Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Panetta, Leon (1938–)

Secretary Panetta is most well known for his service in Obama’s cabinet, first as director of the Central Intelligence Agency and then as secretary of defense, from which he retired in 2013. Long before his career in national security, Panetta served as the director for the US Office of Civil Rights under Nixon. During his tenure, he managed the integration of 500+ southern public school districts. He was elected to the US House of Representatives from California in 1976, and subsequently directed President Clinton’s Office of Management and Budget in 1993. He advocated for civil rights right until his retirement, and during his tenure, dismantled barriers to women in combat in the US Armed Forces.