Archive: Gates

In This Case, Rumsfeld Was Right

If there were a musical about the Pentagon today, the opening number and reprise would be "If Rumsfeld Was for It, We're Against It." Witness the portrayal of the reversal of a "controversial" plan by the former secretary of Defense,...

By William M. Arkin | May 22, 2008; 11:30 AM ET | Comments (10)

Gates the Substitute Teacher

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates is at it again. In a speech in Colorado Springs yesterday, he implored the armed forces to cure themselves of what he calls "Next-War-Itis" and focus on current needs. Conventional wisdom has it that...

By William M. Arkin | May 14, 2008; 04:30 PM ET | Comments (15)

Support the Troops, Burn Money

It was a big day for apologies to the troops yesterday. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates apologized once again for the sub-standard treatment the war wounded receive, security rules are being modified to avoid the stigma that mental health treatment...

By William M. Arkin | May 2, 2008; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (48)

Unmanned and Dangerous: The Future U.S. Military?

The controversy over the availability of unmanned reconnaissance and strike drones in Iraq and Afghanistan has become one of those quintessential Washington dramas that plays while Rome burns. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates is pushing for more drones to...

By William M. Arkin | April 30, 2008; 06:00 AM ET | Comments (34)

In the War Against Terrorism, Intelligence Drones On

Finding a "needle in a needle stack": That's how the head of Army intelligence training described the new challenge of spying in the war on terrorism. Searching for a "needle in a haystack" would be much easier, he says, because...

By William M. Arkin | April 28, 2008; 11:30 AM ET | Comments (15)

King David at the Helm

Gen. David H. Petraeus -- "King David," the man behind the surge, the author of the new counter-insurgency strategy, the savior of Iraq, the photogenic Washington star -- has been nominated to be the top U.S. commander in the Middle...

By William M. Arkin | April 24, 2008; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (92)

Gates: Moderate to a Fault

As secretary of Defense, Robert M. Gates has certainly changed the overall tone of civil-military relations from that of his prickly and arrogant predecessor. Friendly and not prone to gaffes or mistakes, Gates exudes Washington moderation. Given his short tenure...

By William M. Arkin | April 23, 2008; 09:30 AM ET | Comments (11)

Petraeus Wins in Iraq Battle, Kills Iran War

The complicated relationship between Fallon and his 'subordinate.'

By William M. Arkin | March 13, 2008; 11:25 AM ET | Comments (226)

Commander's Resignation Shows a New Era of Micromanagement

The story behind William Fallon's resignation is complicated.

By William M. Arkin | March 12, 2008; 09:20 AM ET | Comments (169)

The Military and the Next President

The civilian-military relationship is complicated.

By William M. Arkin | March 6, 2008; 08:30 AM ET | Comments (18)

Afghanistan: America Wrong, Europe Right

What needs to happen in Afghanistan.

By William M. Arkin | February 25, 2008; 09:35 AM ET | Comments (45)

Insurbordination and the F-22 Fighter: It's Not So Simple

The Air Force has better arguments for needing more F-22s, but it's not making them.

By William M. Arkin | February 15, 2008; 08:40 AM ET | Comments (48)

Iraq Successes Hang in the Balance

Robert Gates and Condoleezza Rice, meet Mark Kimmitt.

By William M. Arkin | February 14, 2008; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (29)

Pause in Iraq Doesn't Harm Afghanistan War

The Pentagon doesn't think more troops are necessary in Afghanistan.

By William M. Arkin | February 12, 2008; 08:37 AM ET | Comments (19)

The Gulf in the Gulf

The new intelligence estimate on Iran hasn't toned down Bush administration rhetoric -- or improved our understanding of the dynamics in that region.

By William M. Arkin | December 10, 2007; 08:33 AM ET | Comments (77)

Gates in Africa

Likely at the top of the secretary's agenda is AFRICOM, the new U.S. command on the continent that really shouldn't be run by the military and may not be necessary at all.

By William M. Arkin | December 3, 2007; 07:58 AM ET | Comments (16)

Money Woes at the Pentagon

Do we need to invest more in the military? Or should the Pentagon go on a financial diet?

By William M. Arkin | November 30, 2007; 08:42 AM ET | Comments (27)

The Pentagon Stakes Out a New Position: Moderation

There's a clear disconnect between the White House war talk and the defense secretary's demeanor these days.

By William M. Arkin | November 9, 2007; 08:21 AM ET | Comments (16)

Listening to the Generals?

At his press conference yesterday, President Bush urged Congress and the American people to let the military leadership determine the "conditions on the ground" in Iraq and the possibilities for success. He urged support and respect for the "command structure."...

By William M. Arkin | July 13, 2007; 07:58 AM ET | Comments (34)

New Chairman, Same War

When Robert Gates said on Friday that Marine Gen. Peter Pace would step down as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he said that congressional hearings on a new two-year tenure for Pace would be too "contentious." Gates was...

