Military Wiki
Robert Gates
22nd United States Secretary of Defense

In office
December 18, 2006 – July 1, 2011
President George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Deputy Gordon England
William Lynn
Preceded by Donald Rumsfeld
Succeeded by Leon Panetta
22nd President of Texas A&M University

In office
August 1, 2002 – December 16, 2006
Preceded by Ray M. Bowen
Succeeded by Eddie J. Davis
15th Director of Central Intelligence

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

In office
March 20, 1989 – November 6, 1991
President George H. W. Bush
Preceded by John Negroponte
Succeeded by Jonathan Howe
16th Deputy Director of Central Intelligence

In office
April 18, 1986 – March 20, 1989
President Ronald Reagan
George H. W. Bush
Preceded by John McMahon
Succeeded by Richard Kerr
Personal details
Born Robert Michael Gates
September 25, 1943(1943-09-25) (age 79)
Wichita, Kansas
Political party Republican Party[1]
Spouse(s) Becky Gates
Alma mater College of William & Mary (B.A.)
Indiana University (Master of Arts)
Georgetown University (Ph.D.)
Military service
Service/branch United States Air Force
Years of service 1967–1969
Rank US-O1 insignia.svg Second Lieutenant

Robert Michael Gates (born September 25, 1943) is a retired civil servant and university president who served as the 22nd United States Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011. 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. Gates was also an officer in the United States Air Force and during the early part of his military career, he was recruited by the CIA.[2][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 H. Hamilton, that has studied the Iraq War. He was also the first pick to serve as the first Director of National Intelligence (DNI), but he declined the appointment in order to remain President of Texas A&M University.[4]

Gates accepted the nomination for Secretary of Defense on November 8, 2006, replacing Donald Rumsfeld. He was confirmed with bipartisan support.[5] In a 2007 profile written by former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, Time magazine 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 continued to serve as Secretary of Defense in President Barack Obama's administration.[7] Gates announced in August 2010 that he planned to retire in 2011, and President Barack Obama announced in April 2011 that he would be replaced by CIA director Leon Panetta.[8][9] “He’ll be remembered for making us aware of the danger of over-reliance on military intervention as an instrument of American foreign policy,” said former Senator David L. Boren.[10] Gates was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, by President Obama during his retirement ceremony.[11] On September 6, 2011, Gates was named to be 24th Chancellor of The College of William and Mary; he succeeded Sandra Day O'Connor on February 3, 2012.[12]

Early life and education

Gates was born in Wichita, Kansas, the son of Isabel V. (née Goss) and Melville A. "Mel" Gates.[13] 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.[14][15] He graduated from Wichita High School East in 1961.[16] Gates is also a Vigil Honor member within the Order of the Arrow, Scouting's National Honor Society.

Gates then received a scholarship to attend the College of William and Mary, graduating in 1965 with a B.A. in history. At William & Mary, Gates was an active member and president of the Alpha Phi Omega (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.[12] At his William & Mary graduation ceremony, Gates received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award naming him the graduate who "has made the greatest contribution to his fellow man".[12]

Gates then received an Master of Arts in history from Indiana University in 1966. He completed his Ph.D. 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"[17] and is available from University Microfilms International as document number 7421652. He received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from both William & Mary (1998) and the University of Oklahoma (2011).[18][19]

He married his wife Becky on January 7, 1967.[20] They have two children.

Intelligence career


While at Indiana University, Gates was recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency and joined in 1966.[21] On January 4, 1967, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force after attending Officer Training School under CIA sponsorship.[20][21] From 1967 to 1969, he was assigned to the Strategic Air Command as an intelligence officer, which included a year at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, where he delivered intelligence briefings to Intercontinental Ballistic Missile crews.[22] After fulfilling his military obligation, he rejoined the CIA as an intelligence analyst.[23]

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.

Director of Central Intelligence

Gates while Director of Central Intelligence.

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 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 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.

During a Senate committee hearing on his nomination, former division chief Melvin A. Goodman testified that the agency was the most corrupt and slanted during the tenure of William Casey with Gates serving as Deputy. According to Goodman, Gates was part of an agency leadership that proliferated false information and ignored 'reality'. National Intelligence Council chairman Harold P. Ford testified that during his tenure, Gates had transgressed professional boundaries.[24]

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 Gates' tenure). He served until 1993.

