In an interview with Fred Kaplan at Foreign Policy:
Gates, who turns 67 in September, says he wants to leave the job and retire, this time for good, sometime in 2011. "I think that it would be a mistake to wait until January 2012," he said. It might be hard to find a good person to take the job so late, with just one year to go in the president's current term. And, he added, "This is not the kind of job you want to fill in the spring of an election year."Will the President's decision to cut-n-run on a timetable like his political advisers will push vs. follow the advice of his military wing to finish what we started have something to do with his decision?
We'll have to wait and see. The troubling mention of 2011 though worries me. A very interesting 10 months.
Oh, one last thing from the interview. A little love for the 'ole USN.
He is the secretary of defense; he has to pick his fights. At one point in our interview, he noted that he's not proposing to cut the number of aircraft carriers. When I asked why not, he replied, "I may be bold, but I'm not crazy."OK, maybe not a heart-felt love - maybe closer to fear; but I'll take it.