Robert Gates served as the 22nd secretary of defense (2006-2011). He is the only secretary of defense in U.S. history to be asked to remain in office by a newly elected president. Dr. Gates served eight U.S. presidents across both parties. On Dr. Gates’s 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, he was the president of Texas A&M University, one of the nation’s largest universities. He served in the CIA for nearly 27 years, culminating his service 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 spent nearly nine years on the National Security Council at the White House, serving four presidents of both political parties. Dr. 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 CIA’s highest award, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal. He currently is a partner in the consulting firm Rice, Hadley, Gates & Manuel, LLC, with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley. He is a member of the NCAA Board of Governors, currently serving as one of its five independent members. Additionally, he is a member of the national executive board of the Boy Scouts of America and is Chancellor of William & Mary, his alma matter. He is a member of the Aspen Strategy Group.
Aspen Strategy Group Member, Principal, Rice, Hadley, Gates, & Manuel, LLC, and former U.S. Secretary of Defense