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 Home > News & Policies > November 2006

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 8, 2006

Fact Sheet: Dr. Robert M. Gates: The Right Choice for Secretary of Defense

     Fact sheet President Bush Nominates Dr. Robert M. Gates to be Secretary of Defense
     Fact sheet In Focus: Defense

"Don Rumsfeld has been a superb leader during a time of change. Yet he also appreciates the value of bringing in a fresh perspective during a critical period in this war. Don Rumsfeld is a patriot who served our country with honor and distinction. … If confirmed by the Senate, Bob [Gates] will bring more than 25 years of national security experience and a stellar reputation as an effective leader with sound judgment. … He's a steady, solid leader who can help make the necessary adjustments in our approach to meet our current challenges."

- President George W. Bush, 11/8/06

Today, President Bush Announced His Intention To Nominate Dr. Robert M. Gates To Serve As Secretary Of Defense. The President and Secretary Rumsfeld have agreed that at this time in the conflict the Pentagon would benefit from a fresh perspective. After thoughtful consideration, the President has asked Dr. Bob Gates to succeed Secretary Rumsfeld as the new Secretary of Defense.

  • Dr. Gates Understands The Threats We Currently Face And The Nature Of Our Enemies In Iraq And Around The World. He has served as an intelligence advisor to six presidents representing both parties during his 27-year career at the CIA and National Security Council. He is a member of the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group, and is known for his integrity, candor, and a track record of taking a bipartisan approach to solving national security problems.
  • Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor For President Carter, On Gates: "He's … Bright, Very Serious And Very Intelligent. He Has A Lot Of Savvy. He's A Good Decision-Maker But Also A Good People Person." (Chuck Lindell, "Ex-CIA Chief Is Good Fit At A&M, "Austin American Statesman, 7/28/02)

Dr. Gates Will Work Effectively With The Commanders In Iraq To Make Adjustments As Needed In Our Approach

Dr. Gates Understands The Challenges Facing Our Nation In Iraq. While in the private sector, he has continued to serve his country as a member of the Iraq Study Group – a distinguished independent panel of Republicans and Democrats led by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Congressman Lee Hamilton. As a member of the Iraq Study Group, Dr. Gates has traveled to Iraq, where he's met with Iraq's leaders and our military commanders on the ground.

  • Dr. Gates Spent Nine Years At The National Security Council, Including Serving As The Deputy National Security Advisor For President George H. W. Bush During Operation Desert Storm.
  • Dr. Gates Helped Lead America's Efforts To Support Afghanistan's Freedom Fighters As They Fought Against The Soviets Who Were Occupying Their Country. His efforts helped drive the Soviet forces out of Afghanistan, which weakened the Soviet regime and laid the foundation for freedom's victory in the Cold War.

Dr. Gates Has Experience In Leading Large, Complex Public Institutions And Transforming Them To Meet New Challenges

As The Director Of Central Intelligence In The Early 1990s, Dr. Gates Led All Of The Foreign Intelligence Agencies Of The United States – Approximately A Dozen Organizations With More Than 100,000 Employees And A Budget Of $30 Billion. He headed our Nation's intelligence community at a time of change, when the familiar threats of the Cold War suddenly disappeared, and new and unfamiliar threats were just beginning to emerge.

  • Dr. Gates Has Served As President Of Texas A&M, The Nation's Sixth-Largest University. His service on corporate boards also provides him with an understanding of best business practices.

Dr. Gates' Experience Has Prepared Him Well To Serve As Defense Secretary

Dr. Gates Is One Of Our Nation's Most Accomplished And Honored Public Servants. He was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Air Force in 1967 and served in the Strategic Air Command. He served as Deputy Director of Central Intelligence from 1986-89 and as Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Adviser from Jan. 20, 1989 until Nov. 6, 1991 for President George H.W. Bush. He began his career at the CIA as an entry-level employee and eventually rose through the ranks to become Director of Central Intelligence. He served as the DCI from 1991-93.

Dr. Gates Is A Highly Decorated Public Servant. He was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal and the National Security Medal. He twice earned the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, and three times earned the Distinguished Intelligence Medal.

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