Caspar W. Weinberger assumed his present duties as United States Secretary of Defense in January 1981.
A native Californian, Weinberger was born and raised in San Francisco. He is a 1938 magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University and a 1941 graduate of Harvard Law School.
Advancing in the U.S. Army from a private to a captain during World War II, Weinberger saw action in the South Pacific and later served on the intelligence staff of General Douglas MacArthur.
After the war, Weinberger returned to California and entered private law practice. He served three consecutive terms in the California State Assembly, and in 1955 was named “the most able member of the State Legislature” in a poll of California journalists.
Weinberger continued his law practice, and became a partner in San Francisco firm of Heller, Ehrman, White and McAuliffe. He also was the moderator of a weekly televised public affairs program, a staff book reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle and a syndicated columnist. In 1964, he was elected chairman of the Commission on California Republican State Central Committee.
Then-California Governor Ronald Reagan named him chairman of the Commission on California State Government Organization and Economy in 1969 and a year later appointed him state director of finance.
Weinberger has served in several capacities at the federal level, including chairman of the Federal Trade Commission (1969-1970); deputy director and director of the Office of Management and Budget (1970-1972); and secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare (1973-1975).
In 1975, Weinberger returned to California to serve as general counsel, vice president and director of the Bechtel Group of Companies. He also was a member of the board of directors of Pepsi Cola Inc. and Quaker Oats Co.
Weinberger and his wife, Jane, have two children.