Robert Gates

Robert Gates

Infobox US Cabinet official
name = Robert Michael Gates

birth_date = birth date and age|1943|09|25
birth_place = Wichita, Kansas
alma_mater=College of William & Mary, Indiana University, Georgetown University
title=United States Secretary of Defense
term_start=December 18 2006
predecessor=Donald Rumsfeld
president=George W. Bush
deputy=Gordon R. England

title2=Director of Central Intelligence
term_start2=November 6, 1991
term_end2=January 20, 1993
predecessor2=William Hedgcock Webster
successor2=R. James Woolsey, Jr.
president2=George H. W. Bush

Robert Michael Gates (born September 25 1943) is currently serving as the 22nd United States Secretary of Defense. He took office on December 18 2006.cite news
title=New US defence secretary sworn in
work=BBC News
date=December 18 2006|accessdate=2006-12-18
] 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. Before he joined the CIA, he served with the USAF. [ [ Accountability Office Urges Air Force to Re-Bid Tanker Contract ] ] 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 Hamilton, that has studied the Iraq War. He was also the first pick to serve as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security when it was created following the September 11, 2001 attacks, but he declined the appointment in order to remain President of Texas A&M University. [cite news|url=
title=Gates' Government Intelligence Experience Runs Deep
publisher=National Public Radio
date=November 9, 2006

Gates accepted the nomination as Secretary of Defense position on November 8 2006, replacing Donald Rumsfeld. He was confirmed with bipartisan support. In a 2007 profile written by former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, "Time" named Gates one of the year's most influential people. [,28804,1733748_1733757_1735600,00.html Robert Gates By Zbigniew Brzezinski] . "Time". Accessed May 31, 2008.]

Early life and education

A native of Wichita, Kansas, Gates attained the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and received the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the BSA.cite web | author = | year = | url = | title = Distinguished Eagle Scouts | format = | work = | publisher = Troop & Pack 179 | accessdate = 2006-03-02] cite book | last = Townley | first = Alvin | authorlink = | coauthors = | origdate= 2006-12-26 |url=| title = Legacy of Honor: The Values and Influence of America's Eagle Scouts | publisher = St. Martin's Press| location = New York | pages =pp. 217-218| id = ISBN 0-312-36653-1 |accessdate= 2006-12-29] He graduated from Wichita East High School in 1961, reportedly with straight A's.cite web
url =
title = Pentagon Pick Returns to City He Gladly Left
date = November 19, 2006
first = Scott
last = Shane
publisher = New York Times
page = front
accessdate = 2006-09-25
] Gates then won a scholarship to attend the College of William and Mary where he graduated in 1965 with a B.A. in European history. At William & Mary, Gates was an active member and president of the Alpha Phi Omega (the 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.Citation
newspaper =W&M News
pages =Front
year =2006
date =8 December 2006
url =
title= Senate confirms Gates (’65) as U.S. Secretary of Defense
publisher = College of William & Mary Office of University Relations
last =Whitson
first =Brian
] At his William & Mary graduation ceremony, Gates received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award naming him the graduate that "has made the greatest contribution to his fellow man." Gates then went on to receive a master's degree in history from Indiana University in 1966, and a Ph.D. in Russian and Soviet history from Georgetown University in 1974. He received an L.H.D. (Doctor of Humane Letters) from William & Mary in 1998.

Intelligence career


While at Indiana University, Gates was recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency and joined the agency in 1966.cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
date =
year = 2007
month = July
url =
title = DefenseLink Biography: Dr. Robert M. Gates
format =
work =
pages =
publisher = US Dept. of Defense
language =
accessdate = 2008-04-21
] However, the CIA offered no exemption from the draft during the Vietnam War. In 1967 he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Air Forceand from 1967 to 1969 he served as an intelligence officer in the Strategic Air Command, including a posting at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, where he delivered intelligence briefings to Intercontinental Ballistic Missile crews. [Thomas Powers, [ "Who Won the Cold War?"] , "New York Review of Books", Vol. 43, no. 11, June 20, 1996.] After fulfilling his military obligation, he rejoined the CIA.

