Robert Lovett worked with international business and industry in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1941, he became the assistant secretary of war for air and held this post until 1945. He resigned then and resumed his banking career. Lovett returned to government service in 1947 as undersecretary of state. As defense secretary, Lovett initiated a coordinated department-wide defense budget. He returned to banking when President Truman left office in 1953. During the Kennedy administration, Lovett served as a presidential advisor and continued to sit on numerous high-level committees through the 1960s.