Charles J. Hitch

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Charles Johnston Hitch

Birthdate: (85)
Death: 1995 (85)
Immediate Family:

Son of A. M. Hitch and Bertha Johnston
Brother of Thomas Kemper Hitch

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Charles J. Hitch

Charles J. Hitch (January 9, 1910 – September 11, 1995) was Assistant Secretary of Defense from 1961 to 1965. He was president of the University of California from 1967 to 1975.

Hitch was born in Boonville, Missouri to Arthur M. Hitch and Bertha Johnston. His brother was Thomas Kemper Hitch. He was educated at the University of Arizona and Harvard, before travelling as a Rhodes scholar to Oxford University. He became the first Rhodes scholar to become a don at Oxford as a fellow of Queen's College, Oxford.

Between 1948 and 1961, he was head of Rand Corporation's Economics Division at Santa Monica. While at Rand, he co-authored "The Economics of Defense Spending in the Nuclear Age (1960), described by the New York Times as the 'bible' for defense budgeting.

As DOD's Comptroller, He was directed by Secretary Robert McNamara to produce a long-term, program-oriented Defense budget that became DOD's Planning, Programming and Budgeting System (PPBS).


Charles J. Hitch joined the University of California in September, 1965, as Vice President-Business and Finance. At the time of his appointment as the thirteenth president of the University in 1967, Hitch was serving as Vice President of the University for Administration, UC's second-ranking executive. A professor of economics at UC Berkeley, Hitch also served as chairman of the Budget Review Board and the Capital Outlay Review Board.

Born January 9, 1910, in Boonville, Missouri, Hitch received his Bachelor of Arts degree with highest distinction from the University of Arizona in 1931. After a year of graduate study at Harvard he was selected to be a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, where he received his Master's degree. In 1935 he became the first American Rhodes Scholar to be a don at an Oxford college when he was elected a Fellow of Queens College, a position he held thirteen years. He was general editor of the Oxford Economic Papers. He was a visiting professor at Yale, UCLA, and the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. He held an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from the University of Arizona and an honorary degree of Doctor of Science in Commerce from Drexel Institute of Technology, and was an Honorary Fellow of Queens College, Oxford. He traveled frequently to speak before audiences throughout Europe and England.

During World War II, Hitch served with the first Lend-Lease mission in London and subsequently on the War Production Board. Following assignments in the Army and the Office of Strategic Services, he was chief of the Stabilization Controls Division of the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion. In 1961 President Kennedy appointed Hitch Assistant Secretary of Defense and Comptroller of the Defense Department, where he was chiefly responsible for revamping the Pentagon's administrative organization and instituting modern cost-accounting and budgeting processes. Prior to his last government appointment, Hitch served, from 1948 to 1961, first as Head of the Economics Division of the RAND Corporation of Santa Monica, and later as Chairman of its Research Council. He achieved fame among economists and administrators in innovating effective methods of cost-benefit analysis.

Hitch authored many articles and books, including America's Economic Strength (London: Oxford University Press, 1941); The Economics of Defense in the Nuclear Age, with Roland N. McKean (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1960); Decision-Making for Defense (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1965); The Defense Sector and the American Economy, with Jacob K. Javits and Arthur F. Burns (New York: New York University Press, 1968); Defense Economic Issues (Washington, D.C.: National Defense University, 1982); and Energy Conservation and Economic Growth (Boulder, Colo: Westview Press, 1978).

He was active in a number of professional organizations, serving as President of the Operations Research Society of America, 1959-1960, and Vice President of the American Economic Association, 1965. He was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Economic Society. He was a Trustee of the Asia Foundation and Resources for the Future, and a member of the Board of the Directors of the American Council on Education. Following his term as UC president, Hitch served from 1975 to 1970 as President of Resources for the Future, a nonprofit corporation for research and education in the development, conservation, and use of natural resources.

Hitch lived with his family, including daughter Caroline, in Kensington. The Bancroft Library published his oral history in 1988.

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Charles J. Hitch's Timeline

Age 85