Gates to stay on at least another year

Defense Secretary Robert Gates — a holdover from the George W. Bush administration — will stay at his post for at least another year, a Pentagon spokesman said Thursday.

Gates was kept on when President Barack Obama took office in order to maintain stability during U.S. involvement in two overseas wars and to fulfill an Obama campaign promise to include Republicans in his administration.

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"They agreed to revisit this issue again later this year" but the commitment is open-ended, spokesman Geoff Morrell said of Gates's discussions with Obama.

Gates succeeded Donald Rumsfeld in 2007 and oversaw the implementation of the troop surge in Iraq. When Gates came aboard with the Obama administration, it was assumed his tenure would last at least one year.

Despite initial doubts, Gates became an influential adviser to Obama, helping craft the president's new Afghanistan strategy announced at the beginning of December 2009. 

The U.S. military is sending 30,000 additional troops to the central Asian nation to help bolster the fight against al Qaeda and Taliban militants. The withdrawal is set to begin in the summer of 2011. U.S. troops are set to leave Iraq by the end of 2011.

Information from The Associated Press.