"Washington has been a difficult town for David Packard," Defense Secretary Melvin Laird remarked recently. "He thinks there should be solutions for these problems. Often there can't be. And every time he looks up, there's another problem coming across his desk." Last week Packard, Laird's Deputy Secretary of Defense, finally decided to give up problem solving for the Federal Government's biggest department and return to Hewlett-Packard Company, the $350-million-a-year electronics firm that he headed before he came to Washington in 1969.

In his 35 months at the Pentagon, Packard handled most of the management while Laird, a former...

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