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.[25] 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.[26] 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' 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.

The final report of the Independent Counsel for Iran-Contra Scandal, 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..."[27]

Career after leaving the CIA


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. He lectured at Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins, Vanderbilt, Georgetown, Indiana, Louisiana State, Oklahoma, and the College of William and Mary. 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.[28]

Gates at Texas A&M

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.[29] During his tenure, Gates encouraged the addition of 440 new faculty positions and a $300 million campus construction program, and saw 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.[30]

Gates returned to Texas A&M on April 21, 2009, as the speaker for the annual Aggie Muster ceremony. He is one of only 6 speakers not to be a graduate of Texas A&M University since Dwight D. Eisenhower spoke in 1946.[31] In his affiliation with A&M, Gates has served on the National Security Higher Education Advisory Board.[32]

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.[33] Following his nomination, a White House spokeswoman said that Gates planned to sell all the stock he owns in individual companies and sever all ties with them if confirmed by the Senate.[34]

Public service

Gates is a former president of the National Eagle Scout Association.[35]

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.[36]

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.

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."[37]

Gates committed to remain as President of Texas A&M University through the summer of 2008; President George W. Bush offered the position of United States Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to John Negroponte, who accepted.[38]

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".[39]

Secretary of Defense

Photo whilst Defense Secretary

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.[40][41]

Gates was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate Armed Services Committee on December 5, 2006. During his confirmation hearing on December 5, 2006, Gates replied to a question that in his opinion the United States was neither winning nor losing the war in Iraq.[42] 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.[43] 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.[44]

Gates with Japan Minister of Defense Shigeru Ishiba at Japan in November 2007.

Under the Bush administration, Gates directed the war in Iraq's troop surge, a marked change in tactics from his predecessor. With violence on the decline in Iraq, in 2008, Gates also began the troop withdrawal of Iraq, a policy continued into the Obama administration.

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

Walter Reed Medical Center scandal

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.[45] 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.[46]

Controversy over Joint Chiefs

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. Gates stated: "I am no stranger to contentious confirmations, and I do not shrink from them. However, I have decided that at this moment in our history, the nation, our men and women in uniform, and General Pace himself would not be well-served by a divisive ordeal in selecting the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff." Gates referred to Pace as a friend and praised his service as a Marine.[47]

Misshipments of nuclear weapons

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.[48]

Obama Administration

Gates with Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak at the Pentagon in 2009.

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.[49] Gates was the fourteenth Cabinet member in history to serve under two Presidents of different parties, and the first to do so as Secretary of Defense. One of the first priorities under President Barack Obama's administration for Gates was a review of U.S. policy and strategy in Afghanistan.[50] Gates, sixth in the presidential line of succession, was selected as designated survivor during Obama's inauguration.[51] 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.[52]

While Gates continued the troop withdrawals in Iraq, which already had begun in the Bush administration, he also implemented a rapid, limited surge of troops in Afghanistan in 2009.[53] Robert Gates removed General David D. McKiernan from command in Afghanistan on May 6, 2009[54][55] and replaced him with General Stanley A. McChrystal. The Washington Post called it "a rare decision to remove a wartime commander". The Washington Post described the replacement as one of several replacements of Generals who represented the "traditional Army" with Generals "who have pressed for the use of counter-insurgency tactics".[54]

In December 2009 Gates visited Afghanistan following President Barack Obama's announcement of the deployment of 30,000 additional personnel against the Taliban insurgency.[56]

Gates with Afghan president Hamid Karzai in March 2011

Time magazine notes that Gates and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have "forged a formidable partnership", speaking frequently, "comparing notes before they go to the White House", meeting with each other weekly and having lunch once a month at either the Pentagon or the State Department.[57]

In a March 2010 speech to a NATO conference in Washington, Secretary Gates said that "The demilitarization of Europe—where large swaths of the general public and political class are averse to military force and the risks that go with it—has gone from a blessing in the 20th century to an impediment to achieving real security and lasting peace in the 21st".[58]

