Secretary of Defense Robert Gates deserves the gratitude of every American. He became Secretary on December 18, 2006, replacing the disastrous and long tenure of Donald Rumsfeld, and leaves office on June 30th 2011.
Secretary Gates immediately became an advocate for providing our troops with the equipment they needed to fight the enemy and protect themselves, equipment the importance of which Secretary Rumsfeld dismissed with the infamous retort that, "You go to war with the army you have." Secretary Gates shook the bureaucracy to get troops the equipment they needed.
Secretary Gates also became an immediate opponent of former Vice President Cheney within the Bush Administration over using America's military, our blood, and treasure.
In today's New York Times in an article about Secretary Gates, this is said: "...he [Gates] has learned most clearly over the last four and a half years that wars 'have taken longer and been more costly in lives and treasure' than anticipated."
On saturday, 8 NATO members of the armed force died, with the nationalities of the dead not released until their home nation's can provide notification to their families and nations.
Gates further said: "If we were about to be attacked or something happened that threatened a vital U.S. national interest, I would be first in line to say, 'Let's go.' I will be always an advocate in terms of wars of necessity. I am just more cautious on wars of choice."
Secretary Gates also supported the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell and has implemented the Congressionally passed statue repealing DADT.
Secretary Gates writes a personal condolence letter to the families of all members of the armed forces who lose their lives. Before he writes the letter, he reviews a briefing on the life of the service member, a briefing that he commanded be prepared when he became Secretary.
Within the armed forces, for his focus on equipping properly our troops and for his care for them, Secretary Gates is known as the "Soldiers' Secretary."
Secretary Gates is a wise man and exactly the kind of public official the nation needs. President Bush gets credit for selecting him to replace Rumsfeld, and President Obama should get even more praise for keeping him in office, ignoring the normal partisan pressures to select a person of "your" party.
Thank you again United States Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates.