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Donald Rumsfeld (b. 1932) served as the youngest secretary of defense (1975–1977) and also the oldest (2001–2006). His first tenure, under President Gerald R. Ford, was uneventful; his second, under President George W. Bush, proved to rank along with that of Robert McNamara (1961–1968) as the most vilified of any secretary of defense. This entry examines the career and policies of Donald Rumsfeld.

Rumsfeld attended Princeton University, where his relentless drive found its outlet in the wrestling team. He was a naval aviator (1954–1957), seeing no combat. He came to Washington as a congressional aide, winning his own seat in Congress in 1962 from a solidly Republican district in the Chicago suburbs. In 1969, he left Congress to become a senior aide to President Richard ...

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