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Robert Gates


Robert Michael Gates (born September 25, 1943) is an American statesman and university president who served as the 22nd United States Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011. Gates served for 26 years in the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, and under President George H. W. Bush was 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] After leaving the CIA, Gates became president of Texas A&M University and was a member of several corporate boards. Gates served as a member of the Iraq Study Group, the bipartisan commission co-chaired by James A. Baker III and Lee H. Hamilton, that studied the lessons of the Iraq War.

Gates was nominated by Republican President George W. Bush as Secretary of Defense after the 2006 election, replacing Donald Rumsfeld. He was confirmed with bipartisan support.[3] In a 2007 profile written by former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, Time named Gates one of the year's most influential people.[3] In 2008, Gates was named one of America's Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report.[4] He continued to serve as Secretary of Defense in President Barack Obama's administration.[5] He retired in 2011. “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.[6] Gates was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, by President Obama during his retirement ceremony.[7] According to a Washington Post book review, he is "widely considered the best defense secretary of the post-World War II era."[8]Since leaving the Obama Administration, Gates has been elected President of the Boy Scouts of America, served as Chancellor of the College of William & Mary, and become a member of several corporate boards.

Early life and education

Gates was born in Wichita, Kansas, the son of Isabel V. (née Goss) and Melville A. "Mel" Gates.[9] 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.[10][11] He graduated from Wichita High School East in 1961.[12] 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.[13] 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".[13]

Gates then received an M.A. in history from Indiana University in 1966. He completed his Ph.D. in Russian and Soviet history at 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"[14] 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).[15][16]He married his wife Becky on January 7, 1967.[17] They have two children.

Intelligence career

Positions

While at Indiana University, Gates was recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency and joined in 1966.[18] 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.[17][18] 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.[19] After fulfilling his military obligation, he rejoined the CIA as an intelligence analyst.[20]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.
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