tv QA CSPAN February 14, 2016 8:00pm-8:59pm EST
and then british prime minister david cameron takes questions from the house of commons. then, jeh ♪ >> this week on "q&a" former secretary of defense robert gates. he discusses his book "a passion for leadership, lessons on change and reform." gates and thebert council on foreign relations recently had a column which said the next president of the united states ought to read five books on the presidency. yours was a talk on leadership. what would you want to express that to take away from your book on leadership? secretary gates: i think
surrounding himself herself with really strong capable, independent-minded people, empowering them, delegating authority and holding them accountable. successful, reward them in whatever way they can, and if they fail, fire them. muchnk that this, this too of thinking about the president, and the reality is, the best presidents, the greatest presidents have been willing to recognize the smartest person in the room, and to surround themselves with people that are smarter than themselves. washington and jefferson and hamilton and so on and lincoln and both roosevelts, truman,
eisenhower and reagan were willing to bring strong people into their cabinets, listen to them, integrate their views with their own. they did not mind if that person disagreed with them, and expected candid is vice from them -- advice from them. that is important. brian lamb: it is really your life on this string and it starts in wichita, kansas in 1943. i want you to tell us at what point you started thinking about leadership. he received your ba from william and mary and your masters from the indiana university and your phd from georgetown, deputy director of the cia, and you were nominated but withdrew as cia director in 1987 and went on to be the director of the
national security council in a 1989. you with the cia director back in 1991 and you are confirmed. anddid academic speaking then you were the interim dean of george bush at texas a and m for a couple of years. you were president of texas a&m, defense secretary from 2006-2011. where did you learn the different things you have in this book? secretary gates: i write in the last chapter that my first leadership position was a patrol leader, a boy scout troop in wichita. i write that nothing teaches you leadership skills like being in charge of a bunch of 11-year-olds and trying to get them to do what they do not want to do and you cannot make them do it and you are only a year or two older than they are. at 15 years old, i had the only
formal management leadership scoutng i ever had, at a ranch in new mexico. i was 15 years old. that was my last formal training in leadership, but as i say in the book, i have learned ever sense them for 55 years -- then for 55 years. from my very first days at the desire, iays had a have always had a feeling of how things could be made better. i do not know if i would have articulated the sort of wanting to take leadership, but i saw where a good organization could be made better, so i wrote my first essay on how we could improve soviet analysis at the cia when i had been on active duty for two years. i am sure my superiors were waypressed, but i felt that
about each organization that i have led, and in the book i have said, i love them all. i thought they could be better was they were, so i always somebody who was pressing for ,hange and to make improvements really from the earliest days. brian lamb: you tell a story in the book about a confrontation you had with governor rick perry of texas. secretary gates: well, he, this is all secondhand, but i was told when i became the finalist for president of texas and him for president of texas a&m, he called me and basically tried to candidacy withdraw my , and i had heard he promised the job to someone else. i heard it was senator phil gramm, but i do not know that for a fact.
