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Revolving door: defense secretaries and defense contractors

By Laurie Bennett

February 27, 2013 at 11:36am

Like some of his predecessors, Chuck Hagel brings corporate entanglements to the job of secretary of Defense.

Hagel has been a director of Chevron, a defense contractor, since 2010. Although his resignation has not yet been announced by the company, it’s pro forma. Hagel said last month he would divest his Chevron holdings and resign from the board if confirmed as secretary.

Former Secretary Robert Gates had been a director of Nacco Industries, also a defense contractor.

Donald Rumsfeld was chairman of Gilead Sciences, which has also done business with Defense and Veterans Affairs.

Going further back in history, Charles Erwin Wilson served as Defense secretary in the Eisenhower administration after being chief executive of General Motors.

Robert McNamara, who oversaw much of the country’s involvement in the Vietnam War, had previously been president of Ford Motor.

Of course, some of the big corporate jobs follow service at Defense.

Two years after leaving the department in 1993, Dick Cheney became chairman and CEO of defense contractor Halliburton.

William J. Perry joined the Anteon corporate board five years after leaving Defense.

Frank Carlucci was named chairman of the Carlyle Group, another defense contractor, three years after ending his term as secretary.

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