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Former A&M president, defense secretary to speak Tuesday

Robert Gates' memoir revolves around time as defense secretary

Published: Thursday, January 16, 2014

Updated: Thursday, January 16, 2014 23:01



Robert Gates

Former A&M President Robert Gates made the journey from College Station to the Pentagon, and on Tuesday he will return to A&M to speak about his new book, “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War.”

In the introduction of his book, Gates said while his text focuses on the American conflicts overseas, it covers the broader topic of Gates’ time as secretary of defense.

“It is, of course, principally about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where initial victories in both countries were squandered by mistakes, shortsightedness and conflict in the field as well as in Washington, leading to long, brutal campaigns to avert strategic defeat,” Gates said. “But this book is also about my political war with Congress each day I was in office, and the dramatic contrast between my public respect, bipartisanship, and calm and my private frustration, disgust and anger.”

Gates has made numerous recent appearances on news shows to speak about his memoir and his time serving under two American presidents. His campus visit Tuesday will also mark the beginning of the distinguished author series, a new program in the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation.

“We decided that as [Gates] was a former president of A&M and also as secretary of defense and also having worked with the president when we worked in the White House together, that it would be a great opportunity for him to come and talk about his book and come back to Aggieland,” Frederick McClure, chief executive officer of the Foundation said.

McClure said Gates may share stories of the University as well.

“Knowing Bob as I do and as much as he loves A&M, I suspect that he’ll sprinkle it with some stories about A&M,” McClure said. “But it’s primarily about his service to the presidents in his professional career.

McClure said he is excited about the event and thinks that the sold out event will be a special one for the community of A&M.

“I think that folks in College Station in particular will be excited to have him back because he was a very popular president of Texas A&M,” McClure said. “What he can share of his experiences that he’s had, particularly considering our celebration of public service as a part of the George Bush Presidential Foundation and the Bush School, it is an excellent opportunity for him to speak about public service.”

Tara Glasener, sophomore international studies major, is attending Tuesday’s event. She said she is excited for the event because Gates has seen U.S. politics firsthand.

“We are merely students, yet we have this incredible chance to listen to an inside view of not one, but two presidential administrations and events we’ve read about in the news,” Glasener said. “He is a primary source for what our kids will be reading in their high school American history textbooks.”

The event will take place at 11 a.m. Tickets are sold out, but the program will also be available via live stream at

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