Score One For Obama
Defense Secretary Robert Gates will keep the top Pentagon job for at least the first year of the Obama administration.
There was very strong support for Gates among Democrats, said one Democratic source in the Senate whose boss was intimately involved in bringing Obama and Gates together to see if they were compatible.
Obama's decision to keep Gates follows speculation, encouraged before the election by Obama's aides, that Gates would stay on for an interim period.
A registered independent, Gates has served various Republican administrations. President Bush nominated Gates to replace Donald Rumsfeld after the 2006 midterm elections, when the war in Iraq was descending into chaos and became a political liability for Republicans.
Gates will continue to preside over two U.S. wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, that Bush launched as part of the larger war on terror.
There are several issues on which Gates and Obama disagree, including missile defense. Gates supports placing a missile defense system in Europe, but Obama already has suggested that he won't sign off on it until the technology has been proven capable.
A formal announcement is expected immediately after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend as part of an unveiling of the new national security team, which is expected to include Sen. Hillary Clinton as secretary of state; Marine Gen. Jim Jones as national security adviser, Admiral Dennis Blair as director of national intelligence and Susan Rice as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Is Barack Obama finally beginning to get the idea that we cant just pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan willy nilly? Is he beginning to understand the nature of the danger we face if we do, that the terrorist's will have safe haven's to plot and plan to attack us again? And that we would have to go right back to Iraq should it decend into chaos? Is Obama beginning to see the underlying danger that Iran poses to the United States? I surely hope so. But I do applaud this decision!