmap" on war propaganda, which calls for "boundaries" between information operations abroad and the news media at home, but provides for no such limits. The Roadmap advances a policy according to which as long as the US government does not intentionally target the American public, it does not matter that psychological operations, PSYOP, reaches the American public. The Roadmap acknowledges that "information intended for foreign audiences, including public diplomacy and PSYOP, increasingly is consumed by our domestic audience" but argues that "the distinction between foreign and domestic audiences becomes more a question of USG [U.S. government] intent rather than information dissemination practices."[36]

Prisoner abuse

Rumsfeld vigorously defended the Bush administration's decision to detain alleged illegal enemy combatants without protection under the Third Geneva Convention, because the Article 4 of the Convention limits rights to those who fight in uniform, under a defined command structure, and carry arms openly. There was nonetheless a large amount of pressure to apply the Geneva Conventions to cover these illegal combatants by many international bodies. Critics feel that Rumsfeld should have been held personally responsible for the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal. Rumsfeld himself said, "These events occurred on my watch as secretary of defense. I am accountable for them."[37] However, military investigations into the matters did not find him responsible for any wrongdoing.

In November 2006, the former U.S. Army Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, in charge of Abu Ghraib prison until early 2004, told Spain's El Pais newspaper she had seen a letter apparently signed by Rumsfeld that allowed civilian contractors to use techniques such as sleep deprivation during interrogation. "The methods consisted of making prisoners stand for long periods, sleep deprivation ... playing music at full volume, having to sit in uncomfortably ... Rumsfeld authorised these specific techniques." She said that this was contrary to the Geneva Convention and quoted from the same "Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind". According to Karpinski, the handwritten signature was above his printed name and in the same handwriting in the margin was written: "Make sure this is accomplished". There have been no comments from either the Pentagon or U.S. Army spokespeople in Iraq on Karpinski's accusations.[38]

Condolence letters

In December 2004, Rumsfeld was heavily criticized for using a signing machine instead of personally signing over 1000 letters of condolence to the families of soldiers killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan. He promised to personally sign all letters in the future.[39][40]



From January 1997 until being sworn in as the 21st Secretary of Defense in January 2001, Rumsfeld was Chairman of the Board of Gilead Sciences, which is the developer of Tamiflu (Oseltamivir), which is used in the treatment of bird flu.[41] Several news sources have published stories implying that Rumsfeld profits from sales of Tamiflu to the U.S. Government while he is in office, although they note that he has recused himself from any decisions involving Gilead and also had the Pentagon's General Counsel issue additional instructions outlining what he could and could not be involved in if there were an avian flu pandemic and the Pentagon had to respond.[42][43]

War critics

Rumsfeld has come under fire for his remarks at the American Legion's national convention when he accused critics of the Bush administration's Iraq and counter-terrorism policies of "trying to appease a new type of fascism."[44] Also, Rumsfeld claimed that the administration's critics have "moral and intellectual confusion" about what threatens the nation's security and accused them of lacking the courage to fight back.[45][46]

Ray McGovern

In May 2006, Rumsfeld was grilled during a question and answer session in Atlanta by Ray McGovern, an anti-war activist who spent 27 years as a CIA analyst. The session was aired on national television.[2][3]

RAY McGOVERN: And so, I would like to ask you to be up front with the American people. Why did you lie to get us into a war that was not necessary and that has caused these kinds of casualties? Why?
DONALD RUMSFELD: Well, first of all, I haven’t lied. I did not lie then. Colin Powell didn't lie. He spent weeks and weeks with the Central Intelligence Agency people and prepared a presentation that I know he believed was accurate, and he presented that to the United Nations. The President spent weeks and weeks with the Central Intelligence people, and he went to the American people and made a presentation. I'm not in the intelligence business. They gave the world their honest opinion. It appears that there were not weapons of mass destruction there.
RAY McGOVERN: You said you knew where they were?
DONALD RUMSFELD: I did not. I said I knew where suspect sites were, and we were --
RAY McGOVERN: You said you knew where they were, “near Tikrit, near Baghdad, and northeast, south and west of there.” Those were your words. (McGovern was quoting a 2003 Rumsfeld appearance on ABC‘s This Week[4]

