In 1963 White graduated from Cass Technical High School in Detroit. He was a part of the JROTC program at Cass Tech, in 1967, White graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a Bachelor of Science degree and was commissioned in the United States Army. In 1974, he received a Master of Science degree in research from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey. In 1984, he attended the United States Army War College, Carlisle, in July,1990 White retired from the Army with the rank of Brigadier General. In 1990 White entered the sector as Vice-Chairman of Enron Energy Services. White also served as a member of Enrons Executive Committee and was Chairman, White was a controversial choice for Government service despite his long military service due to his most recent position as an executive with the Enron Corporation. U. S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld however had decided to make corporate experience one of the key requirements in his appointees, White was immediately embroiled in controversy regarding his previous employment with Enron and what he may have known about some of Enrons questionable business practices. His retention of an amount of Enron stock fueled the perception of a conflict interest. In 2002, White became involved with a dispute with Donald Rumsfeld over the cancellation of the Armys Crusader artillery project. White supported the Army view that the Crusader was vital to the Armys future, however, Rumsfeld decided it was not suited for wars of the future and eventually canceled the program. White resigned on April 25,2003, Enron had been the only bidder for this deal after White had controversially used his government and military contacts to secure key concessions. Shortly after the calls were made, White unloaded 200,000 Enron shares for $12 million and my response in both cases was that I had suffered significant personal losses but that I would persevere. The New York Times reported that in late January 2002, Rep. Henry Waxman requested a meeting with White regarding the military contracts, stating “you are in a unique position because you are the person in government who has the most intimate knowledge of Enron”. This earned him a rebuke from Sens, carl Levin and John Warner of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He was also accused in the Washington Post of Misuse of Government Property, by using military jets for personal trips for himself. In July, following reports of the company’s involvement in the 2000-2001 California electricity crisis
Image: Thomas E White, Secretary of the Army
White as brigadier general, 1989.
Secretary Thomas E. White visits Fort Campbell, KY