- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has agreed to remain at his post if asked by President-elect Barack Obama, sources close to the defense chief said.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday night that Mr. Obama has settled on the Republican defense secretary as his choice for the post.

Mr. Gates has won bipartisan praise on Capitol Hill for the reduction of violence in Iraq and for his overall management of the Pentagon.

He would be in a position to lead a smooth transition between administrations at a time when the United States is preparing to withdraw forces from Iraq and add troops in Afghanistan.

Mr. Obama reportedly made the decision to ask Mr. Gates to stay for the first year. The announcement was expected next week.

“It’s a done deal,” ABC reported, citing a source close to the decision making process.

Officials in the Obama transition team said they could not immediately confirm the reports.

However, sources close to Mr. Gates told The Washington Times that the defense secretary had made the decision to remain in his post if asked.

Mr. Gates, a moderate Republican with close ties to the elder President Bush, has served as defense secretary for two years.

His continued service would fulfill a campaign pledge by Mr. Obama to have at least one Republican in his Cabinet.

Earlier Tuesday, Mr. Gates ordered his top department leaders to conduct a broad review to determine whether the military, National Guard and Reserve can adequately deal with domestic disasters and whether they have the training and equipment to defend the homeland.

A 41-page memo signaled an acknowledgment that the military must better recognize the critical role of the National Guard and Reserves in homeland defense, but stopped short of requiring many specific policy changes.

His memo comes in the wake of a stinging 400-page independent commission report that concluded the military isn’t ready for a catastrophic attack on the country, and that National Guard forces don’t have the equipment or training they need for the job.

That report, released early this year by the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves, said the Pentagon must use the nation’s citizen soldiers to create an operational force that would be fully trained, equipped and ready to defend the nation, respond to crises and supplement the active duty troops in combat.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide