Robert Gates

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Robert Michael Gates
Robert Gates

Assumed office 
December 18, 2006
President George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Deputy Gordon England (2006-2009)
William J. Lynn III (2009-)
Preceded by Donald Rumsfeld

In office
November 6, 1991 – January 20, 1993
President George H. W. Bush
Deputy Richard James Kerr
William Oliver Studeman
Preceded by William Webster
Succeeded by James Woolsey

In office
April 1986 – March 1989
President Ronald Reagan
George H. W. Bush
Preceded by John McMahon
Succeeded by Richard James Kerr

Born September 25, 1943 (1943-09-25) (age 65)
Wichita, Kansas
Political party Independent[1]
Spouse Becky Gates
Alma mater Georgetown University (Ph.D.)
Indiana University (M.A.)
College of William & Mary (B.A.)
Signature Robert Gates's signature
Military service
Service/branch United States Air Force
Years of service 1967 – 1969
Rank Second Lieutenant
Battles/wars Vietnam War

Robert Michael Gates (born September 25, 1943) is currently serving as the 22nd United States Secretary of Defense. He took office on December 18, 2006.[2] Prior to this, Gates served for 26 years in the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, and under President George H. W. Bush as Director of Central Intelligence. Before he joined the CIA, he served with the United States Air Force (USAF).[3] After leaving the CIA, Gates became president of Texas A&M University and was a member of several corporate boards. Gates also served as a member of the Iraq Study Group, the bipartisan commission co-chaired by James A. Baker III and Lee Hamilton, that has studied the Iraq War. He was also the first pick to serve as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security when it was created following the September 11, 2001 attacks, but he declined the appointment in order to remain President of Texas A&M University.[4]

Gates accepted the nomination as Secretary of Defense position on November 8, 2006, replacing Donald Rumsfeld. He was confirmed with bipartisan support.[5] In a 2007 profile written by former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, Time named Gates one of the year's most influential people.[5] In 2008, Gates was named one of America's Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report.[6] He currently continues to serve as Secretary of Defense in President Barack Obama's cabinet.[7]


[edit] Early life and education

A native of Wichita, Kansas, Gates attained the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and received the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the BSA as an adult.[8][9] He graduated from Wichita East High School in 1961, reportedly with straight "A"s.[10]

Gates then received a scholarship to attend the College of William and Mary. There, he graduated in 1965 with a B.A. in History. At William & Mary, Gates was an active member and president of the Alpha Phi Omega (the national service fraternity) Chapter and the Young Republicans; he was also the business manager for the William and Mary Review, a literary and art magazine.[11] At his William & Mary graduation ceremony, Gates received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award naming him the graduate that "has made the greatest contribution to his fellow man." [11]

Gates then pursued a Master's degree in History from Indiana University in 1966. Finally, he completed his doctorate in Russian and Soviet history from Georgetown University in 1974. The title of his Georgetown doctoral dissertation is "Soviet sinology: an untapped source for Kremlin views and disputes relating to contemporary events in China" and is available from University Microfilms International as document number 7421652. He received an L.H.D. (Doctor of Humane Letters) from William & Mary in 1998.

He married on January 7, 1967.[12]

[edit] Intelligence career

[edit] Positions

While at Indiana University, Gates was recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency and joined the agency in 1966.[13] On 4 January 1967, he was conscripted and commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force.[12][13] From 1967 to 1969, he was assigned to the Strategic Air Command as an intelligence officer which included a stint at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, where he delivered intelligence briefings to Intercontinental Ballistic Missile crews.[14] After fulfilling his military obligation, he rejoined the CIA.

Gates left the CIA in 1974 to serve on the staff of the National Security Council. He returned to the CIA in late 1979, serving briefly as the director of the Strategic Evaluation Center, Office of Strategic Research. He was named the Director of the DCI/DDCI Executive Staff in 1981, Deputy Director for Intelligence in 1982, and Deputy Director of Central Intelligence from April 18, 1986 to March 20, 1989.

[edit] Director of Central Intelligence

Gates while Director of Central Intelligence.

Gates was nominated to become the Director of Central Intelligence (head of the CIA) in early 1987. He withdrew his name after it became clear the Senate would reject the nomination due to controversy about his role in the Iran-Contra affair.

