Donald Rumsfeld

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense
Donald Rumsfeld
  • Served over 5 decades in the legislative and executive branches
  • CEO of two Fortune 500 companies, General Instrument Corporation and G.D. Searle & Co.
  • Uses decades of experience to discuss global challenges and security hot spots

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Donald Rumsfeld is the former Secretary of Defense and one of the most recognized and respected public servants in the United States. Having held the position twice, he is the second-longest serving secretary of defense in U.S. history and both the youngest and oldest person to have held the role. With more than five decades of service in the legislative and executive branches, few Americans have spent more time near the center of power than Rumsfeld. USA Today said, “He has emerged as the most powerful Pentagon boss since Robert McNamara and, some would argue, one of the most influential Cabinet members in history.”

His long political career includes four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he was a leading co-sponsor of the Freedom of Information Act; serving as chief of staff to President Ford; and being an adviser and counselor to Presidents Nixon and Reagan. With a private sector career equal to his public sector one, Rumsfeld was also the CEO of two Fortune 500 companies – General Instrument Corporation and G.D. Searle & Co., where he led a financial turnaround and was named “Outstanding Chief Executive Officer in the Pharmaceutical Industry” by The Wall Street Transcript and Financial World. Highly popular with the media for his outspokenness and candor, Rumsfeld shares insights on international affairs, global challenges, and security hot spots around the globe.

Secretary of Defense and Public Sector Accomplishments. Donald Rumsfeld held the position of secretary of defense twice: from 1975–1977 under President Gerald Ford and from 2001–2006 under President George W. Bush. In his more recent term, Rumsfeld met with 133 world leaders, visited 75 countries, and logged over 750,000 miles in official travel. His tenure has been called one of the most pivotal in recent history. As one of the key individuals responsible for the restructuring of the military in the new 21st century, Rumsfeld was crucial in planning the United States’ response to the September 11th attacks and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Rumsfeld’s public service career also includes director of the Office of Economic Opportunity and counselor to President Richard Nixon; White House chief of staff to President Gerald R. Ford; U.S. ambassador to NATO; and presidential envoy to the Middle East under President Ronald Reagan. He was awarded the country’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award for his work. He has also been awarded 11 honorary degrees and received myriad foreign awards and honors.

Best-Selling Author. Rumsfeld’s No. 1 New York Times best-selling memoir, Known and Unknown (2011), follows his long political career and includes previously undisclosed details about his service with four U.S. presidents. His latest book, Rumsfeld’s Rules (2013), offers a candid look at success, failure, crises, and moving up in business and government.

Donald Rumsfeld is a current member of the Hoovers Institute and the founder and chairman of the Rumsfeld Foundation, which works to promote free political and free economic systems abroad.

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Speaker Video

Donald Rumsfeld Exclusive Interview with Diane Sawyer

The State of the World: Global Challenges and Security Hot Spots in the 21st Century. With more than five decades of public service in the legislative and executive branches, Donald Rumsfeld shares eye-opening stories from his illustrious career as he outlines the threats and challenges facing the free world and discusses the security ‘hot spots’ around the globe. Known for his outspoken candor and challenging the dogmas of government bureaucracy, he offers a candid assessment of the state of the world and international affairs. From Islamic extremism to demographic trends to cyber attacks, he examines the perils confronting the United States in this still young, uncertain century. He also explains why domestic and international institutions designed for a distinctly different era need to be refashioned for the fast-paced Information Age. A statesman whose experience spans from the Cold War to the war on terror, he surveys the international geopolitical landscape, region by region, and shows how this affects organizations and individuals alike. Rumsfeld believes that American strength has always been the nation’s ability to innovate and marshal its vast resources in creative way. He analyzes the current state of international relations and offers a forward-looking talk on how America – and American businesses – can best take advantage of our position on the global stage.

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