Gates left the CIA in 1974 to serve on 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 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 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 (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.

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 Dr. Gates' tenure). He served until 1993.

The final report of the Independent Counsel for Iran/Contra Matters, 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..." [Lawrence E. Walsh, [ Final report of the independent counsel for Iran/Contra matters] , August 4, 1993, and in particular Chapter 16, [ "Robert M. Gates"] ]

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 [Los Angeles Times, Nov. 25, 2006, free archived version at last visited Nov. 26, 2006. ] . 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. [ [ Iran-Contra Report, Chapter 16.] ] 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's 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.

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.Fact|date=May 2007 He lectured at Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins, Vanderbilt, Georgetown, Indiana, Louisiana State, Oklahoma, and the College of William and Mary.Fact|date=May 2007 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". [ [ Texas A&M press release] , July 1999. ]

=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." [ Texas A&M Academic Convocation 2005] ". "President Robert M. Gates".] During his tenure, Gates encouraged the addition of 440 new faculty positions and a $300 million campus construction program, and saw dramatic 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. [cite web|url=|title=Aggies Wrap First Week of Fall Camp with Pair of Workouts|publisher=Texas A&M University Athletic Department|accessdate=2007-08-15|date=2007-08-11]

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. [cite web
first = Mark
last = Lewellen-Biddle
url =
title =Voting Machines Gone Wild!
publisher =In These Times
date = December 11, 2003
accessdate = 2007-09-25
] A White House spokeswoman has said Gates plans to sell all the stock he owns in individual companies and sever all ties with them if confirmed by the Senate. [ cite web
url =
title = Gates' Assets Include Defense Stock
first = Sharon
last = Theimer
Publisher = Washington Post / Associated Press
date = December 6, 2006; 3:54 AM
accessdate = 2007-09-25

Public service

Gates is a former president of the National Eagle Scout Association.cite web|url=|title=NESA Mourns Loss of Eagles in Operation Iraqi Freedom|date=2008|publisher=Boy Scouts of America|accessdate=2008-07-07]

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. [ [ "Iran: Time for a New Approach"] , final report of an independent task force, July 2004, Council of Foreign Relations Press]

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 ('Intelligence Czar') 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."

Gates committed to remain as President of Texas A&M University through the summer of 2005; President George W. Bush offered the position of United States Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to John Negroponte, who accepted. [cite news
title=Bush names Negroponte intelligence chief
date=February 18 2005

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."

ecretary of Defense

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. [cite news|url=
title= Bush replaces Rumsfeld to get 'fresh perspective'|date=November 8, 2006
] [cite news
title=Rumsfeld Resigns as Defense Secretary After Big Election Gains for Democrats
author=Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Jim Rutenberg
work=New York Times
date=November 8 2006|accessdate=2006-11-08

Gates was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate Armed Services Committee on December 5, 2006. During his confirmation hearing on December 5 2006, Senator Carl Levin of Michigan asked Gates if he thought the United States was winning the war in Iraq, to which Gates responded: "No, sir." He then went on to say that he did not think the United States was losing the war either. [cite news|url=
title=Senate Confirms Gates as 22nd Defense Secretary
publisher=American Forces Press Service
author=Jim Garamone
date=December 6, 2006
] 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.cite news|url=
title= Robert Gates confirmed as secretary of defense
publisher=Associated Press|date=December 6, 2006
] 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. 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. [ [ "The Other Walter Reed"] .] 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. [ [ Army surgeon general ousted amid Walter Reed scandal - ] ]

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. [ [] ] 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. [cite news|url=
title= DoD News Briefing with Secretary Gates from the Pentagon
publisher=U.S. Department of Defense|date=2008-06-05

Turkish offensive in northern Iraq

Gates told his Turkish counterpart on February 28 2008 that Turkey should end its offensive against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq as soon as possible but said the U.S. is making no threats against its NATO ally if it fails to comply.cite news|url=
title= Gates pressures Turkey on Iraq
publisher=CNN|date=February 28, 2008


Gates has dismissed as "ridiculous" any suggestion, on March 12 2008, that the resignation of Admiral William J. Fallon, America's military chief in the Middle East, on March 11 2008, signals the United States is planning to go to war with Iran.


