Position: Secretary of Defense

NOMINEE: Robert Michael Gates

BIRTHDATE: Born: September 25, 1943 (age 65)

PERSONAL INFORMATION: Boy Scout & Eagle Scout; (Former president of the National Eagle Scout Association), 2007: Time Magazine named Gates as one of the most influential people,

2008: Named one of America's Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report

Political party: Independent/ Republican

EDUCATION: Georgetown University (Ph.D. Russian and Soviet History), Indiana University (M.A.  History), College of William & Mary (B.A. European History)

FAMILY: Spouse Becky Gates (Married 1966); Two Children: Bradley & Eleanor



1966: Recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency as a graduate student at Indiana University

1967-1969: Intelligence Officer, United States Air Force

1969: Central Intelligence Agency

1974: White House National Security Council (President Ford)

1979: Central Intelligence Agency: Director of the Strategic Evaluation Center

1981: Central Intelligence Agency: Director of the DCI/DDCI Executive Staff

1982: Deputy Director Central Intelligence Agency (President Reagan)

1989: National Security Advisor to the President (President George H.W. Bush)

1991: Director of Central Intelligence Agency (President George H.W. Bush)

1993-1999: Lecture Circuit

1999-2001: Interim Dean of the George Bush School of Government & Public Service at Texas A & M University

2002-2006: President of Texas A & M University

December 18, 2006: 22nd Secretary of Defense

BOOK: 1996, Gates' autobiography, From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider's Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War.


Presidential Citizens Medal

National Security Medal

National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal (2 awards)

Distinguished Intelligence Medal (3 awards)

Eagle Scout

Distinguished Eagle Scout Award

Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from College of William and Mary

College of William and Mary Alumni Association - Alumni Medallion

Corps of Cadets Hall of Honor (First Non-Corps Honoree) - Texas A&M University

George Bush Award (2007) - George Bush Presidential Library Foundation



Secretary Gates has not expressed a personal opinion on President Obama's proposal to repeal the law which excludes homosexuals from the military. In March 2007, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sparked controversy by telling the Chicago Tribune, "I believe that homosexual acts between individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts. I do not believe that the armed forces of the United States are well served by saying through our policies that it's OK to be immoral in any way." Gates responded in an interview on the Pentagon Channel, saying, "Now look, you know I think personal opinion really doesn't have a place here. What's important is that we have a law, a statute that governs 'don't ask, don't tell' . . . That's the policy of this department, and it's my responsibility to execute that policy as effectively as we can. As long as the law is what it is, that's what we'll do." [Source]

According to National Public Radio, "Senior Pentagon officials privately said the defense secretary summoned Pace to his office after the comments came to light, and demanded he put out a statement."  Pace did so, stating, "In expressing my support for the current policy, I also offered some personal opinions about moral conduct. I should have focused more on my support of the policy and less on my personal moral view." Three months later, Gates announced he was replacing Gen. Pace as chairman of the Joint Chiefs rather than renominating him, expressing concern about a "divisive ordeal" that would have focused on the "past rather than the future." [Source]

In the spring of 2008, it was reported by Politico that "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was forced to intervene with Defense Secretary Robert Gates in order to get Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin's domestic partner on a military flight for a congressional fact-finding trip to Europe. . . Under House guidelines, members of Congress may take their spouses with them on military flights," but "military officials were apparently unwilling to consider Azar a 'spouse.'" A Pentagon spokesman insisted that the travel rules are set by the House, not the Pentagon, and that the decision to waive the normal spousal requirement rested with Pelosi, not Gates: "Secretary Gates honored a request from Speaker Pelosi to make an exception to the House rules."

Secretary Gates was also the named defendant in a court case seeking to overturn the law barring homosexuals from the military, but the Department of Justice actually handled the case in court. On June 9, 2008, the First Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the current law in Cook v. Gates. [Source]