Donald Henry Rumsfeld (born July 9, 1932) is the 21st and [previous] United States Secretary of Defense under President George W. Bush, having served as such since 2001. Rumsfeld was also the 13th Secretary of Defense under President Gerald Ford from 1975 to 1977. He is both the youngest and the oldest person to have held the position, as well as the only person to hold the position for two non-consecutive terms. Except for Robert McNamara he has served in the position longer than anyone else. On December 6, 2006, Robert Gates was confirmed as Rumsfeld's successor to the office of the Secretary of Defense, and formally replaces Rumsfeld when he is sworn in on December 18.
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.The man was born in 1932. He had been there, done it and got more than T shirts.
By Andrew Gray
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates' mild-mannered public persona could hardly be more different from his outspoken predecessor Donald Rumsfeld but his early decisions indicate he is no soft touch."One of my favorite quotes is from Frederick the Great," he said on a seven-nation trip including stops in Afghanistan andIraq that wrapped up on the weekend. "Negotiations without arms are like notes without instruments."
In his first month in the job, he has approved an increase in the size of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps, backed a new Iraq plan that involves more than 21,000 extra troops and indicated he favors more forces for Afghanistan too.Those moves suggest more than just a change in style from Rumsfeld to Gates, a former chief called out of academia by President George W. Bush to run two struggling military campaigns crucial to U.S. national security and credibility.
Although Rumsfeld was a strong proponent of projecting military might, he argued that a lighter presence in countries such as Iraq prevented local forces from becoming too dependent on U.S. troops and undercut accusations of neo-colonialism.Gates has also approved the deployment of a second aircraft carrier and Patriot missiles to the Gulf region -- moves widely seen as a warning to Iran.
Yet the white-haired former university president has undertaken all those changes while giving the impression of an affable newcomer still learning the ropes.
"To the extent that this is a fact-finding trip, I've found at least one fact," said Gates, 63, near the end of a trip that featured 13 plane flights and a helicopter ride over snowy mountains to a remote outpost of eastern Afghanistan. "I'm too old to do seven countries in 5-1/2 days."
COMMANDERS' ADVICERepeatedly on the trip, which also took him to London, headquarters in Brussels, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain, Gates deflected questions by saying he had not been in the job long enough to answer them.
He has presented his decisions simply as the result of advice from military commanders and other experts.
"If the people who are leading the struggle out here believe that there is a need for some additional help to sustain the success that we've had, I'm going to be very sympathetic to that kind of a request," he said in Afghanistan.
That can also be seen as a change from Rumsfeld, often accused of ignoring the advice of his commanders, although his supporters have denied that charge and suggested it was a convenient way for military chiefs to avoid blame.
Gates's friendly, low-key public style has also won him a honeymoon with reporters and members of the U.S. Congress, both of whom had a prickly relationship with Rumsfeld.
That could soon change, however, above all if the new plan to stabilize Iraq is not successful. In an unpopular war that has already killed more than 3,000 U.S. troops, his decision to increase force levels is a high-stakes gamble.
"Sure, there's a risk," Gates said. But he added, "I think if you put your personal interests -- including protecting your reputation -- ahead of a sense of duty, you've got your values screwed up."
The treaty, agreed by Tony Blair and President Bush, will also give the UK access to sensitive US technical data.
The PM said it was important for the two nations to co-operate because their forces were working closely together in military operations around the world.
The MoD said it would make it easier to buy equipment which might be needed at short notice in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr Blair said: "This will enable our two countries to share defence information, goods and services more effectively.
"Achieving this agreement has become more important than ever before.
"At a time when British and American forces continue to work closely in defence and security operations around the world, both governments believe we must continue enhancing our ability to co-operate together."
The Ministry of Defence said the agreement was far wider than the one at the end of 2006 to share technical codes which saved the Joint Strike Fighter deal.
The US satisfied demands to reveal technical details of the fighter before the UK committed to the £140bn project.
British defence chiefs were under pressure not to go ahead with to plans to buy 150 of the aircraft unless the US released details to allow the jets to be operated independently by the UK.