Gates announced in February 2010 that the department would lift its ban on women serving on submarines.[59] Gates is also preparing the armed forces for the repeal of the don't ask, don't tell policy. When implemented, homosexuals will be able to serve in the military openly.[60] In service of that goal, he announced in late March 2010 the approval of new regulations that would make it more difficult to kick gays out of the military. Gates called the guideline changes, which went into effect immediately, a matter of "common sense and common decency" that would be "an important improvement" allowing the Pentagon to apply current law in "a fairer and more appropriate" manner, until Congress repeals the law commonly known as "don’t ask, don't tell." The Pentagon's legal counsel, Jeh Johnson, said the new regulations are by no means a moratorium on the current law and stressed that cases would move forward under the new standards.[61]

Gates sitting with Obama, Biden, and the U.S. national security team gathered in the Situation Room to monitor the progress of Operation Neptune Spear.

Gates was photographed in the White House Situation Room photograph taken on May 1, 2011 by Pete Souza.

In August 2010, speaking to Foreign Policy magazine Secretary Gates said that he would remain as Secretary of Defense until 2011 and then retire. "I think that it would be a mistake to wait until January 2012," he said. "This is not the kind of job you want to fill in the spring of an election year."[62][63]

Gates officially retired as Secretary of Defense on July 1, 2011 and was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, by President Obama during his retirement ceremony.[11]

Fiscal restraint

Gates' tenure with the Obama administration has included a huge shift in military spending. In April 2009, Gates proposed a large shift in budget priorities in the U.S. Department of Defense 2010 budget. The budget cuts many programs geared toward conventional warfare such as the end of new orders of the F-22 Raptor and further development of Future Combat Systems manned vehicles, but increases funding for programs like the special forces.[64] Gates called this the "nation's first truly 21st century defense budget."[65] In late April 2010, he suggested the Navy cease funding development of a new multibillion-dollar ballistic missile submarine program on the grounds of cost and relevancy.[66] He has suggested the hundreds of billions of dollars would be better spent on a new generation of vessels tailored to the threats and tactics more likely to be faced, noting, "Mark my words, the Navy and Marine Corps must be willing to re-examine and question basic assumptions in light of evolving technologies, new threats and budget realities."[67] In a speech made on May 8, 2010, Gates stated that he would make politically unpopular cuts to the Pentagon bureaucracy in his future budgets.[68][69]

"The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, opened a gusher of defense spending that nearly doubled the base budget over the last decade. . . Military spending on things large and small can and should expect closer, harsher scrutiny. The gusher has been turned off, and will stay off for a good period of time."[68][69]

It was announced in August 2010 that Gates is trying to find $100 billion in Defense savings over the next five years in order to instill a “culture of savings and restraint” in the military. Secretary Gates said that “It is important that we not repeat the mistakes of the past, where tough economic times or the winding down of a military campaign leads to steep and unwise reductions in defense,” Gates said "As a matter of principle and political reality, the Department of Defense cannot expect America's elected representatives to approve budget increases each year unless we are doing a good job, indeed everything possible, to make every dollar count."[70] These cuts include the closing of Joint Forces Command, fifty general and admirals, and the removal of 150 senior civilian positions.

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.[71] The Netherlands[72] and United Kingdom[73] protested.

In a June 10, 2011 speech in Brussels,[74] before NATO, Gates again stated that other NATO members must do more as the United States tackles its budget deficit. He said bluntly that

In the past, I’ve worried openly about NATO turning into a two-tiered alliance: Between members who specialize in ”soft” humanitarian, development, peacekeeping and talking tasks, and those conducting the ”hard” combat missions. Between those willing and able to pay the price and bear the burdens of alliance commitments, and those who enjoy the benefits of NATO membership—be they security guarantees or headquarters billets—but don’t want to share the risks and the costs. This is no longer a hypothetical worry. We are there today. And it is unacceptable. The blunt reality is that there will be dwindling appetite and patience in the U.S. Congress—and in the American body politic writ large—to expend increasingly precious funds on behalf of nations that are apparently unwilling to devote the necessary resources or make the necessary changes to be serious and capable partners in their own defense. Nations apparently willing and eager for American taxpayers to assume the growing security burden left by reductions in European defense budgets. Indeed, if current trends in the decline of European defense capabilities are not halted and reversed, future U.S. political leaders—those for whom the Cold War was not the formative experience that it was for me—may not consider the return on America’s investment in NATO worth the cost.


