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Caspar Willard Weinberger

Weinberger, Caspar Willard (wĪnˈbûrgər) [key], 1917–2006, U.S. government official, U.S. secretary of defense (1981–87), b. San Francisco, grad. Harvard (1938), Harvard Law School (1941). After serving in the army during World War II and as a law clerk (1945–47), he was a lawyer in private practice and a Republican member of the California State Assembly (1953–59). He held several California state posts under Gov. Ronald Reagan in the late 1960s, then he served under Presidents Nixon and Ford as a chairman of the Federal Trade Commission (1970), deputy director (1970–72) and director (1972–73) of the Office of Management and Budget (where he earned the nickname "Cap the Knife" for his efforts to cut the budget), and secretary of health, education, and welfare (1973–75). When Reagan won the presidency in 1980, Weinberger became one his advisers and then was appointed secretary of defense. In the post he oversaw the largest peacetime expansion of the U.S. military, and was an advocate of a strong anti-Soviet stance on the part of the United States. After leaving government Weinberger was associated with Forbes, Inc., where he was chairman from 1993 until his death. In 1992 he was indicted on perjury charges for having failed to turn over diaries to the investigation into Iran-contra affair; a pardon (1992) by President George H. W. Bush foreclosed a trial.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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