The Rumsfeld Papers


About the Ford administration Secretary of Defense documents

In late October, 1975 President Ford made some major personnel changes in his administration, and I left the White House to become Secretary of Defense.  It was a difficult time for the Department as military and civilians came to terms with what had happened in Vietnam.  But the Soviet Union was not taking a holiday while we regained our bearings, and my main priority was making sure we focused sufficiently on Defense investment to maintain our capabilities as they increased their military spending.  SALT II negotiations, the development of cruise missiles and the development of a new battle tank for the Army were all issues I confronted.

My papers from 1975-77, unlike those from 2001-06, are now largely declassified.  I decided to release a number of my memos from the period that would give readers a sense of what it was like to be Secretary of Defense during that period. It seemed like on any given day pretty much anything might come flying over the transom, and so the memos may seem a bit of a hodgepodge of topics and varying degrees of importance.   I found that pretty much came with the territory.