Richard Bruce Cheney (born January 30, 1941) is an American politician and businessman affiliated with the U.S. Republican Party. He is currently serving as the 46th Vice President of the United States under George W. Bush.
"Dick" Cheney was born in Lincoln, Nebraska. He grew up in Casper, Wyoming, and earned his bachelor's and master's of arts degrees from the University of Wyoming. He is married to his highschool sweetheart Lynne Cheney, an author and college teacher. They have grown daughters, Elizabeth and Mary, and three granddaughters.
He began serving the Nixon administration in 1969, serving in a number of positions at the Cost of Living Council, at the Office of Economic Opportunity, and within the White House. Under President Gerald Ford, Cheney became Assistant to the President and White House Chief of Staff.
In 1977 he was elected to represent Wyoming in the United States House of Representatives, and was re-elected five times. He was Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee from 1981 to 1987. He was elected Chairman of the House Republican Conference in 1987 and elected House Minority Whip in 1988.
Cheney served as the United States Secretary of Defense from March 1989 to January 1993 under President George H. W. Bush and directed Operation Just Cause in Panama and Operation Desert Storm in the Middle East.
Cheney joined the American Enterprise Institute after leaving office in 1993. In 1995 he became President and CEO of Halliburton Company, and energy services company with subsidiaries serving as private military contractors. He also sat on the board of Procter & Gamble, Union Pacific, and EDS.
Widely considered to be one of the more hawkish members of the cabinet, Cheney was one of the leading proponents in the Bush administration's to invade Iraq. He is a member of the Project for the New American Century, which earlier in September 2000 proposed an invasion of Iraq. In March 2003, the US invaded Iraq in the 2003 Iraq war.
Supporters of Vice President Cheney point to his reputation for knowledge and character. Opponents and detractors accuse him of being too closely tied and beholden to the oil industry.
Kellogg, Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, has a contract to control oil fires in Iraq if the well heads were set on fire. Cheney sold most of his Halliburton shares when he left the company, but retained 433,333 stock options worth about $8 million. Cheney arranged for the profits to be donated to charity, placed the options in a charitable trust, and relinquished control over them.
US Office of Government Ethics public financial disclosure sheets stated that Cheney received $162,392 in deferred salary in 2002 from Halliburton and $205,298 in 2001, which raised eyebrows when Halliburton received over $2 billion in no-bid, no-ceiling contracts in Iraq. This conflict, however, was mitigated by Cheney's purchase of an insurance policy to guarantee the payment of the deferred salary regardless of how Halliburton performed. The policy was taken when he became a nominee for vice president.