Robert M. Gates
George W. Bush / Barack Obama Administration
December 18, 2006 – June 30, 2011
Dr. Robert M. Gates was sworn in on December 18, 2006, as the 22nd Secretary of Defense. Dr. Gates is the only Secretary of Defense in U.S. history to be asked to remain in that office by a newly elected President. President Barack Obama is the eighth president Dr. Gates has served.
Before entering this post, Dr. Gates was the President of Texas A&M University, the nation's seventh largest university. Prior to assuming the Texas A&M presidency, on August 1, 2002, he served as Interim Dean of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M from 1999 to 2001.
Becky Gates holds the Bible as her husband Robert M. Gates, center, is sworn in as the 22nd U.S. defense secretary by Vice President Dick Cheney, right, during a Pentagon ceremony, 18 December 2006. President George W. Bush, left, attended the ceremony. Gates was confirmed Dec. 6, 2006, by the U.S. Senate in a 95-2 vote. DOD photo by Helene C. Stikkel
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss, among other topics, missile defense in Moscow, 23 April 2007. DOD photo by Cherie A. Thurlby
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, visiting Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, presents the Purple Heart medal to Army Staff Sgt. Brent A. Homan on 13 June 2007, for wounds received in action in Balad, Iraq. DOD photo by Cherie A. Thurlby
Former President George H. W. Bush presents Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates with the George Bush Award for Excellence in Public Service during a ceremony at Reed Arena in College Station, Texas, 26 October 2007. DOD photo by Cherie A. Thurlby
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates talks with 107-year-old Frank Buckles during a Pentagon ceremony to unveil portraits of Buckles and the eight other surviving World War I veterans, 6 March 2008. The portraits were taken by photographer David DeJonge. Frank Buckles and fellow veteran John Babcock are the only survivors remaining since DeJonge began his project. Buckles served as an ambulance driver in WWI after enlisting at age 15. DOD photo by R. D. Ward
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates thanks U.S. Marines for their service after a demonstration at the improvised explosive device area while visiting Camp Lejeune N.C., 23 April 2009. Gates visited Marines assigned to the 2nd Battalion 2nd Marine Regiment before their deployment to Afghanistan. DOD photo by Air Force Master Sgt. Jerry Morrison
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., 3 December 2009. The testimony focused on President Barack Obama's decision to send an additional 30,000 troops to the war in Afghanistan. DOD photo U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley
President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and members of the national security team, including Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, far right, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, standing, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, 1 May 2011. White House photo by Pete Souza
Secretary Gates joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1966 and spent nearly 27 years as an intelligence professional. During that period, he spent nearly nine years at the National Security Council, The White House, serving four presidents of both political parties.
Dr. Gates served as Director of Central Intelligence from 1991 until 1993. He is the only career officer in CIA's history to rise from entry-level employee to Director. He served as Deputy Director of Central Intelligence from 1986 until 1989 and as Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Adviser at the White House from January 20, 1989, until November 6, 1991, for President George H.W. Bush.
Secretary Gates has been awarded the National Security Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal, has twice received the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, and has three times received CIA's highest award, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal.
He is the author of the memoir, From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insiders Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War, published in 1996.
Until becoming Secretary of Defense, Dr. Gates served as Chairman of the Independent Trustees of The Fidelity Funds, the nation's largest mutual fund company, and on the board of directors of NACCO Industries, Inc., Brinker International, Inc. and Parker Drilling Company, Inc.
Dr. Gates has also served on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the American Council on Education, the Board of Directors of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, and the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America. He has also been President of the National Eagle Scout Association.
A native of Kansas, Secretary Gates received his bachelor's degree from the College of William and Mary, his master's degree in history from Indiana University, and his doctorate in Russian and Soviet history from Georgetown University.
In 1967 he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and served as an intelligence officer at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri.