William James Perry (born October 11, 1927) is an American businessman and engineer who was the United States Secretary of Defense from February 3, 1994, to January 23, 1997, under President Bill Clinton. He also served as Deputy Secretary of Defense (1993–1994) and Under Deputy Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.
Perry is currently the Michael and Barbara Berberian Professor at Stanford University, with a joint appointment in the School of Engineering. He is a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and serves as co-director of the Nuclear Risk Reduction initiative and the Preventive Defense Project. He is an expert in U.S. foreign policy, national security and arms control.
Former Secretary Perry also has extensive business experience and currently serves on the boards of several high-tech companies and is Chairman of Global Technology Partners. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among Perry's numerous awards are the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1997), the Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (1998) and the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun (2002), awarded by the Emperor of Japan.