Gates Under Consideration to be Obama's SecDef?

Aggie Congressman Chet Edwards won't be in the cabinet of President-elect Barack Obama. That doesn't mean there won't be Texas A&M representation.

Though he is not addressing the rumors, current Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is widely believed to be a top choice to stay on as Obama assumes the presidency.

Just two weeks ago, the former A&M president had this to say at a Pentagon press conference:

"Let me just say that I'm getting a lot more career advice and counseling than I might have anticipated. I think I'll leave it at that. I'm still planning on heading to Washington State."

On Friday, when CNN ran into Gates in a Pentagon hallway and asked if there were talks between him and Obama, he responded, "nice try."

The 22nd secretary of defense served as Texas A&M's 22nd president from 2002 until late 2006, when President Bush asked him to be Donald Rumsfeld's successor. He had previously served as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency under the first President Bush.

During his tenure back in Washington, Gates has made major personnel changes. After incidents of neglect were uncovered at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Gates removed the secretary of the Army and the Army surgeon general.

Gates would later choose to nominate Admiral Mike Mullen as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff over the current holder of that post, General Peter Pace.

This summer, after a major scandal in the Air Force involving the handling of nuclear materials, Gates was handed resignations by the branch's chief of staff, Aggie General T. Michael Moseley, and Secretary of the Air Force Michael Wynne.

Gates has also helped oversee American involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the surge strategy which, among other reasons, has helped reduce violence in the region.

President-elect Obama touted during the campaign that he would gradually withdraw combat troops from Iraq over 16 months. Gates has publicly opposed timetables.


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