Report: Obama may ask Gates to stay with DOD
WASHINGTON — President-elect Obama may ask Defense Secretary Robert Gates to remain in that role for at least a year, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.
The newspaper said two unnamed Obama advisers confirmed Gates may be kept on, and a senior Pentagon official told them Gates would agree to the plan if asked.
But the Journal also said the advisers emphasized no final decision has been made, and several other prominent Democrats — including former Navy Secretary Richard Danzig and former Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre, both under President Clinton — are still under consideration.
Gates has publicly stated his desire to retire in January, but Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told the Journal that "he has also never shut the door on the possibility that he would be willing to serve for some period beyond the expiration of this term."
Gates has received positive feedback from Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill for his work as Defense secretary since he took over the post in December 2006.
This weekend, in an interview with CNN, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, backed the idea of keeping Gates in charge at the Pentagon, noting his work so far and that Gates has never been a registered Republican.
The Associated Press reported Tuesday that former Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sam Nunn will act as a senior adviser on defense issues for the president-elect’s transition into office.