Gates, Robert Michael

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Gates, Robert Michael

Robert Michael Gates, 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. Gates was retained as secretary of defense in 2009 by President Barack Obama. In 2014 he became president of the Boy Scouts of America. 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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