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 concocting evidence to show that the Soviet Union was stronger than it actually was, and also for repeatedly skewing intelligence to promote a particular worldview.cite news | title = Old Names, Old Scandals | url = | publisher = Newsweek | date = 2006-11-08] 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, but that Gates did not try to influence the report's conclusions. [cite news | title = In Rebuttal to Senate Panel, C.I.A. Nominee Seems Truthful but Incomplete | publisher = The New York Times | 1991-10-13]

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 guerilla insurgency and that could be contributing to rising violence in the country [,1,163569.story?coll=la-headlines-world&ctrack=2&cset=true] . The Netherlands [,1,6875867.story?coll=la-headlines-world&ctrack=1&cset=true] and United Kingdom [] protested.

Awards and decorations

Gates' awards and decorations include:

;Government awards
*Presidential Citizens Medal
*National Security Medal
*National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal (2 awards)
*Distinguished Intelligence Medal (3 awards)

;Other 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




*Robert M. Gates: "From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider's Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War." Simon & Schuster 1997, ISBN 0-684-83497-9
*Author Unknown. " [ Biography, Dr. Robert M. Gates, President, Texas A&M University] ," "Texas A&M University". (2003)
*Center for the Study of Intelligence. " [ Robert Michael Gates] ," "Directors & Deputy Directors of Central Intelligence". (2004)
* [ Material on Gates] , from "The Literature of Intelligence: A Bibliography of Materials, with Essays, Reviews, and Comments", by J. Ransom Clark
*Brett Nauman. " [ Gates passes on intelligence czar post] ," "The Bryan-College Station Eagle". (February 1, 2005)
* [ Spartacus Educational Biography]
* [ Forum Debate on Robert Gates]

Further reading

*Paul Burka, " [ Agent of Change] ", "Texas Monthly" (November 2006)
*Robert Gates, "From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider's Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War", Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (May 7, 1997).
*Robert Gates, " [ US Intelligence and the End of the Cold War] ", 1999, CIA
*Robert Gates, " [ Frontline The Gulf War: An Oral History: Interview with Robert Gates, Deputy National Security Advisor] ", 2001,

External links

*Robert Gates' [ Writings and Speeches]
*Gates on relations with China: [ Nov. 2007 visit] , [ June 2007]
* [ DefenseLink Biography: Robert M. Gates]
* [ Robert M. Gates, Secretary of Defense Nominee: A Bibliography] at Georgetown University Law Library
* [ The Robert Gates File] - The Iran-Contra Scandal, 1991 Confirmation Hearings, and Excerpts from new book Safe for Democracy
* [ Ubben Lecture at DePauw University]
* [ Gates breaks right arm in fall on icy step]
* [ Gates 64 is left-handed]

###@@@KEY@@@###succession box
before= John N. McMahon
title= Deputy Director of Central Intelligence
years= 1986–1989
after= Richard James Kerr
U.S. Secretary box
before= Donald Rumsfeld
after= "Incumbent"
start= December 18, 2006
president= George W. Bush
department= Secretary of Defense
succession box | title=President of Texas A&M University | before=Ray Bowen | after=Elsa Murano | years=2002–2006

NAME=Gates, Robert Michael
SHORT DESCRIPTION=CIA director, U.S. Secretary of Defense, and university president
DATE OF BIRTH=September 25 1943
PLACE OF BIRTH=Wichita, Kansas, United States

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