Rumsfeld's original remarks in his 2003 ABC appearance included the following addition:

I would also add, we saw from the air that there were dozens of trucks that went into that facility after the existence of it became public in the press and they moved things out. They dispersed them and took them away. So there may be nothing left. I don't know that. But it's way too soon to know. The exploitation is just starting.[5][6]

Calls for resignation

Eight retired generals and admirals called for Rumsfeld to resign in early 2006 in what was called the "Generals Revolt", mostly questioning his military planning and strategic competence.[47][48][49] Rumsfeld rebuffed these criticisms, stating that "out of thousands and thousands of admirals and generals, if every time two or three people disagreed we changed the secretary of defense of the United States, it would be like a merry-go-round."[50] Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan reports that "Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, who travels often to Iraq and supports the war, says that the generals mirror the views of 75 percent of the officers in the field, and probably more."[51] President Bush responded to the criticism by stating that Rumsfeld is "exactly what is needed,"[52] and also defended him in his controversial decider remark.


  On November 1, 2006, President Bush stated he would stand by Rumsfeld as defense secretary for the length of his term as president.[53] Rumsfeld wrote a resignation letter dated November 6th, and, per the stamp on the letter, Bush saw it on Election Day, November 7th.[54] In the elections, the House and the Senate shifted to Democratic control. After the elections, on November 8, Bush announced Rumsfeld would resign his position as Secretary of Defense. Many Republicans were unhappy with the delay, believing they would have won more votes if voters had known Rumsfeld was resigning.[54]

Investigative journalist Robert Perry reported that Bush had asked Rumsfeld to resign because he disagreed with Bush's "surge" plan to escalate the war in Iraq, and had suggested in his November 6, 2006 memorandum to the president considering “an accelerated drawdown of U.S. bases" and withdrawal of U.S. troops from their vulnerable locations[55]

Bush nominated Robert Gates for the position.[56][57][58][59] At a press conference announcing the resignation of Rumsfeld and the nomination of Bob Gates, Bush stated, "America is safer and the world is more secure because of the service and the leadership of Donald Rumsfeld."[60]

On December 18, 2006, Rumsfeld's resignation took effect and Robert Gates was sworn in as his successor. One of his last actions as defense secretary was to pay a surprise visit to Iraq on December 10, 2006 to bid farewell to the United States military serving in Iraq.[61]

Including his time serving as the 13th Secretary of Defense under President Ford from 1975 to 1977, Rumsfeld is the second-longest-serving Secretary of Defense in history, falling nine days short of becoming the longest-serving Pentagon chief (after the Vietnam-era Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara).

In a farewell ceremony attended by President Bush on December 16, 2006, Rumsfeld's long-time political collaborator Vice President Dick Cheney called the secretary "the finest secretary of defense this nation has ever had."

Post-resignation activities

In the months after his resignation, Rumsfeld toured the New York publishing houses in preparation for a potential memoir[7]. Such a book would reportedly be used by Rumsfeld to justify the military strategy used in Iraq under his watch. An agreement on a book deal has not been announced.

According to Time magazine, Rumsfeld is also in the early stages of establishing an educational foundation that would provide fellowships to talented individuals from the private sector who want to serve for some time in government. Rumsfeld would self-finance the foundation[62].

In September 2007, Rumsfeld received a one year appointment as a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University,[63] joining (among others) retired Army Gen. John P. Abizaid, former commander of US forces in Iraq, and fellow conservatives George Shultz and Newt Gingrich. He will participate in the institution's new task force studying post-Sept. 11 ideology and terror.


