Initially appointed by President George W. Bush, Dr. Robert M. Gates
served as the 22nd Secretary of Defense (2006-2011) and is the only
Secretary of Defense 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.
On Gates' last day in office, President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor.
Before becoming Secretary of Defense in 2006, Gates was the president of Texas A&M University, the nation's seventh largest university. Prior to assuming the Texas A&M presidency, on August 1, 2002, he served as interim dean of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M from 1999 to 2001.
Gates joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1966 and spent nearly 27 years as an intelligence professional. During that period, he spent nearly nine years at the National Security Council, serving four presidents of both political parties.
Gates served as director of Central Intelligence from 1991 until 1993. He is the only career officer in CIA's history to rise from entry-level employee to director. He served as deputy director of Central Intelligence from 1986 until 1989 and as assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Adviser at the White House from January 20, 1989, until November 6, 1991, for President George H.W. Bush.
Gates has been awarded the National Security Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal, has three times received the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, and has three times received the CIA's highest award, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal.
He is the author of the memoir, From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insiders Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War, published in 1996.