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Donald Charles Winter (born June 15, 1948)[1] is an American politician and businessman who served as United States Secretary of the Navy[2] . A former top executive of TRW, Aerospace & Defense, he was nominated in 2005 by President George W. Bush, confirmed by the United States Senate, and took the oath of office on January 3, 2006. In January 2009 Defense Secretary Gates requested that Winter remain in office until President Obama picked his successor on March 13, 2009.[3] He resigned on March 13.[4]

Donald Winter
Donald Winter, official photo as Secretary of the Navy, 2006.jpg
74th United States Secretary of the Navy
In office
January 3, 2006 – March 13, 2009
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Barack Obama
Preceded byGordon R. England
Succeeded byRay Mabus
Personal details
Donald Charles Winter

(1948-06-15) June 15, 1948 (age 71)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationUniversity of Rochester (BS)
University of Michigan (MS, PhD)

Life and careerEdit

Winter earned a bachelor's degree (with highest distinction) in physics from the University of Rochester in 1969. He received a master's degree in 1970, and a doctorate in physics in 1972, from the University of Michigan.

He joined the aerospace technology company TRW in 1972, and directed laser physics projects in Redondo Beach, California. By 1978, he was head of the optics department there.

In 1980, Winter received a three-year appointment to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), serving under Dr. Bob Cooper during the very early years of research into the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) proposed by President Ronald Reagan. Winter's main responsibility was for Talon Gold, an advanced acquisition, tracking, and pointing experiment in space. During that period, he was awarded the Secretary of Defense's Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service.

Winter sworn in as Secretary of the Navy, January 2006.
Donald Winter with then-CNO Admiral Michael Mullen and then-MCPON Terry D. Scott

In 1982, Winter resigned from his DARPA appointment early and returned to TRW, where he held senior systems engineering and program management responsibilities for a variety of space system programs for the next eight years. From 1990 through 1997, as vice president and general manager of the defense systems division of TRW's Space & Electronics (S&E) business, Winter directed space systems activities that supported the national defense effort.

Winter was president and CEO of TRW Systems[5] from January 2000 until its acquisition by Northrop Grumman in December 2002. After the Northrop acquisition, Winter became head of Northrop Grumman Mission Systems[6] until his nomination by President Bush to become the civilian head of the Department of the Navy. He was elected to member of the National Academy of Engineering in 2002.[7]

He is currently Professor of Practice, Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering at the University of Michigan. [8]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Modern Biographical Files in the Navy Department Library - Donald Charles Winter".
  3. ^ "Secretary of the Navy to stay for a while". UPI. January 14, 2009. Archived from the original on May 31, 2009. Retrieved April 22, 2009. (Archived by WebCite)
  4. ^ "Navy Secretary Departs Office". United States Department of Defense. March 13, 2009. Retrieved March 13, 2009.
  5. ^ "Washington Post Politics - Don C Winter".
  6. ^ "Northrop Grumman Names Donald C. Winter Lead Executive For Missile Defense Business".
  7. ^ "NAE members 2002".
  8. ^ "Don C. Winter, Faculty Directory, University of Michigan".

External linksEdit

Government offices
Preceded by
Gordon R. England
United States Secretary of the Navy
January 2006–2009
Succeeded by
Raymond Mabus Jr.