McNamara, Robert Strange, Lt Col

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Last Rank
Lieutenant Colonel
Last AFSC Group
Special Identifiers
Primary Unit
1943-1946, United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)
Service Years
1943 - 1946
USAAFOfficer Collar Insignia
Lieutenant Colonel

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Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by A3C Michael S. Bell to remember McNamara, Robert Strange, Lt Col.

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Contact Info
Home Town
San Francisco, CA
Last Address
Washington, DC

Date of Passing
Jul 06, 2009
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Section 2, Grave 1233-A

 Official Badges 

Secretary of Defense Service WW II Honorable Discharge Pin

 Unofficial Badges 

Cold War Medal

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
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 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
After his election in 1960, President-elect John F. Kennedy first offered the post of Secretary of Defense to former secretary Robert A. Lovett; Lovett declined but recommended McNamara. Kennedy then sent Sargent Shriver to approach him regarding either the Treasury or the Defense cabinet post less than five weeks after McNamara had become president at Ford. At first McNamara turned down the Treasury position, but eventually, after discussions with his family, McNamara accepted Kennedy's invitation to serve as Secretary of Defense.

Although not especially knowledgeable about defense matters, McNamara immersed himself in the subject, learned quickly, and soon began to apply an "active role" management philosophy, in his own words "providing aggressive leadership questioning, suggesting alternatives, proposing objectives and stimulating progress." He rejected radical organizational changes, such as those proposed by a group Kennedy had appointed, headed by Sen. W. Stuart Symington, which would have abolished the military departments, replaced the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) with a single chief of staff, and established three functional unified commands. McNamara accepted the need for separate services but argued that "at the end we must have one defense policy, not three conflicting defense policies. And it is the job of the Secretary and his staff to make sure that this is the case."

Initially, the basic policies outlined by President Kennedy in a message to Congress on March 28, 1961 guided McNamara in the reorientation of the defense program. Kennedy rejected the concept of first-strike attack and emphasized the need for adequate strategic arms and defense to deter nuclear attack on the United States and its allies. U.S. arms, he maintained, must constantly be under civilian command and control, and the nation's defense posture had to be "designed to reduce the danger of irrational or unpremeditated general war." The primary mission of U.S. overseas forces, in cooperation with allies, was "to prevent the steady erosion of the Free World through limited wars." Kennedy and McNamara rejected massive retaliation for a posture of flexible response. The United States wanted choices in an emergency other than "inglorious retreat or unlimited retaliation", as the president put it. Out of a major review of the military challenges confronting the United States initiated by McNamara in 1961 came a decision to increase the nation's "limited warfare" capabilities. These moves were significant because McNamara was abandoning President Dwight D. Eisenhower's policy of massive retaliation in favor of a flexible response strategy that relied on increased U.S. capacity to conduct limited, non-nuclear warfare.

He also created the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Defense Supply Agency.
Other Comments:
Early life and career

Robert Strange McNamara was born in Oakland, California, where his father was the sales manager of a wholesale shoe company; he got his middle name "Strange" from his mother's maiden name. He attended Piedmont High School in Piedmont, California, where he was president of the Rigma Lions boys club in 1933. McNamara became an Eagle Scout, and graduated in 1937 from the University of California, Berkeley, with a Bachelor of Arts in economics with minors in mathematics and philosophy, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in his sophomore year, and earned a varsity letter in crew. He was a member of the UC Berkeley Golden Bear Battalion, Army ROTC. He then earned a master's degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration in 1939.

After earning his MBA, McNamara worked a year for the accounting firm Price Waterhouse in San Francisco. In August 1940 he returned to Harvard to teach in the Business School and became the highest paid and youngest Assistant Professor at the time. Following his involvement there in a program to teach the analytical approaches used in business to officers of the Army Air Forces (AAF), he entered the Armed Forces as a captain in early 1943, serving most of the war with the AAF's Office of Statistical Control. One major responsibility was the analysis of U.S. bombers' efficiency and effectiveness, especially the B-29 forces commanded by Major General Curtis LeMay in China and the Mariana Islands.[4] He left active duty in 1946 with the rank of lieutenant colonel and with a Legion of Merit.
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 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)
  1943-1946, United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1945-1945 World War II/Asian-Pacific Theater/Western Pacific Campaign (1944-45)
  1961-1968 Vietnam War
 Colleges Attended 
University of California, BerkeleyHarvard University
  1933-1937, University of California, Berkeley
  1937-1939, Harvard University
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-29 Superfortress  
  1945-1946, B-29 Superfortress
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