List of United States Secretaries of Defense by time in office

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2,595 days
Robert McNamara from 1961 to 1968
114 days
Elliot Richardson in 1973

This is a list of United States Secretaries of Defense by time in office. This is based on the difference between dates; if counted by number of calendar days all the figures would be one greater. (Note that the list of popes by length of reign use numbers of calendar days.)

Robert McNamara and Donald Rumsfeld are the only two people to have served as Secretary of Defense for more than 7 years. Rumsfeld is the only Secretary of Defense to have served two non-consecutive terms. Elliot Richardson served as Secretary of Defense for less than four months before becoming Attorney General.

# in office Secretary Days Rank
8 Macnamara, RobertRobert McNamara 2,595 1
13/21 Rumsfeld, DonaldDonald Rumsfeld 2,585 2
15 Weinberger, CasparCaspar Weinberger 2,497 3
5 Wilson, Charles ErwinCharles Erwin Wilson 1,722 4
22 Gates, RobertRobert Gates 1,656 5
10 Laird, Melvin R.Melvin R. Laird 1,469 6
14 Brown, HaroldHarold Brown 1,460 7
20 Cohen, WilliamWilliam Cohen 1,457 8
17 Cheney, DickDick Cheney 1,402 9
19 Perry, WilliamWilliam Perry 1,085 10
12 Schlesinger, James R.James R. Schlesinger 870 11
6 Macelroy, Neil H.Neil H. McElroy 783 12
23 Panetta, LeonLeon Panetta 608 13
1 Forrestal, JamesJames Forrestal 558 14
24 Hagel, ChuckChuck Hagel 551 15
2 Johnson, Louis A.Louis A. Johnson 540 16
4 Lovett, Robert A.Robert A. Lovett 491 17
16 Carlucci, FrankFrank Carlucci 424 18
7 Gates, Thomas S.Thomas S. Gates, Jr. 415 19
18 Aspin, LesLes Aspin 378 20
3 Marshall, GeorgeGeorge Marshall 356 21
9 , Clark M. CliffordClark M. Clifford 326 22
11 Richardson, ElliotElliot Richardson 114 23

See also[edit]