Donald Henry Rumsfeld (born July 9, 1932) is an American politician and businessman. Rumsfeld served as the 13th Secretary of Defense from 1975 to 1977 under President Gerald Ford, and as the 21st Secretary of Defense from 2001 to 2006 under President George W. Bush. He is both the youngest and oldest person to have served as Secretary of Defense. Additionally, Rumsfeld was a four-term U.S. Congressman from Illinois (1962–1969), Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity (1969–1970), Counsellor to the President (1969–1973), the United States Permanent Representative to NATO (1973–1974), and White House Chief of Staff (1974–1975).
Born in Illinois, Rumsfeld attended Princeton University, graduating in 1954 with a degree in political science. After serving in the Navy for three years, he mounted a campaign for Congress in Illinois’ 13th Congressional District, winning in 1962 at the age of 30. He was a leading co-sponsor of the Freedom of Information Act. Rumsfeld reluctantly accepted an appointment by President Richard Nixon to head the Office of Economic Opportunity in 1969; appointed Counsellor by Nixon and entitled to Cabinet-level status, he would also head up the Economic Stabilization Program before being appointed Ambassador to NATO. Called back to Washington in August 1974, Rumsfeld was appointed Chief of Staff by President Ford, and soon successfully urged Ford to veto an expansion of the Freedom of Information Act, though the veto was easily overridden. Rumsfeld recruited a young one-time staffer of his, Dick Cheney, to succeed him when Ford nominated him Secretary of Defense in 1975.