Report: Defense Secretary Gates to Step Down in 2011

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REUTERS/Larry Downing

He’ll make it through the midterm elections, but only barely. In an interview, Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he plans to resign in 2011.

Gates’ future plans were included in an interview he gave with Foreign Policy. The thought behind the timing? Gates reportedly does not want to leave in the middle of troop deployments to Afghanistan this year and hopes to spare Obama a divisive confirmation battle for his replacement in 2012.

A spokesman for the Defense Department confirmed to CNN that the Foreign Policy report was in line with Gates’ thinking. Gates was a holdover from the Bush administration; the former president appointed Gates to his post in 2006. (via CNN)