Post Obama administration

Appointment as 24th Chancellor at the College of William and Mary

On September 6, 2011 it was announced that Gates accepted the position of Chancellor at the College of William and Mary, succeeding Sandra Day O'Connor. He took the office of the Chancellor on February 3, 2012.

Elected to Board of Directors, Starbucks Corporation

On May 2, 2012, Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) announced that Robert M. Gates, former U.S. Secretary of Defense and current chancellor of the College of William & Mary, was elected to the Starbucks Board of Directors. He will serve on the Board’s Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee.[76]


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 allegedly concocting evidence to show that the Soviet Union was stronger than it actually was.[77] 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,[77] but that Gates did not try to influence the report's conclusions.[78]

Shortly after his retirement from his tenure as Defense Secretary in Summer 2011, during a meeting of the National Security Council Principals Committee, Gates highlighted many of the measures taken by the U.S. to advance Israel’s security during the Obama Administration, including providing access to state of the art weaponry, assisting with the development of missile-defense systems, and sharing high-level intelligence, before expressing his view that the U.S. has received nothing in return from the Israeli government with regards to the peace process. According to senior U.S. administration sources, other officials present offered no rebuttal to Gates' analysis. This was not the first time Gates publicly expressed frustration with the Netanyahu government, to which he had worked hard to provide wide-scale and deep military cooperation.[79] The Likud party of Israel responded to Gates' description of Benjamin Netanyahu as a danger to Israel's future by claiming that most Israelis support the prime minister.[80]

Awards and decorations

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

Gates' awards and decorations include:

Government awards
Other awards
  • Eagle Scout
  • Distinguished Eagle Scout Award
  • Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from College of William and Mary
  • Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Indiana University
  • Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from The University of Oklahoma
  • Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Yale University
  • Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Notre Dame
  • Honorary Doctorate of Public Administration from The University of South Carolina[82]
  • College of William and Mary - Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award
  • College of William and Mary Alumni Association - Alumni Medallion
  • Corps of Cadets Hall of Honor (First and only Non-Corps Honoree) - Texas A&M University
  • George Bush Award (2007) - George Bush Presidential Library Foundation
  • Aviation Week & Space Technology Magazine: Person of the Year 2008[83]
  • MTV University Man of the Year 2010[84][85]
  • Foreign Policy's list of top global thinkers for "being America's last bipartisan figure"[86]
  • Sylvanus Thayer Award (United States Military Academy)[87]
  • Robert C. Vance Distinguished Lecturer, Central Connecticut State University, 2011[88]


