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Robert Gates
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Exclusively WSB

Robert Gates

One of the most respected leaders in recent U.S. history, Robert Gates served eight U.S. presidents, influencing U.S. intelligence and defense policies over the past four and a half decades from the Cold War to today’s ongoing war on terrorism.

Secretary of Defense (2006-2011); Best-Selling Author, DUTY: Memoirs of a Secretary at War and A Passion for Leadership

Expertise In:

  • U.S. Foreign Policy
  • National Security
  • Diplomacy
  • Patriotism
  • U.S. Current Events

Audience & Industry

  • Board Meetings and Executive Briefings
  • Corporations
  • Global Audiences
  • Senior Management Groups
  • The Finance Industry

One of the most respected leaders in recent U.S. history, Robert Gates served eight U.S. presidents, influencing U.S. intelligence and defense policies over the past four and a half decades from the Cold War to today’s ongoing war on terrorism.

As secretary of defense under two presidents—Barack Obama and George W. Bush—and through two wars—Iraq and Afghanistan—Robert Gates shares with audiences his candid insights on global politics and world affairs, U.S. intelligence and defense strategies, leadership and leading change in a large institution and the global challenges of the 21st century. Considered “The Soldier’s Secretary” for his commitment to placing the men and women in uniform as his top priority, Gates made significant advances in soldier safety including replacing vehicles in the field with heavily armored vehicles, which according to USA Today, reduced roadside bomb attacks and fatalities by almost 90%.  A three-time recipient of the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the CIA’s highest award, he is the only career officer in the CIA’s history to rise from entry-level employee to director. A nonpartisan senior-level official—considered an anomaly by The Washington Post—Gates’ leadership and guidance earned him the National Security Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal and the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal. Successes include the reshaping of U.S. nuclear weapons policies, the removal of troops from Iraq and the resurgence of troops in Afghanistan—culminating in the death of Osama bin Laden.  His New York Times #1 best-selling book, DUTY: Memoirs of a Secretary at War (January, 2014), is a straightforward, vividly written account of his experience serving Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In his latest book, A Passion for Leadership: Lessons on Change and Reform from Fifty Years of Public Service (January 2016), Gates blends wisdom with candor and draws on years of exceptional experience to offer readers a powerful, informative and pragmatic look at leadership. He is currently working on a third book, which will address the use and misuse of power in America.

Featured Videos

Featured Experiences

Remarks by Robert Gates

Robert Gates will speak to a wide variety of domestic and global issues and engage in a Q&A session with the audience.

Topic areas include:

  • Global Politics and U.S. Foreign Policy
  • U.S. Intelligence, Defense Strategies and Global Cybersecurity Threats
  • Leadership, Negotiation and Conflict Resolution

DUTY

In this presentation, Dr. Gates shares his views about the most pressing threats to global stability and America’s security. He focuses on his experience dealing with these issues as defense secretary under presidents Bush and Obama—an experience recounted vividly in his recent best-selling book, Duty.  He draws heavily on his memoir sharing his views on the way America's government—White House, cabinet agencies, and Congress—works, and too often does not work. We face one of the most complex, dangerous and uncertain international environments today. From rising military tensions with Russia and China, multiple conflicts in the Middle East and the threat of ISIS, to dicey trade relations and economic challenges confronting Europe, Dr. Gates foresees a generation of conflict, and predicts we will continue to face the most challenging international environment since the Cold War for some time to come.

A Passion for Leadership

The only officer in the history of the CIA to rise from entry-level employee to director, Dr. Gates has consistently been a successful leader of change throughout an exceptional career. In this candid, inspiring presentation based on his book A Passion for Leadership, Dr. Gates draws on years of dedicated leadership at the CIA, Texas A&M University and the Department of Defense to offer wisdom and encouragement to leaders on how to successfully implement change and transform their organizations. In a time of change, companies have to change all the time to be competitive. How do you recognize and preserve the tradition and culture that made a company great, and determine what is in the way? Assessing the failures of big institutions, Dr. Gates offers innovative and practical advice, sharing personal anecdotes and experiences as most pertinent to your audience.

Works