Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Les Aspin (1993–1994): Secretary of Defense

Les Aspin served as President Clinton's secretary of defense from 1993 until his resignation in 1994. Prior to becoming defense secretary, Aspin served for twenty-two years as a congressman from Wisconsin (1971-1993).

Aspin was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1938. He received his undergraduate degree from Yale University in 1960, his master's from Oxford University in 1962, and his doctorate in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1965. He then served in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1968.

Aspin taught at Marquette University from 1969 to 1970 and returned to teach there as a professor of international policy after his resignation from the Clinton administration. Les Aspin died in Washington, D.C., on May 21, 1995.