  1. Gates is not registered with any political party, but considers himself Republican. "Gates: Military looks to accelerate Iraq pullout". Associated Press. Associated Press. December 1, 2008. Retrieved May 5, 2009. 
  2. Robert Gates, From The Shadows, 1996 (pp. 20-21 of Simon & Schuster 2006 paperback edition)
  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 November 9, 2006. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Robert Gates By Zbigniew Brzezinski. Time magazine. Accessed May 31, 2008.
  6. "America's Best Leaders: Robert Gates, U.S. Secretary of Defense". Retrieved November 25, 2008. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 (December 1, 2008). "Key members of Obama-Biden national security team announced" (Press release). Newsroom. Office of the President-elect. Retrieved December 1, 2008. 
  8. "CIA Director Leon Panetta to replace Defense Secretary Robert Gates". CNN. April 28, 2011. Retrieved April 27, 2011. 
  9. Andrew Tilghman (August 16, 2010). "Gates says he’ll leave Pentagon in 2011". Army Times Publishing Company. Retrieved August 16, 2010. 
  10. Looking Back, Gates Says He’s Grown Wary of ‘Wars of Choice’, NY Times, June 18, 2011
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Obama Awards Gates Presidential Medal of Freedom". American Forces Press Service via June 30, 2011. Retrieved June 30, 2011. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Whitson, Brian (September 6, 2011). "Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates ’65 to Serve as W&M Chancellor". College of William & Mary Office of University Relations. pp. Front. Retrieved September 6, 2011.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "autogenerated1" defined multiple times with different content
  14. "Distinguished Eagle Scouts". Retrieved November 4, 2010. 
  15. Townley, Alvin (2007) [December 26, 2006]. 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 December 29, 2006. 
  16. Shane, Scott (November 19, 2006). "Pentagon Pick Returns to City He Gladly Left". New York Times. p. front. Retrieved September 25, 2006. 
  17. "Soviet Sinology: An Untapped Source for Kremlin Views and Disputes Relating to Contemporary Events in China". University Microfilms International document number 7421652.
  18. Straszheim, Deborah (February 6, 1998). "W&m Charter Day To Honor Gilmore". Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  19. "Five Outstanding Individuals to Receive Honorary Degrees at OU Commencement". Public Affairs University of Oklahoma. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 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 December 23, 2008. 
  21. 21.0 21.1 "DefenseLink Biography: Robert M. Gates". U.S. Dept. of Defense. July 2007. Retrieved April 21, 2008. 
  22. Powers, Thomas (June 20, 1996). "Who Won the Cold War?". 
  24. "Ex-Aide Calls CIA Under Casey and Gates Corrupt and Slanted", Paul Horvitz. New York Times. October 2, 1991. Accessed June 8, 2011
  25. Los Angeles Times, Nov. 25, 2006, free archived version at last visited Nov. 26, 2006.
  26. Iran-Contra Report, Chapter 16.
  27. Lawrence E. Walsh, Final report of the independent counsel for Iran/Contra matters, August 4, 1993, and in particular Chapter 16, "Robert M. Gates"
  28. Texas A&M press release, July 1999.
  29. "Texas A&M Academic Convocation 2005". President Robert M. Gates.
  30. "Aggies Wrap First Week of Fall Camp with Pair of Workouts". Texas A&M University Athletic Department. August 11, 2007. Retrieved August 15, 2007. [dead link]
  32. National Press Release, "FBI Director Appoints National Security Higher Education Advisory Board," December 15, 2005: [1].
  33. Lewellen-Biddle, Mark (December 11, 2003). "Voting Machines Gone Wild!". In These Times. Retrieved September 25, 2007. 
  34. Theimer, Sharon (December 6, 2006; 3:54 AM). "Gates' Assets Include Defense Stock". Washington Post / Associated Press. Retrieved September 25, 2007. 
  35. "NESA Mourns Loss of Eagles in Operation Iraqi Freedom". Boy Scouts of America. 2008. Retrieved July 7, 2008. 
  36. Iran: Time for a New Approach, final report of an independent task force, July 2004, Council of Foreign Relations Press
  37. "Gates Turns Down Bush Administration Position". February 1, 2005. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  38. "Bush names Negroponte intelligence chief". February 18, 2005. Archived from the original on September 22, 2006. Retrieved November 8, 2006. 
  39. Esterbrook, John (November 8, 2006). "A Closer Look At Robert Gates". CBS News. Retrieved February 3, 2009. 
  40. "Bush replaces Rumsfeld to get 'fresh perspective'". November 8, 2006. Retrieved November 8, 2006. 
  41. Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Jim Rutenberg (November 8, 2006). "Rumsfeld Resigns as Defense Secretary After Big Election Gains for Democrats". New York Times. Retrieved November 8, 2006. 
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Further reading

External links

Government offices
Preceded by
John McMahon
Deputy Director of Central Intelligence
Succeeded by
Richard Kerr
Preceded by
William Webster
Director of Central Intelligence
Succeeded by
James Woolsey
Political offices
Preceded by
John Negroponte
Deputy National Security Adviser
Succeeded by
Jonathan Howe
Preceded by
Donald Rumsfeld
U.S. Secretary of Defense
Served under: George W. Bush, Barack Obama

Succeeded by
Leon Panetta
Academic offices
Preceded by
Ray Bowen
President of Texas A&M University
Succeeded by
Eddie Davis
Preceded by
Sandra Day O'Connor
Chancellor of The College of William & Mary

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