Gates is the 22nd secretary of defense for the Department of Defense. He is the only secretary of defense who has ever been asked to remain in office by a new president.
Prior to this position, Gates was president of Texas A&M University. Before that, he was the interim dean of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. Gates served as an intelligence professional in the CIA for 27 years. During his time at the CIA, he spent several years at the National Security Council and the White House where he served four different presidents. Following that, he was the director of central intelligence.
Gates also has a military background. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, and he also served as an intelligence officer. Additionally, Gates has received numerous awards during his career, including the National Security Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal, the National intelligence Distinguished Service Medal on two separate occasions, and the Distinguished Intelligence Medal on three separate occasions.
Gates graduated from the College of William and Mary, where he earned his bachelor’s degree. He later earned his master’s degree in history from Indiana University. After Indiana, he attended Georgetown University, where he earned a doctorate in Russian and Soviet history.