Pentagon database

Several New York teenagers brought a lawsuit against Rumsfeld in federal court over a Pentagon database of potential military recruits. The Pentagon defended the database as critical to national security, but the plaintiffs argue that the database retains information on people as young as 16 in violation of federal privacy laws. New York Civil Liberties Union director Donna Lieberman said, "On the one hand Congress has afforded broad latitude to collect information but on the other hand the Department of Defense has completely flouted those limits."[64]

Alleged torture

Civil actions

On March 1, 2005, the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights First filed a lawsuit against Rumsfeld in a federal court in Illinois on behalf of eight detainees who they say were subjected to torture and abuse by U.S. forces. It seeks compensatory damages on behalf of the eight men allegedly tortured and abused by U.S. military forces after being captured in Iraq and Afghanistan.[65] A federal judge dropped the charges against Rumsfeld citing the legal precedent that U.S. Government officials cannot be held personally responsible for actions committed while in office.[66]

On December 18, 2006, U.S. citizen Donald Vance filed suit against Rumsfeld and the U.S. government alleging illegal incarceration and torture he endured in Iraq. Vance, a former U.S. Navy sailor, went to Iraq as a civilian security-contractor for Shield Group Security (SGS). He became an unpaid informant for the F.B.I., passing them evidence over a period of several months suggesting that SGS was engaged in illegal weapons trading with the Iraqi Interior Ministry. When Vance felt he was in grave danger, U.S. forces retrieved him from the Red Zone but subsequently detained him without charges for 97 days at Camp Cropper. Vance's lawsuit against Rumsfeld and the U.S. Government alleges that during his detention he was tortured and his rights of habeas corpus were violated.

Criminal charges sought

Criminal charges were sought in 2004 by Wolfgang Kaleck as well as Michael Ratner and Peter Weiss of the U.S.-based Center for Constitutional Rights in German courts against Donald Rumsfeld for war crimes. They were rejected by German Federal Public Prosecutor Kay Nehm with the explanation that criminal prosecution in the nations of the accused and the victims should be given priority.[67][68]

On 14 November 2006, 11 former prisoners of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo were backed by over 30 human rights organizations in support of charges by Wolfgang Kaleck and the CCR lodged at the German Federal Attorney General (Generalbundesanwalt) against Rumsfeld, former CIA Director George Tenet, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez and a number of other high U.S. officials. They invoke command responsibility in blaming the accused officials for various alleged human rights violations in Abu Ghraib in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay. According to a spokesmen of the agency Federal Public Prosecutor Monika Harms will examine the statement of claim now.[69][68] Notable co-plaintiffs include 1980 Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel (Argentine), 2002 Nobel Peace Prize winner Martín Almada (Paraguay), Theo van Boven, the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture. On March 15 2007, the city council of Berkeley, California endorsed the war crimes complaint from Germany. [8]

Similar criminal charges are being sought in France. A complaint has been filed before a French court accusing Rumsfeld of authorizing and ordering torture. The complaint invokes the provisions of the United Nations Convention Against Torture, ratified by both the United States and France, which provides that signatory countries must prosecute a torturer or someone who knowingly oversees torturers, irrespective of where the torture occurred. The complaint argues that both the U.S. and Iraq have failed to independently investigate the matter and therefore France is obligated to prosecute Rumsfeld. International Federation for Human Rights (La Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l’Homme, FIDH) president Souhayr Belhassen said that “[France] has no choice but to open an investigation.”[70] The complaint was registered at the office of the prosecutor of the Court of First Instance in Paris when Rumsfeld's personal presence in the city for a talk sponsored by the magazine Foreign Policy provided for French jurisdiction.[70] Former U.S. Army Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, former commander of Abu Ghraib and other U.S.-run prisons in Iraq, submitted written testimony to the Paris Prosecutor for the plaintiffs’ case on Rumsfeld’s personal responsibility for the abuse of detainees.[71]

Ratner said of these developments that “We will not rest until those U.S. officials involved in torture are brought to justice. Rumsfeld must understand that he has no place to hide.”[70]

Human rights advocates pressing criminal charges against Rumsfeld are concerned that politics will trump the legal obligation of countries to prosecute torturers, and that thus, bowing to US government pressure, French prosecutors might refuse to lodge charges in court notwithstanding the law requiring that they do so. "I hope that the fight against impunity will not be sacrificed in the name of politics. We call on France to refuse to be a safe haven for criminals.” said FIDH President Souhayr Belhassen.

