After 30 years of public service under eight presidents of both parties, Robert Gates is stepping down as the 22nd Secretary of Defense. His 4 1/2 year tenure as SecDef under presidents Bush and Obama was arguably one of the most difficult and eventful terms ever served. Leon Panetta, his relief, is another longtime Washington hand, but he has some pretty big shoes to fill. Gates’ skill on Capitol Hill and inside the byzantine Pentagon bureaucracy will be hard to match.
What’s next for the newly minted “Mister” Gates? Well, he’s been talking about that house here in the Northwest for a while now, so keep your eyes peeled if you’re bumping around the Kitsap Peninsula. You never know where he might pop up.