Bush's War Room: Dick Cheney

ByABC News
September 14, 2001, 12:06 PM

— -- Richard Bruce Cheney has a wealth of political experience as a White House official, a congressman, a Cabinet official, and now as vice president.

But before becoming George W. Bush's vice president, he may have been most familiar to the public as defense secretary under the former President Bush. In that post, he earned widespread praise for his handling of the Gulf War in 1991.

Popular for Gulf Role

His most important test came after the Iraqi invasion and occupation of Kuwait in August 1990. Cheney oversaw the deployment of forces in the Persian Gulf before and during the war against Iraq that broke out in January 1991.

Cheneys management of the operation made him a popular figure if not as well-known as Colin Powell, the then head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

As defense secretary, Cheney also took an active role in shaping U.S. national security policy, along with the elder President Bush and Secretary of State James Baker, in accordance with Cheneys stated policy: Arms for Americas friends and arms control for its potential foes.

Political, Business Experience

But Cheney is more than a defense expert. He has a background as a business executive and an unusually diverse political background, having seen the White House from the inside as former President Fords chief of staff at the young age of 34 and having served in Congress for a decade as the sole representative from Wyoming.

Prior to being tapped as vice president, Cheney worked in the private sector, serving as chief executive officer of Halliburton Co., a Texas-based Fortune 500 energy services company specializing in the development of oil and gas production around the world.

Cheney's stint as secretary of defense came despite what some said was lack of military experience.

During the Vietnam War, when Cheney was draft-eligible, he received deferments as a student, and then as a registrant with a child.