According to CNN, Geoff Morrell, deputy assistant secretary of defense and Pentagon press secretary, âSecretary Gates met with the president just before Christmas and gave him a commitment to stay on the job for at least another year.â
Gates served under President Bush and remained in office when the transition to President Obama occurred. He is the first defense secretary in our countryâs history to be asked to remain in office after a transition to a new president.
His decision to stay in office may come as a surprise to some, as he had previously talked about retiring after the end of the Bush administration.
According to the Associated Press, âKeeping Gates on for another year means he will be in place to manage the expansion of the Afghanistan war though the summer and to look toward the first U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, planned for the summer of 2011. He also would oversee the halving of U.S. forces in Iraq to about 50,000.â
President Obama and Secretary Gates plan on revisiting the issue later this issue, as to how much longer Gates will stay onboard. But for now, he has agreed to remain in his position through at least the end of 2010.