WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Former Defense Secretary Les Aspin died May 21 at Georgetown University Hospital after suffering a stroke.
Aspin, 56, served as a Wisconsin congressman from 1971 to 1993 and was chairman of the House Armed Services Committee from 1985 to 1993.
He was President Clinton's first secretary of defense, serving from January 1993 to December 1993. At the time of his death, he was chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.
Aspin's death "is a loss to the nation, a loss to the men and women of the U.S. military and a loss to me personally," read a statement from Defense Secretary William J. Perry. "The nation has lost a strong strategic thinker and I have lost a valued friend."
In his posts as House Armed Services Committee chairman and defense secretary, Aspin "crafted and carried out plans to restructure the nation's armed forces following the breakup of the Soviet Union," Perry's statement read.
"At the Defense Department he initiated the bottom-up review, the visionary plan for tailoring the armed forces to meet the nation's changing security needs."
Aspin, a Milwaukee native, graduated from Yale University in 1960, earned a master's degree in economics at Oxford University and an economics doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.