Robert Gates served as the 22nd Secretary of Defence (2006-2011) and is the only Secretary of Defence in U.S. history to be asked to remain in that office by a newly elected President. President Barack Obama is the eighth president Gates has served.
Before becoming Secretary of Defence in 2006, Gates was the President of Texas A&M University, the 7th largest university in the US, where he also served as interim dean of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service in 1999-2001.
Dr. Gates joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1966. During that period, he spent nine years at the National Security Council, the White House, serving four presidents of both political parties. Gates served as director of CIA in 1991-1993, the only career officer in CIA’s history to rise from entry-level employee to director.
Dr. Gates has been awarded the National Security Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, and CIA’s highest award, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal. Dr. Gates has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor, by President Obama in 2011.
He has authored three memoirs – “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War” (2014), a straightforward account of his experience serving Presidents Bush and Obama during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, “From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider’s Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War” (1996) which details his career as a CIA officer at the center of power during the Cold War, and “A Passion for Leadership: Lessons on Change and Reform from Fifty Years of Public Service” (2016), in which Gates draws on years of exceptional experience to offer a powerful look at leadership.
Dr. Gates currently serves on the Board of Directors of Starbucks and is partner in the consulting firm, RHG LLC, with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and others.
A native of Kansas, Gates received his bachelor’s degree from the College of William & Mary, his master’s degree in history from Indiana University and his doctorate in Russian and Soviet history from Georgetown University. Dr. Gates was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force in 1967.