If confirmed by the Senate, former CIA director Robert Gates will become the next Defense Secretary. Currently Gates is running Texas A&M University and serving on the Congressionally chartered Iraq Study Group, which plans to meet soon with President Bush. In his Nov. 8 press conference, Bush maintained that he had decided before the election that he would nominate Gates for the defense post. He noted, too, that Gates through 25 years in national security had served six Presidents from both parties. Bush called him “a steady, solid leader who can help make the necessary adjustments in our approach to meet our current challenges.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.