Leon Edward Panetta (born June 28, 1938) is the 23rd and current United States Secretary of Defense, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama since 2011. Prior to taking office, he served as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. An Italian-American Democratic politician, lawyer, and professor, Panetta served as President Bill Clinton's White House Chief of Staff from 1994 to 1997, Director of the Office of Management and Budget from 1993-1994 and was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1977 to 1993. He is the founder of the Panetta Institute for Public Policy, served as Distinguished Scholar to Chancellor Charles B. Reed of the California State University System and professor of public policy at Santa Clara University.
In January 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Panetta for the post of CIA Director. Panetta was confirmed by the full Senate on February 12, 2009, and assumed the office the next day. As director of the CIA, Panetta presided over the operations that led to Osama bin Laden's death.
On April 28, 2011, Obama announced the nomination of Panetta as Defense Secretary when Robert Gates retired. On June 21, the Senate confirmed Panetta unanimously as Secretary of Defense. He assumed the office on July 1. David Petraeus took over as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency on September 6.