Gates was Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs from March until August 1989, and was Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Adviser from August 1989 until November 1991.

Gates was nominated (for the second time) for the position of Director of Central Intelligence by President George H. W. Bush on May 14, 1991, confirmed by the Senate on November 5, and sworn in on November 6, becoming the only career officer in the CIA's history (as of 2005) to rise from entry-level employee to Director.

Deputy Directors during his tenure were Richard J. Kerr (from November 6, 1991 until March 2, 1992) and Adm. William O. Studeman (from April 9, 1992 through the remainder of Dr. Gates' tenure). He served until 1993.

The final report of the Independent Counsel for Iran/Contra Matters, issued on August 4, 1993, said that Gates "was close to many figures who played significant roles in the Iran/contra affair and was in a position to have known of their activities. The evidence developed by Independent Counsel did not warrant indictment..."[15]

[edit] Level of involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal

Because of his senior status in the CIA, Gates was close to many figures who played significant roles in the Iran-Contra Affair and was in a position to have known of their activities. In 1984, as deputy director of CIA, Gates advocated that the U.S. initiate a bombing campaign against Nicaragua and that the U.S. do everything in its power short of direct military invasion of the country to remove the Sandinista government.[16] The evidence developed by Independent Counsel did not warrant indictment of Gates for his Iran-Contra activities or his responses to official inquiries.

Gates was an early subject of Independent Counsel's investigation, but the investigation of Gates intensified in the spring of 1991 as part of a larger inquiry into the Iran/contra activities of CIA officials. This investigation received an additional impetus in May 1991, when President George H.W. Bush nominated Gates to be Director of Central Intelligence (DCI). The chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) requested, in a letter to the Independent Counsel on May 15, 1991, any information that would “significantly bear on the fitness” of Gates for the CIA post.

Gates consistently testified that he first heard on October 1, 1986, from Charles E. Allen, the national intelligence officer who was closest to the Iran initiative, that proceeds from the Iran arms sales may have been diverted to support the Contras. Other evidence proves, however, that Gates received a report on the diversion during the summer of 1986 from DDI Richard Kerr.[17] The issue was whether the Independent Counsel could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Gates was deliberately not telling the truth when he later claimed not to have remembered any reference to the diversion before meeting with Allen in October.

Grand Jury secrecy rules hampered Independent Counsel's response. Nevertheless, in order to answer questions about Gates' prior testimony, Independent Counsel accelerated his investigation of Gates in the summer of 1991. This investigation was substantially completed by September 3, 1991, at which time Independent Counsel determined that Gates' Iran-Contra activities and testimony did not warrant prosecution.

Independent Counsel made this decision subject to developments that could have warranted reopening his inquiry, including testimony by Clair E. George, the CIA's former deputy director for operations. At the time Independent Counsel reached this decision, the possibility remained that George could have provided information warranting reconsideration of Gates's status in the investigation. George refused to cooperate with Independent Counsel and was indicted on September 19, 1991. George subpoenaed Gates to testify as a defense witness at George's first trial in the summer of 1994, but Gates was never called.

[edit] Career after leaving the CIA

[edit] 1993-1999

After retiring from the CIA in 1993, Gates worked as an academic and lecturer. He evaluated student theses for the International Studies Program of the University of Washington.[citation needed] He lectured at Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins, Vanderbilt, Georgetown, Indiana, Louisiana State, Oklahoma, and the College of William and Mary.[citation needed] Gates served as a member of the Board of Visitors of the University of Oklahoma International Programs Center and a trustee of the endowment fund for the College of William and Mary, his alma mater, which in 1998 conferred upon him honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.

In 1996, Gates' autobiography, From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider's Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War, was published. Gates has also written numerous articles on government and foreign policy and has been a frequent contributor to the op-ed page of The New York Times.[18]

Gates at Texas A&M

[edit] Texas A&M

Gates was the interim Dean of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University from 1999 to 2001. On August 1, 2002, he became the 22nd President of Texas A&M. As the university president, Gates made significant progress in four key areas of the university's "Vision 2020" plan, a plan to become one of the top 10 public universities by the year 2020. The four key areas include improving student diversity, increasing the size of the faculty, building new academic facilities, and enriching the undergraduate and graduate education experience.[19] During his tenure, Gates encouraged the addition of 440 new faculty positions and a $300 million campus construction program, and saw dramatic increases in minority enrollment. On February 2, 2007, Gates was conferred the title of President Emeritus by unanimous vote of the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents. Gates and his wife Becky received honorary doctoral degrees from Texas A&M on August 10, 2007.[20]

