Fast facts on Robert Gates – KESQ

CNN Editorial Research

Here’s a glimpse into the life of former CIA Director and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.


Date of Birth: September 25, 1943

Place of birth: Wichita, Kansas

Birth name: Robert michael gates

Father: Melville A. Gates, Auto Parts Wholesaler

Mother: Isabelle V. Gates

Wedding: Rebecca (Wilkie) Gates (1966-present)

Children: Eleonore, Bradley

Education: College of William and Mary, BA, History, 1965; Indiana University, MA, History, 1966; Georgetown University, Ph.D., Russian and Soviet History, 1974

Military service: US Air Force, second lieutenant

Other facts

At the time of his appointment, Gates was the youngest person to ever serve as director of the CIA. Moreover, he is the only director of the CIA to move from an entry-level position to the management of the agency.

Gates has served under eight US Presidents, from Lyndon B. Johnson to Barack Obama, excluding Bill Clinton.


1966 – Is recruited as an analyst for the CIA.

1971 – As an intelligence analyst specializing in Soviet affairs, Gates was assigned to CIA support personnel during the initial negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union on strategic arms reduction.

1974-1979 – Member of the staff of the National Security Council.

January 1980 – Is assigned as CIA National Intelligence Officer on the Soviet Union and Executive Assistant to Director Stansfield Turner.

January 1981 – Becomes executive assistant to the new director of the CIA, William Casey. Gates is also Director of the Office of Policy and Plans and Chairman of the Executive Career Service.

January 1982 – Is promoted to Deputy Director of Intelligence and is in charge of the agency’s analytical arm.

September 1983 – Is appointed president of the National Intelligence Council.

April 18, 1986 – Promoted to Deputy Director of Central Intelligence.

December 1986-March 1987 – Acting director during Casey’s brain tumor surgery.

January 29, 1987 – Casey resigns from his position as director of the CIA.

February 2, 1987 – US President Ronald Reagan appoints Gates to succeed Casey.

March 2, 1987 – Gates is withdrawing his appointment due to continued questions about his involvement in the Iran-Contra affair. He remains deputy director under William H. Webster.

January 1989 – National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft appoints Gates as his deputy.

May 14, 1991 – US President George HW Bush appoints Gates to succeed Webster as CIA director.

November 5, 1991 – The Senate confirms the appointment of Gates, 64-31.

November 6, 1991 – Gates is sworn in as the 15th national director of central intelligence.

January 20, 1993 – Resigns from his post as director of the CIA.

1996 – His memoir, “From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider’s Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War,” are published.

December 1996 – At the request of President Clinton’s administration, Gates is chairing an independent panel examining the possibility of missile threats against North America over the next 15 years.

1999-2001 – Is Acting Dean of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University.

August 1, 2002 – December 16, 2006 – Is president of Texas A&M University.

February 2005 – Is offered the post of Director of National Intelligence by US President George W. Bush but refuses it.

November 8, 2006 – Appointed by President Bush to be the new Secretary of Defense to replace Donald Rumsfeld.

December 6, 2006 – The Senate confirms Gates, 95-2.

December 18, 2006 – Sworn in as 22nd Secretary of Defense.

December 1, 2008 – President-elect Obama announces that Gates will remain Secretary of Defense for at least the first year of Obama’s presidency.

June 30, 2011 – Retires from his post as Secretary of Defense, to be replaced by Leon Panetta. President Obama presents Gates with the Presidential Medal of Freedom during his retirement ceremony.

February 3, 2012 – Gates is invested as the 24th Chancellor of the College of William and Mary.

2012-present – A director of the consulting firm Rice, Hadley, Gates & Manuel LLC, as well as founding members Condoleezza Rice, Stephen Hadley and Anja Manuel.

October 30, 2013 – The Boy Scouts of America announce that Gates has been named head of the organization for a two-year term.

2014 – Gates’ book, “Homework: Memoirs of a Secretary of War,” is published.

May 22, 2014 – May 26, 2016 – Gates is the national president of the Boy Scouts of America.

May 21, 2015 – Citing social, legal and political changes, Gates calls on the Boy Scouts of America to end their ban on gay leaders.

June 14, 2020 – Gates calls on army bases to rename ten of their facilities after Confederate leaders, saying military symbols represent “the dark side of history.” His suggestion comes days after President Donald Trump tweeted that he would not consider renaming parts of a “Great American Legacy.”

June 16, 2020 – His book, “Exercise of Power: American Failures, Successes, and a New Path Forward in the Post-Cold War World” is published.

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