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In November 2006, President George W. Bush nominated Robert M. Gates to fill the role of secretary of defense. He replaced the outgoing defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, who resigned in the wake of the Democratic Party regaining control of both houses of Congress and thrusting the ongoing Global War on Terrorism to the forefront of national debate. Gates faced the enormous task of turning the wars around and modernizing the Department of Defense on a budget targeted for cuts after excessive growth over the past decade. This entry looks at the career of Gates, focusing on his accomplishments as secretary of defense in the Bush and Obama administrations.

Early Career

Gates studied history in college and earned a doctorate in Russian and Soviet history from Georgetown University. ...

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