Melvin Laird, Nixon’s Secretary of Defense, Dead at 94
Melvin Laird, who served as secretary of defense under President Richard Nixon from 1969 until 1973, passed away Wednesday at the age of 94, his office confirmed. Prior to serving in the Nixon cabinet, Laird was a Republican congressman representing Wisconsin’s 7th district from 1953 to 1969. Laird was widely known for forming Nixon’s policy of withdrawing the U.S. military from Vietnam, and he is credited with coining the term “Vietnamization,” which described the goal of gradually handing over the war effort to the anti-communist South Vietnamese troops. Laird was also the secretary of defense who suspended conscription in 1973, making the U.S. military an all-volunteer force.