Robert Gates

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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. [77] [78]

Gates speaks to Navy SEAL trainees, NAB Coronado, California, 2010 US Navy 100813-N-7883G-125 Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates congratulates a candidate from Basic Underwater Demolition-Sea, Air and Land (BUD-S) class 284 after securing him and his peers from Hell Week.jpg
Gates speaks to Navy SEAL trainees, NAB Coronado, California, 2010

It was announced in August 2010 that Gates was trying to find $100 billion in Defense savings through to 2015, in order to instill a "culture of savings and restraint" in the military. Secretary Gates said that "It is important that we do 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". [79] These cuts included the closing of the Joint Forces Command, the redundancy of 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. [80] The Netherlands [81] and United Kingdom [82] protested.

In a June 10, 2011 speech in Brussels, [83] before NATO, Gates again stated that other NATO members must do more as the United States tackles its budget deficit. He said bluntly that [84]

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

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel speaks with Robert Gates and Leon Panetta, November 2013 Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, center, speaks with former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, right, and former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta at the Peace Through Strength Forum and Awards dinner at 131116-D-BW835-1440.jpg
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel speaks with Robert Gates and Leon Panetta, November 2013
Gates at the LBJ Library in 2016 DIG13834-047.jpg
Gates at the LBJ Library in 2016

Gates is a Principal, along with Condoleezza Rice, Stephen Hadley and Anja Manuel, in RiceHadleyGates LLC, a strategic consulting firm. [85]

On September 6, 2011, it was announced that Gates had accepted the position of chancellor at the College of William & Mary, succeeding Sandra Day O'Connor. [86] He took the office of the chancellor on February 3, 2012. [87]

On May 2, 2012, Starbucks Corporation announced that Gates had been elected to the Starbucks board of directors. He will serve on the board's nominating and corporate governance committee. [88]

On October 30, 2013, the Boy Scouts of America announced that Gates had been elected to the National executive board. While on this board, he will serve as the national president-elect. In May 2014, he began a two-year-long term as the BSA national president. Randall Stephenson, chairman and chief executive officer of AT&T Inc. serves under Gates as the president-elect. Gates has succeeded Wayne Perry as the national president. [89] On May 21, 2015, Gates stated that the "status quo [ban on gay adult leaders] in [the BSA] movement's membership standards cannot be sustained" and that he would no longer seek to revoke the charters of scout units that accept gay adult leaders. [90]

In his memoir, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, Gates alternately criticized and praised Obama's military leadership, writing, "I never doubted [his] support for the troops, only his support for their mission [in Afghanistan]", and "I was very proud to work for a president who had made one of the most courageous decisions I had ever witnessed in the White House [by authorizing the raid against Osama bin Laden]." [91] [92]

In the wake of the annexation of Crimea in March 2014, Gates wrote an op-ed piece on Vladimir Putin, Russian expansionism, the nascent sanctions regime, the US military budget, and the need for bold leadership. [93]

Gates, along with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other Republican former foreign policy officials, recommended to incoming president Donald Trump that Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson be considered for the Trump Administration as Secretary of State. [94] [95]

In September 2018, Gates was re-appointed to serve a second seven-year term as chancellor at the College of William & Mary. [96]

Gates also serves as an honorary director on the board of directors at the Atlantic Council. [97]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Gates participated as a member of the National Advisory Council for the COVID Collaborative. [98]

Criticism

Gates responds to a question during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on December 5, 2006 Robert-Gates Armed-Services-Committee.JPEG
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. [99] George Shultz said that, while Secretary of State from 1982 to 1989, he felt the CIA under Gates was trying to "manipulate" him, that the agency was "a big powerful machine not under good control. I distrust what comes out of it." [100] Shultz personally convinced Reagan that the U.S. should soften her stance towards the USSR after Gorbachev came to power in 1985; Shultz told Gates at the time that his CIA was "usually wrong" about the Soviet Union, having dismissed Gorbachev's policies as "just another Soviet attempt to deceive us." [101] In 1991, Stansfield Turner, former Director of Central Intelligence, described the "enormity of this failure to forecast the magnitude of the Soviet crisis. ... I never heard a suggestion from the CIA ... that numerous Soviets recognized a growing systemic economic problem." [102] Turner said this failure was a consequence of deliberate distortion by those in the upper echelon of the CIA who were helping to sell the Reagan administration's defense buildup, a view backed by former CIA analyst Melvin Goodman at Gates' 1991 confirmation hearings: "[William] Casey seized on every opportunity to exaggerate the Soviet threat ... [while] Gates' role in this activity was to corrupt the process and the ethics of intelligence." [103] Reviewing the third installment of Gates' memoirs in 2016, Goodman said, "In my 24 years at the CIA, there was never the kind of toxic atmosphere that existed when Gates served as deputy director for intelligence, deputy director of CIA, and finally director of CIA." [104] 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, [99] but that Gates did not try to influence the report's conclusions. [105]

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, with which he had worked hard to provide wide-scale and deep military cooperation. [106] 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. [107]

Awards and decorations

Gates' awards and decorations include:

Government awards
Other awards

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References

Citations

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Sources

Bibliography

Further reading

Robert Gates
Robert Gates, official DoD photo portrait, 2006.jpg
Official portrait, 2006
24th Chancellor of the College of William & Mary
Assumed office
February 3, 2012
Government offices
Preceded by Chair of the National Intelligence Council
1983–1986
Succeeded by
Frank Horton III
Preceded by Deputy Director of Central Intelligence
1986–1989
Succeeded by
Preceded by Director of Central Intelligence
1991–1993
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Deputy National Security Advisor
1989–1991
Succeeded by
Preceded by United States Secretary of Defense
2006–2011
Succeeded by
Academic offices
Preceded by
Ray Bowen
President of Texas A&M University
2002–2006
Succeeded by
Ed J. Davis
Acting
Preceded by Chancellor of the College of William and Mary
2012–present
Incumbent
Boy Scouts of America
Preceded by President of the Boy Scouts of America
2014–2016
Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Cabinet Member Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Cabinet Member
Succeeded byas Former US Cabinet Member