November 26th, 2008
05:55 AM ET
4 months ago

Gates expected to stay on as Obama's defense secretary

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Gates will continue as defense secretary.
Gates will continue as defense secretary.

CHICAGO (CNN) – Several officials close to President-elect Barack Obama's transition told CNN on Tuesday that Defense Secretary Robert Gates is expected to stay on the job for at least the first year of the new administration, with one source calling it "all but a done deal" that the official nomination could be announced as early as next week.

"It's now pointing in that direction," one of the sources close to the transition said of Gates being part of Obama's national security team, which many say also is likely to include Sen. Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.

"It's likely to happen," a second source close to the transition said of Gates staying on. This source noted that Gates could stay longer than a year if he and Obama end up working well together.

Sources close to the transition have said Obama is interested in some continuity at the Pentagon because he is entering office having to deal with two wars - in Iraq and Afghanistan - as well as the international financial crisis.

The president-elect also has made no secret of his interest in having divergent views within his Cabinet.

Gates has previously served in various national security roles under Republican presidents, including CIA director during former President George H.W. Bush's administration.

Gates would be joining a high-profile national security team that is also expected to include a retired four-star general. Several sources close to the transition have told CNN that retired Marine Gen. Jim Jones is on track to become national security adviser within the White House.

"Jim has the job if he wants it," said one of the sources close to the process.

–CNN's Candy Crowley contributed to this report


Filed under: Obama transition
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. joe smith

    we see an all too liberal judge in florida, probably with dual citizenship to a country we coddle in the middle east, has once again proved freedom does have a price..a young child..

    November 26, 2008 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  2. Tom in Delaware

    Two words...Thank God.

    November 26, 2008 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  3. Charlie in Maine

    Secretary Robert Gates and President-elct Obama share a common bond in that the person they in their post before tham did such a horrible job that a great deal of time will be spent fixing mistakes. Donald Rumsfeld and the guy who hired him were both incompetent and a naional disgrace. The bad news for both of them is that the extent of the damage done will take a lot of work to fix.

    The good news is they will lokk excellent by compararison.

    November 26, 2008 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  4. Craig from NC

    My advice is to get out of there... Obama is very shady, you don't want to be around that mess.

    November 26, 2008 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  5. 1/20/13

    At least there will be one normal person in BHO awful cabinet........

    November 26, 2008 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  6. Stu-Florida

    Thankfully there's a new, real Captain at the helm. He has a lot to contribute. Hope they work well together...

    November 26, 2008 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  7. Jeremiah

    I thought Obama said he could do two things at the same time.

    He said he could campaign and handle the financial crisis at the same time.

    So now he wants to leave the war to the Bush camp while he handles the economy with the old Clinton people.

    Wow !!!!!!!!!!!

    November 26, 2008 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  8. tkbteam

    Is this guy going to "continue" the agenda of bringing drugs from other countries mainly South america into OUR country? and continue FELONIZING the people's youth whom PAY them to PROTECT us? If not??? Get out ! This drug destruction of americans is the REAL terrorism on america and it MUST be stopped NOW !

    November 26, 2008 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  9. Jan

    Cnn must be making millions on Sarah Palin. The flaming left-wing liberals come out in force to savage her everytime there is a blog . Cafferty must be on cloud nine. And these are the people who expect the rest of the 46 million people to be supportive of B Obama? Dream on. As for Gates, I think Obama is smart to keep him. He knows his stuff.

    November 26, 2008 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  10. CHERYL IN FLORIDA

    It is going to be a nasty job, trying to clean up the disaster caused at the hands of Bush and Cheney.
    I believe that Obama can do it.
    Hillary will be instrumental in the process.
    Our prayers are with them.

    November 26, 2008 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  11. Mike Dallas

    This should work out as long as Gates remembers who is the boss and does as directed.

    November 26, 2008 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  12. John

    This is a good move!!!! Gates has been one of the best things that come out of the Bush Administration. He is solid and seems to have a
    clue about what is going on on the ground in Iraq and Afganistan. I like Obama's selections they seem to make some sense and not really dictated by just rewarding my buddies which gave great hits like.
    ("Your Doing a Good Job Brownee" or Donald Rumsfeld as Sec of Defense!!!)

    November 26, 2008 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  13. beevee

    A very good choice by Obama to keep Gates as defense secretary. Gates is more thoughtful and well balanced, many times better than his arrogant predecessor.

    November 26, 2008 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  14. Vietnam COMBAT Vet, OHIO

    Why on earth keep Gates as head of Defense????? What about John Kerry?

    November 26, 2008 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  15. Joe, Florida

    I never liked Rumsfeld, but I've always liked Gates; he is a great leader for the Pentagon; Obama keeps making wise decisions.

    November 26, 2008 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  16. Fred in SC

    Now that is "Change We Can Believe In".

    November 26, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  17. Noah

    More of the "Change" that Obama promised. How do you lemmings feel now? When will you admit you were duped by this man?

    November 26, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  18. Chris (SC)

    I know half ot the people on here are going to tell me about change but I care about results and Gates is the best man for the job right now. In a year or two when things are going smoothly in Iraq then we can worry about a new sec. of defense.

    People this country needs results, not politics. Don't care which party people are from I want results.

    November 26, 2008 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  19. Mickie

    I believe overlapping shows basic good sense. At least Gates knows what has been going on and maybe if he is kept on he will finally reveal "everything" to Pres. Elect Obama that he won't show him now. I still don't think it should be Gates' discretion what he should or should not show a President Elect, elected by the citizens of this Country, when Gates is merely an appointee of an idiot.

    November 26, 2008 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  20. Dave

    Is this the change we can believe in? I think once again our vote is Hijacked by giving promises that will never come true.

    November 26, 2008 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  21. Turn Texas BLUE

    He is showing great leadership! It doesnt matter if the person is Democrat or Republican, he is picking the best of the best. I would say that is a PRESIDENT!

    November 26, 2008 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  22. Michelle, PA

    Although I am anything but a Bush fan, this choice makes sense. Gates was able to take the pile of you-know-what Rumsfeld left him and make substantial progress. That makes him the best and most competent member of the Bush Administration by far. We need competent people who know what's going on in Iraq and the best way to get out responsibly, and if that means keeping Gates....well, doesn't matter how he got there or where he came from, it matters how he performs.

    November 26, 2008 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  23. Sean, MD

    Great, now Obama's administration won't be hijacked by Bush's stupid war in Iraq.

    November 26, 2008 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  24. Larry

    CHANGE-It's all about the CHANGE-Personally I am glad Obama is keeping Gates,we might have a chance to win the war against terrorism,and bring peace to Iraq,and that area.Running away like most Democrats want,was never what most red blooded Americans wanted,too many brave Americans have died for our freedom.We'll see what happens in the near future,either it will all have been in vain,or the middle east will become stable-that's the CHANGE I would like to see.

    November 26, 2008 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  25. Jack Jodell, Minneapolis, MN

    My leftist friends will disagree with me, but I think Gates staying on is a good move. He has been one of the very few straight-talking Bush administration members; he hasn't been playing political games; and his staying will make for a smoother transition. Unlike Rumsfeld, he is fairly trustworthy and not a warmonger. Good move, Obama.

    November 26, 2008 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
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