March 3 2022

Robert M. Gates Selected as 2022 TSF Dinner Keynote Speaker

The Security Foundation is delighted to announce that Robert M. Gates, the 22nd Secretary of Defense (2006-2011), will be this year’s keynote speaker.

Dr. Gates continues the tradition of renowned security legends offering their unique perspectives at the annual TSF Dinner to celebrate the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) and the global security community.

The much-anticipated, in-person 2022 event will be held on Wednesday, November 16, 2022, at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. Click here for event details and sponsorship opportunities.


Dr. Gates is the only Secretary of Defense in U.S. history to be asked to remain in office by a newly elected President. He served eight U.S. presidents across both parties. On his last day in office, President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor.

Prior to his appointment as Secretary of Defense in 2006, Dr. Gates was the president of Texas A&M University, one of the nation’s largest universities. He previously served as interim dean of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M.

Joining the Central Intelligence Agency in 1966, Dr. Gates was an intelligence professional for nearly 27 years. He spent nearly nine years on the National Security Council at the White House, serving four presidents of both political parties. Dr. Gates served as CIA director from 1991 until 1993, the only career officer in CIA’s history to rise from entry-level employee to director. He served as CIA deputy director from 1986 until 1989 and as assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser at the White House from January 20, 1989, until November 6, 1991, for President George H.W. Bush.

In addition to the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Dr. Gates’ recognition for exceptional service to his country include the National Security Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal (awarded three times), and the CIA’s highest award, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal (also awarded three times).

He is the author of four books:

  • Exercise of Power: American Failures, Successes, and a New Path Forward in the Post-Cold War World (2020)
  • A Passion For Leadership: Lessons on Change and Reform from Fifty Years of Public Service (2016)
  • Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War (2014)
  • From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider’s Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War (1996)

Dr. Gates currently is a partner in the consulting firm, Rice, Hadley, Gates & Manuel, LLC, with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley. He is one of five independent members of the NCAA Board of Governors and is a member of the national executive board of the Boy Scouts of America, where he served as president of the National Eagle Scout Association from 1996-2006 and National President of the Boy Scouts of America. He has also served on the boards of Starbucks, the American Council on Education and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges.

A native of Kansas, Dr. Gates received his bachelor’s degree from William & Mary, his master’s degree in history from Indiana University, and his doctorate in Russian and Soviet history from Georgetown University. In 1967, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and served as an intelligence officer at Whiteman Air Force Base.

In February 2012, Gates was installed as chancellor of William & Mary. He is the first William & Mary alumnus in the modern era to serve as chancellor. In May 2018, Gates succeeded the late General Colin Powell as National Chairman of the Eisenhower Fellowships.

We look forward to an incredible evening at TSF’s Dinner. For more information on sponsorships, click on our brochure. Questions? Contact Siobhan Clune, TSF Development Director at [email protected].