Before taking over as Sec. of Defense, Gates put in 26 years at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and National Security Council. He then served as Director of the CIA under President George W. Bush. President Bush also appointed Gates to the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan commission assigned to study strategies and possible outcomes of the Iraq war.
Following his service at the CIA, Gates became president of Texas A&M University and served on the boards of directors of several corporations. Following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, President Bush offered Gates a post at the first Secretary of the newly created Department of Homeland Security. Being a good Aggie, Gates declined, choosing instead to continue his presidency at Texas A&M.
Shortly after joining the CIA in 1966, gates was commissioned into the Air Force as a second lieutenant, serving in the Strategic Air Command from 1967 to 1969.
During his years with the CIA, Gates was awarded the National Security Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal, twice received the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, and three times received the CIA's highest award, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal.
Early Life and Education
Gates was born on September 25, 1943, in Wichita, Kansas, where he charted his course of public service early-on as a distinguished Eagle Scout. After graduating from high school in Wichita, Gates was awarded a scholarship to William and Mary College, graduating with a B.A. in history in 1965. Gates then went on to earn a Master's degree in history from Indiana University in 1966, and while working at the CIA, a Ph.D. in Russian and Soviet history from Georgetown University in 1974.