In 1961 the Pentagon was not quite two decades old; the Defense Department housed within it was only a dozen years old; but many of the management and budget practices dated back to the nineteenth century. Robert McNamara, not yet 45 years old, arrived to change things. McNamara knew a lot about business but only a little about the military. He had served in the Second World War as an Army Air Corps statistician, analyzing how to improve US bombing missions in the Pacifi c. After the war, he became a rising star at the Ford Motor Company, which made him president just before John F. Kennedy recruited him to come to Washington. When McNamara claimed a lack of qualifi cations for the Pentagon job, Kennedy replied that there were no schools for secretaries of defense, or for presidents.