Rumsfeld however left France two days later without being worried by the authorities. The prosecutor of Paris sent a letter several weeks later to the lawyers, alleging that according to current jurisprudence by the International Court of Justice, Rumsfeld could not be pursuied. The lawyers immediately pointed out that, in reality, the jurisprudence invoked was the ICJ Case Concerning the Arrest Warrant of 11 April 2000 (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Belgium), which concerned an incumbent minister, which was not Rumsfeld's case, while other jurisprudence (Pinochet's arrest) demonstrated the reverse [72].

Criminal charges against Rumsfeld were also pressed in Sweden in 2007 and in Argentina in 2005.[73]


  • The Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Ford (1977)
  • From 1977 to 1985 he served as Chief Executive Officer, President, and then Chairman of G.D. Searle & Co., a worldwide 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).
  • Royal Order of the Intare by King Kigeli V of Rwanda.
  • George C. Marshall Medal by the U.S. Army Association (1984)
  • Woodrow Wilson Medal by Princeton University (1985)
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower Medal (1993)
  • Lone Sailor Award by the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation (2002)
  • Statesmanship Award by the U.S. Assoc of Former Members of Congress (2003)
  • James H. Doolittle Award by the Hudson Institute (2003)
  • Gerald R. Ford Medal presented by President Ford and the Ford Foundation (2004)[74]
  • Distinguished Eagle Scout Award by the Boy Scouts of America
  • Union League of Philadelphia Gold Medal for Citizenship (2006)
  • Rumsfeld has been awarded 11 honorary degrees.

Affiliation history

Institutional affiliations

  • Center for Security Policy: Longtime associate; winner of the CSP's 1998 "Keeper of the Flame" award (5)
  • Hoover Institution: Member, board of trustees
  • Project for the New American Century: Signed PNAC's founding statement of principles as well as two policy letters on Iraq
  • Freedom House: Board member
  • RAND Corporation: Board member
  • Committee for the Free World: Former chairman
  • Bohemian Club: Member

Government posts, panels, and commissions

  • Secretary of Defense (2001–06)
  • U.S. Commission to Assess National Security Space Management and Organization: Chairman (2000)
  • U.S. Ballistic Missile Threat Commission: Chairman (1998)
  • Secretary of Defense (1975–77)
  • White House Chief of Staff in Ford administration (1974–75)
  • U.S. Ambassador to NATO (1973–74)
  • U.S. Congress: Representative from Illinois (1962–69)
  • U.S. Navy: Various posts, including aviator (1954–57); reserves (1957–1975) Retired as a Navy Captain (1989)

Corporate connections and business interests

  • Gilead Sciences: joined Gilead as a director in 1988 Chairman (1997–2001)
  • General Instrument Corporation: Chairman and CEO (1990–93)
  • G.D. Searle pharmaceutical company: CEO/Chairman/President (1977–1985)
  • Bechtel Corporation: Was involved in Iraq-Bechtel negotiations in the 1980s on a pipeline project
  • Gulfstream Aerospace: Former director
  • Tribune Company: Former director
  • Metricom, Inc.: Former director
  • Sears, Roebuck and Co.: Former director
  • ABB AB: Former director
  • Kellogg Company: director 1985–199? while Carlos Gutierrez (x Cuba 1960) president CEO and chairman Kellogg until named Secretary Commerce under Bush from 2005


  • Princeton University: A.B. (1954)

Intellectual heritage

  • John Boyd of OODA Loop fame.