[edit] Corporate boards

Gates has been a member of the board of trustees of Fidelity Investments, and on the board of directors of NACCO Industries, Inc., Brinker International, Inc., Parker Drilling Company, Science Applications International Corporation, and VoteHere, a technology company which sought to provide cryptography and computer software security for the electronic election industry.[21] A White House spokeswoman has said Gates plans to sell all the stock he owns in individual companies and sever all ties with them if confirmed by the Senate.[22]

[edit] Public service

Gates is a former president of the National Eagle Scout Association.[23]

In January 2004, Gates co-chaired a Council on Foreign Relations task force on U.S. relations towards Iran. Among the task force's primary recommendation was to directly engage Iran on a diplomatic level regarding Iranian nuclear technology. Key points included a negotiated position that would allow Iran to develop its nuclear program in exchange for a commitment from Iran to use the program only for peaceful means.[24]

At the time of his nomination by President George W. Bush to the position of Secretary of Defense, Gates was also a member of the Iraq Study Group, also called the Baker Commission, which was expected to issue its report in November 2006, following the mid-term election on November 7. He was replaced by former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger.

[edit] Declined appointment as Director of National Intelligence

In February 2005, Gates wrote in a message posted on his school's website that "there seems to be a growing number of rumors in the media and around campus that I am leaving Texas A&M to become the new director of national intelligence in Washington, D.C." The message said that "To put the rumors to rest, I was indeed asked to take the position, wrestled with perhaps the most difficult — and close — decision of my life, and last week declined the position."

Gates committed to remain as President of Texas A&M University through the summer of 2005; President George W. Bush offered the position of United States Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to John Negroponte, who accepted.[25]

Gates said in a 2005 discussion with the university's Academy for Future International Leaders that he had tentatively decided to accept the DNI position out of a sense of duty and had written an email that would be sent to students during the press conference to announce his decision, explaining that he was leaving to serve the U.S. once again. Gates, however, took the weekend to consider what his final decision should be, and ultimately decided that he was unwilling to return to Washington, D.C., in any capacity simply because he "had nothing to look forward to in D.C. and plenty to look forward to at A&M."[26]

[edit] Secretary of Defense

[edit] Bush Administration

Gates being sworn in as Defense Secretary on December 18, 2006.

On November 8, 2006, after the 2006 midterm election, President George W. Bush announced his intent to nominate Gates to succeed the resigning Donald Rumsfeld as U.S. Secretary of Defense.[27][28]

Gates was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate Armed Services Committee on December 5, 2006. During his confirmation hearing on December 5, 2006, Senator Carl Levin of Michigan asked Gates if he thought the United States was winning the war in Iraq, to which Gates responded: "No, sir." He then went on to say that he did not think the United States was losing the war either.[29] The next day, Gates was confirmed by the full Senate by a margin of 95-2, with Republican Senators Rick Santorum and Jim Bunning casting the two dissenting votes and senators Elizabeth Dole, Evan Bayh, and Joe Biden not voting.[30] On December 18, 2006, Gates was sworn in as Secretary of Defense by White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten at a private White House ceremony and then by Vice President Dick Cheney at the Pentagon. [2]

US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates gives a gig 'em with a group of Aggie marines at Camp Fallujah, Iraq

Several months after his appointment, The Washington Post published a series of articles beginning February 18, 2007 that brought to the spotlight the Walter Reed Army Medical Center neglect scandal.[31] As a result of the fallout from the incident, Gates announced the removal of Secretary of the Army Francis J. Harvey, and later, he approved the removal of Army Surgeon General Kevin C. Kiley.[32]

On June 8, 2007, Gates announced that he would not recommend the renomination of Peter Pace, the Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, due to anticipated difficulties with the confirmation process. Instead, Gates recommended Mike Mullen, the Chief of Naval Operations at the time, to fill the position.[33] On June 5, 2008, in response to the findings on Air Force misshipments of nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons components, Gates announced the resignations of Secretary of the Air Force Michael Wynne and Air Force Chief of Staff Michael Moseley.[34]

