Unanimously confirmed in 2011 by the U.S. Senate as the twenty-third Secretary of Defense, Leon E. Panetta has had a fifty year career in public service at the highest levels of government: as Secretary of Defense, he established a new defense strategy; as Director of the CIA, he successfully led the operation that brought Osama bin Ladin to justice.
Secretary Panetta began his public service career in 1964 as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, receiving the Army Commendation Medal, and then served as a legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Tom Kuchel. In 1969, he was appointed Director of the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health, Education and Welfare responsible for enforcing equal education laws.
Elected to Congress in 1976, Secretary Panetta represented the California Central Coast for sixteen years. In 1993, he was sworn in as Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget for the Clinton administration and later appointed White House chief of staff, achieving a balanced federal budget.
In 1997, Secretary Panetta established The Panetta Institute for Public Policy, a non-partisan, not-for-profit study center to inspire men and women to lives of public service.
He chronicles his life in public service in his best-selling memoir “Worthy Fights,” which was published by Penguin Press in the fall of 2014.