See also

  • Agathidium rumsfeldi — a slime-mold beetle named after Rumsfeld
  • U.S. Congressional Delegations from Illinois
  • Old Europe — comment by Rumsfeld regarding Iraq-war participation
  • Winkler v. Rumsfeld
  • List of US Cabinet Secretaries who have held multiple cabinet positions
  • Hillbilly armor — about Rumsfeld questioned in Iraq by soldier about armor


  1. ^ a b Nixon White House conversation 464-12
  2. ^ a b "Rummy's North Korea Connection;What did Donald Rumsfeld know about ABB's deal to build nuclear reactors there? And why won't he talk about it?", Fortune, 2003-05-12, p. 75. 
  3. ^ Profile: Donald Rumsfeld. BBC News (2006-11-08). Retrieved on 2007-08-14.
  4. ^ Profile: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. ABC News (2005-11-01). Retrieved on 2007-08-14.
  5. ^ Gracious me. Economist (2006-11-09). Retrieved on 2007-08-14.
  6. ^ Biography: Donald Rumsfeld November 8, 2006
  7. ^ "Scouting magazine ". Scouting 94 (4): 35. September 2006
  8. ^ Secretary Rumsfeld's Remarks at the White House Conference on Cooperative Conservation — U.S. Department of Defense News Transcript — August 29, 2005
  9. ^ Donald and Joyce Rumsfeld Marriage Profile at
  10. ^ Princeton University Senior Theses Full Record: Donald Henry Rumsfeld
  11. ^ Kilborn, Peter T. "Weekends With the President's Men", New York Times, 2006-06-30. Retrieved on 2007-02-15. 
  12. ^ a b DefenseLink's Rumsfeld Biography
  13. ^ RUMSFELD, Donald Henry on Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed April 22, 2007.
  14. ^ Donald Rumsfeld biography from the Associated Press. Accessed April 22, 2007.
  15. ^ Donald Rumsfeld biography from Accessed April 22, 2007.
  16. ^ Donald Rumsfeld biography from White House press release dated November 3, 1975. Accessed April 22, 2007.
  17. ^ Free to Choose: Tyranny of Control
  18. ^ Woodward, Bob (2002). Bush At War. Simon and Schuster, 21-22. ISBN 0743244613. 
  19. ^ [1]
  20. ^ DefenseLink's Secretary of Defense Biography
  21. ^ a b "Winter comes for a Beltway lion; Rumsfeld rose and fell with his conviction intact", Chicago Tribune, 2006-11-12, p. 17. 
  22. ^ George Washington University, National Archives, Iraq, PDF format
  23. ^ Lucas, Dean (2006-02-17), ,
  24. ^ Project for the New American Century letter to U.S. President Clinton, 29 January 1998
  25. ^ Report of the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ CBS News: Plans For Iraq Attack Began On 9/11
  29. ^ Notes from 9/11 Obtained Under FOIA
  30. ^] (pp. 189–90, 211–214)
  31. ^ Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, The Next Attack (New York: Times Books, 2005) ISBN 0-8050-7941-6 p. 161.
  32. ^ Special Report with Brit Hume December 14, 2006
  33. ^ "Rumsfeld 'kept up fear of terror attacks'", Daily Telegraph UK, 2007 March 11,;jsessionid=MCJYFVHYHCMGNQFIQMGSFGGAVCBQWIV0?xml=/news/2007/11/02/wgulf402.xml ; "From the Desk of Donald Rumsfeld . . .", Washington Post, 2007 Nov. 1,
  34. ^ "From the Desk of Donald Rumsfeld . . .", Washington Post, 2007 Nov. 1,
  35. ^ "From the Desk of Donald Rumsfeld . . .", Washington Post, 2007 Nov. 1,
  36. ^ National Security Archive, "Rumsfeld's Roadmap to Propaganda", National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 177, 2006 Jan. 26,
  37. ^ "Rumsfeld 'the best'" — CNN
  38. ^ — "Rumsfeld okayed abuses says former US Army general" Reuters News
  39. ^ After Outcry, Rumsfeld Says He Will Sign Condolence Letters, Washington Post, December 18 2004
  40. ^ Rumsfeld sympathy signed by machine, Daily Telegraph, December 20 2004
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^
  47. ^
  48. ^,,3-2138760_2,00.html
  49. ^
  50. ^
  51. ^
  52. ^
  53. ^
  54. ^ a b Roberts, Kristin. "Rumsfeld resigned before election, letter shows", Yahoo! News, Reuters, 2007-08-15. Retrieved on 2007-08-15. 
  55. ^ | Rumsfeld's Mysterious Resignation, August 17, 2007
  56. ^
  57. ^
  58. ^,2933,217119,00.html
  59. ^ Rumsfeld quitting as defense secretary. Retrieved 8 November, 2006.
  60. ^ President Bush Nominates Dr. Robert M. Gates to be Secretary of Defense
  61. ^ Rumsfeld Bids Farewell to GIs in Iraq
  62. ^ Time
  63. ^ Rumsfeld appointed distinguished visiting fellow at Hoover. Accessed 10 October 2007. Stanford Report, September 12, 2007.
  64. ^
  65. ^
  66. ^
  67. ^ U.S. lawyers file complaint over abuses in Abu Ghraib., 1 Dezember 2004
  68. ^ a b Sebastian Wessels: Keine Ruhe für Rumsfeld. jungeWelt, 15 November 2006 (German)
  69. ^ Adam Zagorin: Exclusive: Charges Sought Against Rumsfeld Over Prison Abuse. TIME, 10 November 2006
  70. ^ a b c "Rumsfeld Charged with Torture in French Court", One World, October 29, 2007,
  71. ^ International Federation of Human Rights, Press release, 2007 October 26,
  72. ^ David Servenay, A Paris, même retraité, Rumsfeld bénéficie de son immunité, Rue 89, 23 November 1989 (French)
  73. ^ International Federation of Human Rights, Press release, 2007 October 26,
  74. ^