[edit] Obama Administration

On December 1, 2008, President-elect Obama announced that Robert Gates would remain in his position as Secretary of Defense during his administration,[7] reportedly for at least the first year of Obama's presidency.[35] Gates is the fourteenth Cabinet member in history to serve under two Presidents of different parties. One of the first priorities under President Barack Obama’s administration for Gates will be a review of U.S. policy and strategy in Afghanistan.[36] Gates, sixth in the presidential line of succession, was selected as designated survivor during Obama's inauguration.[37] On March 1, 2009 he told David Gregory on Meet the Press that he would not commit to how long he would serve as Secretary of Defense but implied that he would not serve the entire first term.[38]

[edit] Criticism

Gates responds to a question during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on December 5, 2006

As deputy director and director of America's leading intelligence agency for many years, Gates and his CIA staff have been faulted for failing to accurately gauge the decline and disintegration of the Soviet Union. More particularly, Gates has been criticized for concocting evidence to show that the Soviet Union was stronger than it actually was, and also for repeatedly skewing intelligence to promote a particular worldview.[39] Also, according to Newsweek, Gates, as deputy director of CIA, allegedly vouched for the comprehensiveness of a CIA study presented to the Senate and President Reagan alleging that the Soviet Union played a role in the 1981 shooting of Pope John Paul II. A CIA internal review later denounced the report as being skewed,[39] but that Gates did not try to influence the report's conclusions.[40]

[edit] NATO Comments

On January 16, 2008, Gates was quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying NATO forces in southern Afghanistan do not know how to properly combat a guerrilla insurgency and that could be contributing to rising violence in the country [2]. The Netherlands [3] and United Kingdom [4] protested.

[edit] Awards and decorations

Gates, right, escorts Romanian Minister of Defense Teodor Melescanu through an honor cordon into the Pentagon Sept. 24, 2008, to talk about bilateral defense issues.

Gates' awards and decorations include:

