William S. Cohen spent 31 years in U.S. public service in positions that included mayor of Bangor, Maine; member of Congress in the House of Representatives and then in the Senate; and finally 20th Secretary of Defense, from 1997-2001. In the Senate he served in leadership positions on the Special Committee on Aging, as well as the Armed Services and Governmental Affairs committees, among others. In 1996, President Bill Clinton selected then-Senator Cohen to be Secretary of Defense, the first time in modern US history when a president has chosen an elected official from the other party to be a member of his cabinet.
Secretary Cohen is currently chairman and chief executive officer of The Cohen Group. He serves on the corporate board of CBS, as vice chairman of the US-China Business Council and as a board member of the US-India Business Council. He is also a senior counselor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. In addition, Secretary Cohen is an advisor to the mayor of the Tianjin Municipal Government and an honorary professor at Nankai University. Born in Bangor, Maine, Secretary Cohen obtained his BA with a Latin major from Bowdoin College in 1962 and a Juris Doctorate degree from Boston University in 1965. He has authored or co-authored twelve books, including five works of non-fiction, five novels and two volumes of poetry.