Mr. Panetta began his long and distinguished public service career in 1964. In 1969, he was appointed director of the U.S. Office for Civil Rights, where he was responsible for enforcing equal education laws, and later he served as executive assistant to the mayor of New York City. He then returned to Monterey, where he practiced law until his election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976.
In 1993, Mr. Panetta left Congress to serve as director of the Office of Management and Budget for the incoming Clinton administration. In 1994, he accepted appointment as the President’s chief of staff. Upon leaving the Clinton administration in 1997, Mr. Panetta joined with his wife Sylvia to establish and co-direct the Panetta Institute for Public Policy, based at California State University, Monterey Bay.
Returning to public service in the Obama Administration as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, he ran the operation that brought Osama bin Laden to justice, and, as Secretary of Defence, led the effort to develop a new defence strategy, helping bring two wars to an end, and opened up opportunities for everyone to serve in the military. Mr. Panetta chronicles his life in public service in his memoir “Worthy Fights”.