Robert Michael Gates

Gates, Robert Michael, 1943–, American government official, U.S. secretary of defense (2006–11), b. Wichita, Kans. A circumspect and pragmatic career intelligence officer, he joined (1966) the Central Intelligence Agency as an analyst and spent more than 25 years with the CIA and the National Security Council. Deputy director of intelligence of the CIA (1982–86), he was suspected of involvement in the Iran-Contra affair, and when President Ronald Reagan nominated (1987) him as CIA director, Congress called for further investigation into the CIA's role in the matter and Gates withdrew his name from consideration. Under President George H. W. Bush, Gates was deputy national security adviser (1989–91) and CIA director (1991–93). He later was a dean (1999–2001) and university president (2002–6) at Texas A&M Univ. In 2006 Gates was appointed secretary of defense by President George W. Bush, succeeding Donald H. Rumsfeld when the latter resigned as sectarian violence in U.S.-occupied Iraq worsened. Though Gates was a member of the Iraq Study Group, which unanimously recommended (2006) changes in the admininstration's Iraq policies, President Bush opted for a short-term troop surge focused on Baghdad, an action the group had not favored. Gates was retained as secretary of defense in 2009 by President Barack Obama. Gates has written From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider's Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War (1996) and Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War (2014).

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