Gates agrees to stay on at defense post

By Sara A. Carter
The Washington Times
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has agreed to remain at his post if asked by President-elect Barack Obama, sources close to the defense chief told The Washington Times.

Mr. Obama has also settled on the Republican defense secretary as his choice for the post, the Associated Press reported.

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 help lead a smooth transition between administrations at a time when the United States is preparing to withdraw forces from Iraq and send additional troops to battle a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan.

His selection would also allow the incoming president to concentrate on the financial crisis without having to worry about upheaval at the Pentagon.

Mr. Obama reportedly made the decision to ask Mr. Gates to stay for at least the first year. The announcement was expected after the Thanksgiving holiday.

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

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



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