by Kimberley Berlin & Jordyn Dowd
Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announcement of retirement comes at a time when the DOD is facing increasing pressure in Afghanistan, looming budget cuts and discussions about its proper role in the future.
Appointed as SECDEF by President George W. Bush in 2006, the former Director of Central Intelligence, has proven himself to be a force in the political landscape. Asked by President Obama to stay on – an unusual request in the partisan politics of Washington – Gates’ performance has rewarded the President’s faith in him. Widely respected for providing exceptional leadership to a Department heavily stressed by multiple conflicts and major procurement problems, Gates has worked to prepare the Department for a future of continued conflicts, declining budgets and rising threats. While his retirement is no surprise, he will be a very tough act to follow.
Will his impending retirement adversely impact the Department and this administration?