Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has agreed to stay on under President-elect Obama “for at least the first year.” Obama will make the announcement official next week when he introduces his national security team. Politico’s Mike Allen reports:
The selection of a member of President Bush’s inner circle allows Obama to deliver on his promise of a bipartisan Cabinet, even though Gates has an intelligence background and has not been an active Republican.
The appointment has substantial advantages for Obama, who now can keep his pledge of drawing down troops in Iraq with the aid of an architect of the Bush administration’s successful troop “surge” strategy. The presence of Gates also will help finesse Obama’s relationship with Gen. David Petraeus, the former U.S. commander in Iraq and now the head of the U.S. Central Command, which includes Iraq and Afghanistan.