Gates Says Pentagon Tenure Open-ended


Washington : Defense Secretary Robert Gates has not set a deadline for the end his service in the administration of President-elect Barack Obama.

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“The president-elect and I agreed that this would be open-ended and so there is no timeframe,” Gates told reporters Tuesday.

“With the country fighting two wars and our men and women in uniform at risk, if a president asks me to help, there’s no way I can say no,” he added.

“So I spent a long time hoping the question would never be popped. I then hoped he’d change his mind. And yesterday it became a reality,” Gates said.

Obama announced Monday that Gates would remain on as defense secretary in what will likely be the only cabinet position to remain occupied by an official appointed by President George W. Bush.

Reporters asked Gates if he was registered as a Republican or Democrats. He said he was not registered as either during his tenure as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

But, he added, “I consider myself a Republican.”

Still, Gates appears to have more in common with Obama than some other Bush appointees. From the beginning of his tenure as defense secretary, Gates has said the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay should be closed down. Obama has also increasingly toned down his calls for troop withdrawals from Iraq, calling instead for measured troop reductions, in line with improved security.