Personal: Birth date: July 9, 1932
Birth place: Chicago, Illinois
Birth name: Donald Harold Rumsfeld
Father: George Donald Rumsfeld, a real estate salesman
Mother: Jeannette (Huster) Rumsfeld
Marriage: Joyce (Pierson) Rumsfeld (1954-present)
Children: Nick Rumsfeld, 1967; Marcy Rumsfeld, 1960; Valerie Rumsfeld, 1956
Education: Princeton University, B.A. Political Science (1954)
Military service: U.S. Navy pilot and flight instructor (1954-1957); U.S. Navy Reserves (1957-1989, retired a Captain)
Other Facts: Rumsfeld has won the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1977), the George Catlett Marshall Award (1984), the Woodrow Wilson Award (1985), and the Dwight Eisenhower Medal (1993).
Was captain of the football and wrestling teams at Princeton.
Timeline: 1959 - Joins the staff of Michigan Congressman Robert Griffin.
1960-1962 - Works at investment banking firm, A.G. Beaker & Company in Chicago.
1962 - Is elected to the House of Representatives from Illinois' 13th District. During Rumsfeld's years in Congress he supports the war in Vietnam and the 1964 Civil Rights Act, while opposing many of President Johnson's "Great Society" programs.
1964 - Is re-elected to the House.
1966 - Is re-elected to the House.
1968 - Is re-elected to the House.
1969 - Is appointed director of the Office of Economic Opportunity, by President Richard Nixon.
1970 - Leaves the Office of Economic Opportunity and becomes a White House adviser to President Nixon.
1971 - Is appointed director of the Cost of Living Council by President Nixon.
1973-1974 - Ambassador and Permanent Representative to NATO.
1974-1975 - Chief of Staff for President Gerald Ford.
1977-1985 - Returns to private life, as President and CEO of G.D. Searle & Co., a pharmaceutical firm.
1977 - Is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
1983 - At the request of President Ronald Reagan, takes a leave of absence from Searle to become Special Envoy to the Middle East.
1984 - Returns to Searle.
1985 - Oversees the sale of Searle to the Monsanto Co.
1985-1990 - Senior advisor for William Blair and Company in Chicago.
1990-1993 - Is hired as CEO of General Instrument Corp.
1996 - Serves as Policy Coordinator, and later as National Chairman, in the presidential campaign of Bob Dole.
1997-2001 - Chairman of the board of Gilead Sciences, Inc.
1998 - Chairs the bipartisan Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States.
December 28, 2000 - Is nominated for his second term as Secretary of Defense, making him both the youngest and oldest man to have served in that position.
January 20, 2001 - Rumsfeld becomes the 21st Secretary of Defense.
2001 - Oversees Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
2003 - Oversees Operation Iraqi Freedom.
March 23, 2004 - Rumsfeld testifies before the 9-11 Commission.
May 13, 2004 - Makes a surprise visit to Iraq. Visits Abu Ghraib prison, among other stops. He then travels to Kuwait.
June 2005 - A lawsuit filed against Rumsfeld on behalf of nine former detainees will be heard in federal court in the District of Columbia, according to a ruling by a seven-judge panel. The suit accuses him and three high-ranking U.S. military officials of ignoring allegations that U.S. soldiers tortured prisoners. (05cv01378)
Early 2006 - Eight retired Generals, including former NATO commander Wesley Clark and former head of the U.S. Central Command Anthony Zinni, call for Rumsfeld's resignation. The Generals believe Rumsfeld has mishandled both the planning and execution of the war in Iraq.
November 8, 2006 - President Bush announces that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is stepping down from his post.
December 9, 2006 - Rumsfeld makes an unannounced visit to Iraq to say a final farewell to U.S. troops, visiting U.S. troops at bases near Baghdad and at the Al Asad Air Base in Anbar province.
December 15, 2006 - Rumsfeld's last full workday as Secretary of Defense. Robert Gates replaces Rumsfeld when he is sworn in at a Pentagon ceremony the following Monday.
December 18, 2006 - Rumsfeld is sued in Illinois federal court by two American men who worked as contractors in Iraq, Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel (06cv06964). The men allege that they were tortured by U.S. forces using methods approved by Rumsfeld.
February 2007 - Rumsfeld and others are sued by Jose Padilla for unlawful detainment in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina (07cv00410).
March 27, 2007 - U.S. District of Columbia court Judge Thomas F. Hogan dismisses a lawsuit against Rumsfeld brought by human rights groups on behalf of nine former detainees accusing him and three high-ranking U.S. military officials of ignoring allegations that U.S. soldiers tortured prisoners, in part because legal precedent generally protects federal officials from being held personally responsible for actions relating to their government jobs. (05cv01378)
September 7, 2007 - Rumsfeld joins the Hoover Institution, a conservative think tank at Stanford University, as a visiting fellow. Among the duties of his appointment is to advise a task force on terrorism and ideology. The appointment draws criticism from Stanford University faculty, staff, students, and alumni; some 2,100 people sign an online petition in protest of Rumsfeld's appointment.
November 3, 2008 - A government contractor files a federal complaint against Rumsfeld and others under the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA) in Doe v Rumsfeld (District Court of Columbia, 08-cv-01902).
December 11, 2008 - Bipartisan Senate report is released, the conclusions state the abuse of Abu Ghraib detainees are the "direct cause" of decisions of Rumsfeld.
March 5, 2010 - A federal judge refuses to dismiss part of a civil lawsuit against Rumsfeld, brought by two American men who worked as contractors in Iraq, Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel v. Donald Rumsfeld, et al. The men allege that they were tortured by U.S. forces using methods approved by Rumsfeld.
February 8, 2011 - Rumsfeld's memoir titled, "Known and Unknown: A Memoir" is released.
February 18, 2011 - The federal case against Rumsfeld and others for unlawful detainment, filed by Jose Padilla, is dismissed (District Court of South Carolina, 07cv00410).
January 23, 2012 - The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the district court's February 2011 dismissal of Rumsfeld v. Padilla.
September 17, 2012 - The November 2008 federal case against Rumsfeld and others (Doe v Rumsfeld, 08-cv-01902) is dismissed.
June 10, 2013 - The U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear the case brought against Rumsfeld November 2008 by two American contractors and partially upheld by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.