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A conversation on leadership

Former secretary of defense to speak

Former secretary of defense and director of the CIA Robert Gates will speak at the University of Puget Sound. Photo credit: U.S. State Dept.

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Former secretary of defense and director of the Central Intelligence Agency Robert Gates will speak at the University of Puget Sound.  The highly decorated statesman, scholar and best-selling author will participate in a discussion titled "A Conversation With Dr. Robert Gates" on April 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the university's Schneebeck Concert Hall.

Dr. Benjamin Tromly, associate professor of history, will moderate the one-hour talk.

The lecture is part of a series sponsored by the Susan Resneck Pierce Lectures in Public Affairs and the Arts. The series brings intellectuals, public figures, writers and artists to the university to present challenging ideas that stimulate further exploration and discussion on campus and in the community.

Gates' experience in intelligence and leadership roles spans the passage of time from the Cold War to the Global War on Terror.

He served as the 22nd secretary of defense from 2006 until 2012. Gates served both President Bush and President Obama, and he is the only secretary asked to remain in that role by a newly elected president.

A former Air Force second lieutenant, Gates joined the CIA in 1966. During his 27 years with the agency, he served as an intelligence analyst with the White House National Security Council, working under four presidents.

After leaving the CIA, he served as an academic lecturer and as president of Texas A&M University.

While secretary of defense, Gates was considered the "Soldier's Secretary" for his commitment to the safety and preparedness of the men and women in uniform. Under his leadership, soldier safety was improved with the introduction of heavily armored vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Gates was also instrumental in reshaping the country's nuclear weapons policies, the removal of troops from Iraq, and the increasing of troop strength in Afghanistan -- culminating in the death of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May 2011.

Over the past four years, Gates has written two best-selling books; Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War (2014) and A Passion for Leadership (2016).

He is currently a partner in the consulting firm RHG LLC, along with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

"A Conversation With Dr. Robert Gates," 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 25, Schneebeck Concert Hall, University of Puget Sound, 1500 N. Warner St., Tacoma, $20, 253.879.3100,

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