Robert Gates, official DoD photo portrait, 2006.jpg
Name Robert Michael Gates
Location Washington D.C.
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Air Force
Years of service 1967 - 1969 (Air Force), 2006 - present (Secretary of Defense)
Rank/grade 200px-US-O1 insignia.png Second Lieutenant O-1
Job title Secretary of Defense
Status Active

Robert Michael Gates (born September 25, 1943) is the 22nd and current United States Secretary of Defense. He took office on December 18, 2006. Prior to this, Gates served for 26 years in the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, and under President George H. W. Bush as Director of Central Intelligence. Immediately after being recruited by the CIA, he served as an officer in the United States Air Force. After leaving the CIA, Gates became president of Texas A&M University and was a member of several corporate boards. Gates also served as a member of the Iraq Study Group, the bipartisan commission co-chaired by James A. Baker III and Lee Hamilton, that has studied the Iraq War. He was also the first pick to serve as the first Director of National Intelligence (DNI), but he declined the appointment in order to remain President of Texas A&M University.

Gates accepted the nomination for Secretary of Defense on November 8, 2006, replacing Donald Rumsfeld. He was confirmed with bipartisan support. In a 2007 profile written by former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, Time named Gates one of the year's most influential people. In 2008, Gates was named one of America's Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report. He continues to serve as Secretary of Defense in President Barack Obama's cabinet. Gates announced in August 2010 that he plans to retire in 2011.