By William M. Arkin | June 11, 2007; 09:34 AM ET | Comments (37)

Gates Is Wrong: Europe Should Go Its Own Way

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates was in France yesterday for D-Day commemorations, urging an even stronger Atlantic alliance. I'm arguing for a weaker one. The world would be better off it Europe went its own way, with its own...

By William M. Arkin | June 7, 2007; 08:34 AM ET | Comments (112)

Gates Goes Against the Grain

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates gave a particularly old-fashioned commencement address at the Air Force Academy yesterday, focusing on honor and duty and eschewing political rhetoric about the Iraq war or threats of terrorism. Maybe I'm reading too much into...

By William M. Arkin | May 31, 2007; 08:38 AM ET | Comments (24)

A Feather of Force for Iraq

Sometime late last week, amidst more of the same in Iraq, amidst Congressional resolutions, new poll numbers, and anti-war protests, the Secretary of Defense woke up to realize that the surge is really a trickle. Robert M. Gates told reporters...

By William M. Arkin | January 29, 2007; 08:39 AM ET | Comments (41)

All Over the Globe, the New, New Strategy is to Pile On

There's some interesting geo-political tidying up going on in the Bush administration, some new tough words about the world that seems part of the new strategy for Iraq and a scene-setter intended to launch the President's State of the Union...

By William M. Arkin | January 17, 2007; 08:29 AM ET | Comments (35)

Congress Goes Along in Iraq, Gates Says Not So Fast

Has the President made a huge mistake in appointing Robert M. Gates as Secretary of Defense? The President unveils a new Iraq strategy - put aside for a moment whether it is really new - and he has a new...

By William M. Arkin | January 16, 2007; 08:38 AM ET | Comments (29)

Predictions for 2007, and one surprising death

A surge of troops in Iraq now a foregone conclusion -- the Democratic Congress will prove to have neither the courage nor vision to stop the President -- what does 2007 hold out for national security? I've made some predictions,...

By William M. Arkin | January 4, 2007; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (21)

Gates Disses the Troops, and the American People

Strategy means being mindful that what you do today pays-off tomorrow. In communications, that means saying the things that build to an overall message. In action, it means understanding timing and gesture so that deeds and messages culminate with the...

By William M. Arkin | December 22, 2006; 09:14 AM ET | Comments (205)

More Troops Buys Silence of the Lambs

An offer to add tens of thousands of permanent troops to the Army and Marine Corps at a time when there is speculation of a rift between the President and the Generals? While the new Secretary of Defense is hearing...

By William M. Arkin | December 21, 2006; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (21)

More Troops? Come on.

Five years after Sept. 11, barely five weeks after a losing election, the President of the United States decides America needs a larger military? These guys can't see past today's events to craft a strategy for tomorrow. They say that...

By William M. Arkin | December 20, 2006; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (192)

Failure in Iraq? We've Already Failed

"Failure in Iraq at this juncture would be a calamity that would haunt our nation, impair our credibility, and endanger Americans for decades to come," Robert M. Gates said yesterday upon taking the oath to be Secretary of Defense. Public...

By William M. Arkin | December 19, 2006; 08:39 AM ET | Comments (53)

When Gates's Performance Hinges on Performance

Washington loves nothing more than a smooth operator and a good performance. It's a city where the silver-tongued constantly come together -- friends, rivals and opponents -- to see who can string the best words together. It is also a...

By William M. Arkin | December 6, 2006; 08:31 AM ET | Comments (9)

Gates and 2008

Non-ideological, world-class experience, sober-minded, knows the issues well. That's how retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, a long-time Donald Rumsfeld critic, described defense secretary nominee Robert M. Gates in the Houston Chronicle. On the other hand, The Washington Post brings up...

By William M. Arkin | December 4, 2006; 10:21 AM ET | Comments (8)

The Gates Agenda

Secretary of Defense nominee Robert Gates will have his hands full crafting an exit strategy for Iraq and making nice with the rest of the United States government, taking over a military that, while continuing to command the highest respect...

By William M. Arkin | December 1, 2006; 09:37 AM ET | Comments (16)

The Coming Purge at Defense Intelligence

Appointed Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Warfighting Support on July 23, 2003, Lt. Gen. William G. ("Jerry") Boykin has surely got to be the longest serving military officer in any posting anywhere. Boykin's three and a half...

By William M. Arkin | November 14, 2006; 10:07 AM ET | Comments (92)

The Gates Agenda and the Public Demand

Donald Rumsfeld hasn't left the building and Bob Gates doesn't have his new business cards -- yet already everyone is maneuvering to assert what went wrong in the old regime and what needs to be done in the new. Rumsfeld...

By William M. Arkin | November 13, 2006; 10:43 AM ET | Comments (28)

Second Chance Gates

"I'm open to any idea or suggestion that will help us achieve our goals of defeating the terrorists and ensuring that Iraq's democratic government succeeds," President Bush said yesterday. A Democratic majority and the purging of Secretary of Defense Donald...

By William M. Arkin | November 10, 2006; 10:25 AM ET | Comments (40)


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