Should Defense Secretary Robert Gates Retire in 2011?

The U.S. defense secretary has expressed an interest in retiring in 2011.

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Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently told Foreign Policy magazine that he is looking to retire in 2011, saying, "It seems like somewhere there in 2011 is a logical opportunity to hand off." The 66-year-old said that retiring next year would be the best time to step down, given that 2012 would be an election year for President Obama. "This is not the kind of job you want to fill in the spring of an election year," Gates said. His intention to retire comes on the heels of his effort to trim the Pentagon's budget as a way to reduce the increasing national debt. A military command would be closed and a number of other measures to reduce the number of generals and restrict the use of outside contractors would be implemented under his plan. Should he remain in his position through the end of 2010, Gates would be one of the longest-serving Defense chiefs, serving longer than all but four of his predecessors: Robert McNamara, Donald Rumsfeld, Cap Weinberger, and Charles E. Wilson, he said.

What do you think? Should Gates retire next year amid wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Would the U.S. military benefit from a new defense secretary? Take our poll and post your thoughts below.

This poll is now closed, but the debate continues in the comments section.

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