Died June 5, 2000.
Stepped down as secretary, Sept. 30, 1965
Eugene M. Zuckert was the seventh secretary of the Air Force.
He was born in New York City in 1911. He attended public elementary and high schools of suburban New York, received preparatory education at the Salisbury School, Salisbury, Conn. and obtained his bachelor of arts degree from Yale University in 1933; and received a bachelor of laws degree from Yale with a certificate for completion of the combined law-business course at Harvard and Yale in 1937. At Yale he was a member of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity.
From 1937 to 1940, Zuckert was attorney for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission at Washington and New York. From 1940 to 1944, he was instructor in relations of government and business at the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, advancing to assistant professor and later to assistant dean of the school. During this period, he also served as administrative head of the first advanced management course ever given at the Harvard Graduate School. In addition, while a member of the Harvard faculty, Zuckert served as a special consultant to the commanding general of the Army Air Forces in developing statistical controls. He was an instructor in the Army Air Forces Statistical Control School at Harvard, which trained more than 3,000 Air Force officers, and he served at various Army Air Force bases in the United States on special assignments for the commanding general, AAF.
In 1944, Zuckert entered the U.S. Navy on military duty and served in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations as a lieutenant (junior grade). He was assigned to the Navy's inventory control program and was released from service in September 1945, to become executive assistant to the administrator of the Surplus Property Administration, Stuart Symington.
Following Symington's appointment as assistant secretary of war for air on Jan. 31, 1946, Zuckert became his special assistant. When the National Security Act of 1947 became operative in September 1947, the Air Force became co-equal with the Army and Navy in the national military establishment. Symington was appointed the first Secretary of the Air Force, and Zuckert, on Sept. 26, 1947, took the oath as assistant secretary of the Air Force.
As assistant secretary of the Air Force (management), Zuckert assumed responsibility for the business management of the department. He instituted a program of "Management Control Through Cost Control" with a primary mission of placing the U.S. Air Force on a business-like basis using accepted industrial practices as a yardstick for establishing Air Force procedures. He participated for the Air Force in the formulation of the fiscal year 1950 budget, the first joint Army-Navy-Air Force budget in our history.
He instituted new methods of budgetary reporting and control which permitted division of Air Force appropriations into 12 major components representing the main functional elements of its programs. This major reform enabled the Air Force to approach closer to its goal of a true "performance" budget.
Zuckert directed the establishment of the Air Force Loyalty and Security program and, in July 1948, he served on a committee set up by Secretary of Defense James Forrestal to establish a unified court-martial code for the military services.
On Jan. 21, 1952, he was appointed a member of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and served until June 30, 1954, when he returned to the private practice of law specializing as a consultant in the field of atomic energy. Zuckert received his appointment as secretary of the Air Force in 1961.
He was chairman of the board, Nuclear Science & Engineering Corporation, located in Pittsburgh, Penn., which has been a pioneer in the field of radiation chemistry. He helped organize and was associated with Information for Industry, Inc., which published a chemical patents index and an electronics patents index. He also served as director of AMF Atomics, Ltd. (Canada), the atomic energy subsidiary of American Machine & Foundry, Inc. He co-authored, with Arnold Kramish, the book, Atomic Energy for Your Business. He is a member of the Executive Council of the Yale Law School Association, and is a former trustee of Landon School, Bethesda, Md.