  • White House Biography
  • Department of Defense Biography
  • Rumsfeld's War: The Untold Story of America's Anti-Terrorist Commander by Rowan Scarborough (Regnery Publishing, 2004) ISBN 0-89526-069-7
  • Rumsfeld: A Personal Portrait by Midge Decter (Regan Books, 2003) ISBN 0-06-056091-6
  • The Rumsfeld Way: The Leadership Wisdom of a Battle-Hardened Maverick by Jeffrey A. Krames (McGraw-Hill, 2002) ISBN 0-07-140641-7
  • Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy by Andrew Cockburn (Scribners, 2007) ISBN 1-4165-3574-8

Documentary video

  • PBS Frontline — Rumsfeld's War October 2004 documentary
  • Video clip of Rumsfeld (as special U.S. envoy to Middle East) meeting Hussein

Articles profiling Rumsfeld

  • The Life and Times of Donald Rumsfeld, PBS
  • Washington Post — Rumsfeld's War archives 2001–2004
  • Close-Up: Young Rumsfeld, James Mann, The Atlantic Monthly, November 2003
  • Donald Rumsfeld: a Machiavellian Artist in Power Voltaire Network, October 2004
  • The Donald Rumsfeld Library of Quotations, BBC Radio 4
Preceded by
Marguerite S. Church
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 13th congressional district

Succeeded by
Phil Crane
Preceded by
Bertrand Harding
Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity
Served Under: Richard Nixon

Succeeded by
Frank Carlucci
Preceded by
Alexander Haig
White House Chief of Staff
Served Under: Gerald Ford

Succeeded by
Dick Cheney
Preceded by
James R. Schlesinger
United States Secretary of Defense
Served Under: Gerald Ford

Succeeded by
Harold Brown
Preceded by
William S. Cohen
United States Secretary of Defense
Served Under: George W. Bush

Succeeded by
Robert Gates

NAME Rumsfeld, Donald Henry
SHORT DESCRIPTION U.S. Secretary of Defense
DATE OF BIRTH July 9 1932 (1932-07-09) (age 80)
PLACE OF BIRTH Evanston, Illinois, United States
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Donald_Rumsfeld". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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