August 16th, 2010
10:09 AM ET
4 years ago

Gates floats retirement

 Defense Secretary Robert Gates wants to retire sometime next year, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed Monday.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates wants to retire sometime next year, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed Monday.

Washington (CNN) – Defense Secretary Robert Gates is expected to leave his post in the spring of 2011, a senior administration source told CNN on Monday.

A Pentagon spokesman confirmed that Gates wants to retire some time next year. Gates was quoted in an article in the magazine Foreign Policy published Monday saying he wanted to step down before the end of 2011.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said references in the article to Gates' desire to retire next year "accurately reflect the secretary's thoughts."


According to the senior administration official, Gates privately promised President Barack Obama he would not leave the Cabinet in 2010 in order to maintain stability at the Pentagon while more U.S. forces are heading to Afghanistan.

In addition, the senior official said, Gates does not want a potentially difficult confirmation battle for his successor to take place in the presidential election year of 2012.

Gates, who became defense secretary in 2006 under former President George W. Bush, stayed in the post when Obama took office in 2009.

He previously spent almost 27 years in the Central Intelligence Agency, including posts at the White House serving four presidents. Gates also was president of Texas A&M University prior to becoming defense secretary.


Filed under: Department of Defense • issues • Robert Gates
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. kyle from ohio

    Defense Secretary Robert Gates is an example of a great citizen of the USA, He has truely place COUNTRY FIRST as the slogan goes. Mr. Gates has served his country regardless of the politics of the day Serving both a Rep and Dem POTUS. and taking tough stances on Pentagon budget choices. Wish more Goverment official worked with these principles; Like the Elected- officials of both Parties of the Congress Who wanted be truthful about what they would have to cut as services (entitlements) goes in order to get our budget under control, and lower the borrowing of money from China.

    August 16, 2010 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  2. aliou in Jacksonville, FL

    Why did Prdt Obama saddle himself with a Bush man?
    He should have been gone with Bush.

    August 16, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  3. Get A Grip

    Working with this administration....who wouldn't.

    August 16, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  4. diridi

    sorry, but we get other wise boy....out of 300 million populace...

    August 16, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  5. phoenix86

    Gates needs to leave now unless he wants to be associated with defeat. That is the only outcome with this commander in briefs.

    August 16, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  6. KLS

    I think Gates has done a wonderful job for our military–much better than Rumsfeld!!! However, I don't blame him for wanting to retire.

    August 16, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  7. jim

    Gates needs to get out now before he gets blamed for all Obama's failed foreign policies.

    August 16, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  8. No Incumbents

    Gates is the most competent, effective defense secretary in US history, despite the unfair political attacks thrown at him. Given the situation he inherited from Rumsfeld I don't know how anyone could have realistically done a better job.

    August 16, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  9. Rush Goebbels

    Dont let the door hit you Bob.Another Pentagon stooge on the way out.

    August 16, 2010 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  10. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Another of the rush of those abandoning the sinking ship of the Obama administration.

    My bet is that Hillary will join the throng sometime soon–she needs to start right about now if she's planning to try to take Obama's job in 2012.

    August 16, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  11. aliou in Jacksonville, FL

    This comment is connected to this gates departure in that no republican should be in charge of any of US affairs: Not the wars, not the congress, not the states, nothing. So I would welcome Bill coming to Florida to stump for Kendrick in the next election. Kendrick is the only democrat I would vote for. As for republicans and independents in Florida, the choice is between a thief (Rick Embezzled Medicaid/care and should have been in jail.). The others republicans are just Bush Boddies. They ran our country down and into a recession and they are standing in the way of anything to get us out of the hole. No one should vote for a republican no matter what they are hanging their hat on these days.

    In conclusion, all republicans should leave office and retire so that we can rebuld this country without obstruction.

    August 16, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  12. Jane

    Wish he would leave sooner. He is the worst Defense Secretary I have ever worked for.

    August 16, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  13. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I admire Sec. Gates. I wish he would stay on for the remainder of the President's 1st term. He's beginning to cut the defense budget and whoever replaces him will have to stay on course with what Sec Gates is currently doing. This is one Bush appointee that I approve of. He's nothing like that war criminal Donald Rumsfeld.

    August 16, 2010 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  14. Buster

    I guess even he cannot stomach being part of this administration anymore.

    August 16, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  15. Rickster

    He would be replaced less than two years later anyway when President Failure gets unceremoniously and deservedly thrown out of office.

    August 16, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  16. db

    Who could blame him?

    August 16, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  17. jules sand-perkins

    Do you mean that Secretary Gates doesn't want to be around when President Obama celebrates his being elected to a second term as our President?

    August 16, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  18. Jason

    Can we say Clinton/Gates 2012

    August 16, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |