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Vietnam-era U.S. defense secretary Robert McNamara dead

Robert McNamara, who served as defense secretary in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations and was one of the top architects of the U.S. war in Vietnam, died Monday, the Washington Post said. He was 93.

"Robert McNamara, seen here in 1997 and who served as defense secretary in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations and was one of the top architects of the US war in Vietnam, died Monday, the Washington Post said. He was 93."

The deeply controversial McNamara, who served as head of the World Bank after stepping down from his Pentagon post at the height of the Vietnam war, died in his sleep at home in Washington, the daily reported, citing family members.

They did not give a cause of death, according to the Post.

McNamara oversaw the escalation of U.S. war efforts in Vietnam from 1961 to 1968. He was also an early advocate of counter-insurgency operations, a key architect of Cold War nuclear policy, and an early pioneer of systems analysis in which he applied scientific and operations research to military planning, corporate operations and international finance.

He also had a brief but storied career as an executive at Ford, where as one of the automaker's "Whiz Kids" he rose rapidly through the ranks, in 1960 becoming its first president outside the Ford family and transforming it into a post-World War II powerhouse.

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