Before accepting that post, White was a career Army officer, serving most notably as the Commanding Officer of the 11th Armored Cavalry. After retirement, he was a high-level executive at Enron (1990-2001).
As Secretary, White became embroiled in conflict with United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld over the Crusader System, openly lobbying Congress against policies advocated by Rumsfeld. His past employment with scandal-plauged Enron further embarrassed the Bush Administration. White resigned on April 25th, 2003.