Government awards
Other awards

[edit] References

  1. ^ Does Bob Gates count as a Republican?
  2. ^ a b "New US defence secretary sworn in". BBC News. December 18, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-12-18. 
  3. ^ Accountability Office Urges Air Force to Re-Bid Tanker Contract
  4. ^ "Gates' Government Intelligence Experience Runs Deep". National Public Radio. November 9, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-11-09. 
  5. ^ a b Robert Gates By Zbigniew Brzezinski. Time. Accessed May 31, 2008.
  6. ^ "America's Best Leaders: Robert Gates, U.S. Secretary of Defense". Retrieved on 2008-11-25. 
  7. ^ a b (1 December 2008). "Key members of Obama-Biden national security team announced" (Press release). Newsroom. Office of the President-elect. Retrieved on December 1, 2008. 
  8. ^ "Distinguished Eagle Scouts". Troop & Pack 179. Retrieved on 2006-03-02. 
  9. ^ Townley, Alvin. Legacy of Honor: The Values and Influence of America's Eagle Scouts. New York: St. Martin's Press. pp. 217–218. ISBN 0-312-36653-1. Retrieved on 2006-12-29. 
  10. ^ Shane, Scott (November 19, 2006). "Pentagon Pick Returns to City He Gladly Left". New York Times. front. Retrieved on 2006-09-25. 
  11. ^ a b Whitson, Brian (December 8, 2006), "Senate confirms Gates (’65) as U.S. Secretary of Defense", W&M News (College of William & Mary Office of University Relations): Front,, retrieved on 2006-11-09 
  12. ^ a b Gates, Robert (April 21, 2008). "Secretary Gates Remarks at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, Montgomery Alabama" (transcript). DefenseLink News (U.S. Department of Defense). Retrieved on December 23, 2008. 
  13. ^ a b "DefenseLink Biography: Dr. Robert M. Gates". U.S. Dept. of Defense. July 2007. Retrieved on 2008-04-21. 
  14. ^ Powers, Thomas (June 20, 1996). "Who Won the Cold War?"". New York Review of Books 43 (11). 
  15. ^ Lawrence E. Walsh, Final report of the independent counsel for Iran/Contra matters, August 4, 1993, and in particular Chapter 16, "Robert M. Gates"
  16. ^ Los Angeles Times, Nov. 25, 2006, free archived version at last visited Nov. 26, 2006.
  17. ^ Iran-Contra Report, Chapter 16.
  18. ^ Texas A&M press release, July 1999.
  19. ^ "Texas A&M Academic Convocation 2005". President Robert M. Gates.
  20. ^ "Aggies Wrap First Week of Fall Camp with Pair of Workouts". Texas A&M University Athletic Department. 2007-08-11. Retrieved on 2007-08-15. 
  21. ^ Lewellen-Biddle, Mark (December 11, 2003). "Voting Machines Gone Wild!". In These Times. Retrieved on 2007-09-25. 
  22. ^ Theimer, Sharon (December 6, 2006; 3:54 AM). "Gates' Assets Include Defense Stock". Washington Post / Associated Press. Retrieved on 2007-09-25. 
  23. ^ "NESA Mourns Loss of Eagles in Operation Iraqi Freedom". Boy Scouts of America. 2008. Retrieved on 2008-07-07. 
  24. ^ Iran: Time for a New Approach, final report of an independent task force, July 2004, Council of Foreign Relations Press
  25. ^ "Bush names Negroponte intelligence chief". February 18, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-11-08. 
  26. ^ Esterbrook, John (2006-11-08). "A Closer Look At Robert Gates". CBS News. Retrieved on 2009-02-03. 
  27. ^ "Bush replaces Rumsfeld to get 'fresh perspective'". November 8, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-11-08. 
  28. ^ Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Jim Rutenberg (November 8, 2006). "Rumsfeld Resigns as Defense Secretary After Big Election Gains for Democrats". New York Times. Retrieved on 2006-11-08. 
  29. ^ Jim Garamone (December 6, 2006). "Senate Confirms Gates as 22nd Defense Secretary". American Forces Press Service. Retrieved on 2006-12-06. 
  30. ^ "Robert Gates confirmed as secretary of defense". Associated Press. December 6, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-12-06. 
  31. ^ "The Other Walter Reed".
  32. ^ Army surgeon general ousted amid Walter Reed scandal -
  33. ^
  34. ^ "DoD News Briefing with Secretary Gates from the Pentagon". U.S. Department of Defense. 2008-06-05. Retrieved on 2008-06-05. 
  35. ^ "Gates Cabinet Appointment 'A Done Deal'" (Blog). Political Radar (ABC News). 25 November 2008. Retrieved on Novemebr 25, 2008. 
  36. ^ Fireman, Ken; Capaccio, Tony (2 December 2008). "Gates Says Review of Afghanistan Policy Will Be ‘High Priority’" (Article). Worldwide News (Bloomberg). Retrieved on December 2, 2008. 
  37. ^ CNN (20 January 2009). "Defense Secretary Gates to be 'designated successor' Tuesday" (News article). CNN. CNN. Retrieved on January 20, 2009. 
  38. ^ [1]
  39. ^ a b "Old Names, Old Scandals". Newsweek. 2006-11-08. 
  40. ^ "In Rebuttal to Senate Panel, C.I.A. Nominee Seems Truthful but Incomplete". The New York Times. 

[edit] References

  • Gates, Robert M. (1997). From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider's Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-684-83497-9. 

[edit] Further reading

[edit] External links

Government offices
Preceded by
John McMahon
Deputy Director of Central Intelligence
1986 – 1989
Succeeded by
Richard James Kerr
Preceded by
William Webster
Director of Central Intelligence
1991 – 1993
Succeeded by
James Woolsey
Preceded by
John Negroponte
Deputy National Security Adviser
1989 – 1991
Succeeded by
Jonathan Howe
Political offices
Preceded by
Donald Rumsfeld
United States Secretary of Defense
Served Under: George W. Bush, Barack Obama

2006 – present
Academic offices
Preceded by
Ray Bowen
President of Texas A&M University
2002 – 2006
Succeeded by
Elsa Murano
Order of precedence in the United States of America
Preceded by
Timothy Geithner
Secretary of the Treasury
United States order of precedence
Secretary of Defense
Succeeded by
Eric Holder
Attorney General
United States Presidential Line of Succession
6th in line
NAME Gates, Robert Michael
SHORT DESCRIPTION CIA director, U.S. Secretary of Defense, and university president
DATE OF BIRTH September 25, 1943
PLACE OF BIRTH Wichita, Kansas, United States
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