The AC360 Later panel digs into Fmr. Defense Secy. Robert Gates' new memoir, which heaps scathing criticism on the Obama administration. The Dish founder, Andrew Sullivan, says "it’s not what I would expect from Bob Gates. I would expect it from other people. But this man?...the fact that he was enraged the entire time, I find it hard to understand."
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates blasts his former boss, President Obama, in a new tell-all book. He also takes aim at Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and even former General Petraeus in a memoir riddled with stories of suspicion and distrust. CNN’s Chief National Security Correspondent fills us in on the details.
CNN Wires Staff
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday he was "not particularly optimistic" that Congress would soon repeal the "don't ask, don' tell" policy banning openly gay and lesbian personnel from the military.
During a visit to the USS Abraham Lincoln, an aircraft carrier deployed in the Arabian Gulf, Gates also made clear that even if the Senate approves a measure already passed by the House to end the controversial 1993 policy, it would be some time before the military fully implements a repeal.
"One of the virtues of the legislation that's in front of the Congress right now is that it gives the president and me and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff latitude in how long we take to prepare for this and how long it actually would be to be implemented," Gates said in response to a question from personnel deployed on the vessel.
"Before a change in the law, we would have to certify that we've made enough preparations that it wouldn't affect unit cohesion, morale, retention and recruiting, and so on," he continued. "The legislation would give us great deal of flexibility. I am not particularly optimistic, though, that it will get done. We'll see."
Facing a diminished majority in the Senate next year due to losses in the recent mid-term congressional elections, Democrats hope to pass a broad defense authorization bill that includes the "don't ask, don't tell" language in the current lame-duck session of Congress that lasts until early January.
Republicans opposed to repeal are trying to strip the "don't ask, don't tell" language from the defense authorization bill. Having gained six Senate seats in the election to reduce the Democratic-controlled majority to 53-47 in the next congressional session, the Republicans know they'll have a better chance of blocking repeal then.
CNN Wire Staff
Defense Secretary Robert Gates backed keeping Gen. Stanley McChrystal on the job because he was vital to the war effort in Afghanistan, but Gates was overruled, a senior Pentagon official told CNN's Barbara Starr.
The official has direct knowledge of the events but declined to be identified because of the internal administration discussions.
President Barack Obama relieved McChrystal of command of the Afghan war on Wednesday, a day after Rolling Stone published critical comments about top White House officials by members of McChrystal's staff.
CNN senior State Department producer
Military officials from NATO and its 28 member states descended on Washington last week for a series of discussions about rethinking how the alliance should transform itself in an era when its scope has expanded beyond traditional Cold War boundaries.
The seminar was hosted by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who is chairing a group of experts appointed by the NATO secretary-general to recommend a new "Strategic Concept" for the alliance, governing how it perceives and responds to threats.
The group heard from some pretty heavy hitters: U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, all of whom aptly acknowledged the alliance is facing a new strategic landscape with new enemies, ideologies and battle tactics that threaten its collective security.
Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, a longtime fixture on the House subcommittee that oversees Pentagon spending, died after complications from gallbladder surgery, according to his office. He was 77.
The Democratic congressman recently underwent laparoscopic surgery to remove his gallbladder.
Murtha was hospitalized in December and had to postpone a hearing with Defense Secretary Robert Gates on the administration's strategy in Afghanistan. The congressman returned to work after a few days in the hospital and helped oversee final passage of the 2010 defense appropriations bill.
CNN Senior Pentagon Producer
Preparing the U.S. military to fight two major conventional wars is "out of date" and does not reflect the numerous challenges U.S. military forces could face in the future, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday.
Gates made that pronouncement as he revealed the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, the military's strategic outlook. He said the military needs to start planning for multiple operations such as major disasters in the United States and various scuffles around the planet.
"We now recognize that America's ability to deal with threats for years to come will depend importantly on our success in the current conflicts," Gates said, pointing out this is the first time the anti-insurgent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been included in a Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) as long-term planning priorities.
CNN State Department Producer
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi made the rounds in Washington just as President Obama's national security team shifted its attention to Pakistan.
This week Secretary of Defense Williams Gates called the Afghan border with Pakistan the "epicenter of jihad." And the renewed focus on Pakistan suggests that Obama has a new role for Pakistan in the battle against al Qaeda and the Taliban.
After all, in developing a strategy for "Afpak," Obama acknowledged the United States cannot win in Afghanistan without cooperation from Pakistan, the suspected hideout of Obama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders.
Which is why the buzzword of both Qureshi and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week was "partnership," as in the United States and Pakistan are united in a "strategic partnership" against a common enemy.
Mountainous terrain and harsh weather in remote parts of Afghanistan have proven a deadly combination for the U.S. military in its push to reduce mounting violence in the country.
On Saturday, Taliban militants attacked American and Afghan troops in the Nuristan province in eastern Afghanistan. Eight American troops and two members of the Afghan national security forces were killed, according to the Pentagon.
It was the largest number of Americans killed by hostile action in a single day since July 13, 2008, when nine troops died, according to CNN records.
The fighting was so fierce that at one point U.S. forces "had to collapse in on themselves," a U.S. military official with knowledge of the latest intelligence reports on the incident told CNN. These revelations about the battle that engulfed Forward Operating Base Keating are a further indication of how pinned down and outmanned the troops were. Watch more on the attack in rural Afghanistan »
The base was scheduled to be closed in the next few days, CNN has learned. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, wanted to cede remote outposts and consolidate troops in more populated areas to better protect Afghan civilians.
The flag-draped coffins of at least four U.S. soldiers killed during a weekend onslaught against a U.S. military outpost in Afghanistan were scheduled to arrive Tuesday at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, the military said.
The bodies will include Sgt. Joshua J. Kirk of South Portland, Maine; Spc. Michael P. Scusa of Villas, New Jersey; Spc. Christopher T. Griffin of Kincheloe, Michigan; and Pfc. Kevin C. Thomson of Reno, Nevada, according to the Air Force mortuary affairs office. The dignified transfer ceremony also might include other fallen service members.
Coverage of the troops' return is allowed with the permission of their families under a policy the Obama administration instituted this year.