Statement About Donald Rumsfeld
June 30, 2021
Photo by Cherie Cullen/U.S. Department of Defense
The RAND Corporation notes with profound regret the death of Donald H. Rumsfeld, the former secretary of defense and accomplished corporate leader who brought his deep government and business experience to RAND as a trustee for more than two decades.
“Donald Rumsfeld spent most of his life as a dedicated public servant whose assertive style and organizational skill kept him at the center of political power during critical times in our nation's history,” said Michael D. Rich, president and chief executive officer of the Santa Monica, California–based RAND. “We at RAND will always be grateful for his leadership and willingness to share his keen perspectives, honed by years in the corporate world and the rough-and-tumble of Washington.”
Rumsfeld spent most of his career in public service, beginning in 1962 when he arrived in Washington D.C. as a 30-year-old congressman from a district outside of Chicago. He later became President Richard Nixon's ambassador to NATO and President Gerald Ford's chief of staff. He was the youngest defense secretary in the nation's history when Ford named him to the post. After President George W. Bush took office in 2001, Rumsfeld undertook a second stint as defense secretary, this time as the oldest person to hold the position.
After leaving the Bush administration in 2006, he established the Rumsfeld Foundation the next year to reward young leaders with fellowships and support military veterans and their families. In 2007, Rumsfeld also gave $300,000 to the Pardee RAND Graduate School to endow two scholarship funds.
In between his government posts Rumsfeld worked in the private sector as CEO of pharmaceuticals giant G.D. Searle and later at General Instrument Corp.
He served as a RAND trustee 1977–1987, 1988–1998 and 1999–2000. He was chair of the RAND board 1982–1986 and again in 1995.