In a follow-up on reports earlier this week that President-elect Barack Obama was considering approaching current Secretary of Defense Robert Gates about staying in his position after the handover of power in January, McClatchy is reporting that this has gone beyond the rumors phase, with both sides communicating through surrogates.
What at first seemed like an outside shot appears to be increasingly likely. Though Obama’s aides insist no decision has been made, Gates’ aides expect the job to be offered to him, and indications are that he is willing to stay, despite previous reports that he was looking forward to retiring in two months.
A potential move to keep Gates at the Pentagon for at least the beginning of the Obama Administration is controversial, with many hoping for a more complete break from the policies of the outgoing administration. Keeping the public face of the Bush Administration’s last two years of military policy in power will likely underscore what the President-elect’s aides have been saying since the election: that we shouldn’t expect radical changes after Obama’s inauguration.