he taught at a&m for 10 years, i think. rick perry,st told he said he was going to appoint all of the regents, and it was not going to pleasant for me if i decided to take the job. i said, i had heard that a lot of aggies didn't want me to, and i let the board of regents make that decision. what hadold my wife been actually going to my mind at the time, which was i had been facing off with the deputy director of the kgb when he was first elected to the texas house and he thought he could intimidate me, but he was sadly mistaken. brian lamb: what impact is that question -- what impact did that have on you? secretary gates: he had not counted votes, and six of the nine regions had been appointed by george w. bush at the time. five of those regions voted for me. regentsof those
voted for me. a&m.ame president of he and i became -- maintained outward stability. wasll say this, while i there, he mostly left me alone. at one point he try to force me into hiring a friend of his for president of student affairs, but i had already extended an professional at the university of north carolina. i had refused to do it. at the next board of regents meeting, they change the rules that deb board had to approve any such position in the future. brian lamb: make you leadership
bern and your relationship with them. secretary gates: he was always friendly with me. time,mber one story, one he was referred to by the washington post and others as pork.ing of he was pretty good about taking money to west virginia. at one point, the post ran an editorial, complaining that the cia had decided to build a million-dollar logistics --ility in the basic thrust and the basic thrust was that he had enforced the building and west virginia. that the ciafact knew that the only way they could get the money for the facility was if they built that in west virginia and he helped. it was the cia's initiative and
not the senator's/ this story ran and i called him up. i said, mr. chairman, would it be all right if i wrote a letter to the editor as director of central intelligence saying the story was wrong in setting the facts right? i will never forget, there was a long positive he said, you would do that for me? i said, it is only fair. those are the facts. i wrote the letter and the post published it and i called them the day that it appeared to make , and a senator of oklahoma who was close to him, told me that after that, anytime my name came up he would say, that mr. gates is an honorable man. brian lamb: what is the lesson? secretary gates: i think the lesson is, people forget, people
insults,slights and but i think what people do not understand in washington well enough today is they also remember kindness. they also remember treating people decently, and that people on the receiving end never forget it. i think, and i write about it in the book, too much emphasis is placed on negative relationships when in fact, there are lots of opportunities day to day where you can do the right thing by somebody and it may be a small, small thing, maybe somebody works for you or somebody you work for, and they will not forget it. brian lamb: we started this program in the same format 27 years ago, and here is something i have never seen that you have in this book, i want to put it on the screen, a picture from the book. he, circle. word f
"she," circle. you decide to use this word hundreds of times. why? secretary gates: i tried to balance this book using she and places and see in places. there are a lot of women in leadership positions or who are about to assume leadership positions in companies and local governments, state governments, the national government. i wanted to make it clear, particularly for the young people, young women as well as young man, that these leadership opportunities will be open for everybody, and this will be regardless of your gender. brian lamb: do you have any comments? people havetes: noticed that he use the word "she" throughout the book. brian lamb: you tell a story
about a sergeant jason in the book. what is that about? secretary gates: one of the points i made at the beginning of our conversation was the importance of empowering subordinates and giving them responsibility, so the sergeant worked in my outer office in the reception area, and one of my senior military assistance decided they would be value in allowing these young men, mostly men, to participate in my , by going there a head of me and helping to prepare my visit and so on, including in iraq and afghanistan. dosent the sergeant out to the advanced work in afghanistan, and the sergeant was meeting with the kernel -- ideas. who had his own
he wanted me to watch a bunch of and thent briefings, sergeant knew i wanted to spend most of my time with the troops. kernel -- colonel went back-and-forth a little bit. toally, jason walked over his desk and he picked up the phone and he said, one of the two of us can call the secretary of defense and have the call taken immediately. he smiled and said, i get your point. 1991, --b: tech in back in 1991 when you are being confirmed for cia director, this is just a clip and after we watch this i want you to tell us what this is about. >> what bothered me from the inception bothers me now.
it is whether you were leveling with us, whether you are trying to guilt us. notesuld have read these and could have answered our question, but you did not do that. i have difficulty with that. secretary gates: at times, those questions were asking me what i thought mr. north had been referring to when he would write something or another, and that is when i answered, i did not know, that it is far from me to know what was in his mind. it was a long hearing and i had one exchange with senator metzenbaum and i had been testifying, i think, for 10 big parthours, and a of testifying on the hill is not answering questions but figuring
out what they are, because so often and never of congress is making a speech. i remember this senator at one point read a very long and , and i was just exhausted and i lost the bubble. i could not figure out what the question was. i said, with all due respect, senator, i am tired, what is the question? he did not know what the , and one aide kneeled beside him and ended up reading the whole thing over again, and i found the question and there that i thought i could .nswer testifying in front of the congress is always an interesting experience. brian lamb: you spent two years in service and a lot of years in this town. what do you think of congress?
secretary gates: the thing that concerns me is it has changed so much since i first came to washington 50 years ago. washington, i will use the senate as an example, because i remember the names better. our politics has always been polarized. in 1966 andshington we were in the middle of the vietnam war. within a half dozen years, we would be involved in watergate, so things have never been smooth in washington. there were always, on the hill, a number of people both democrats and republicans, centerleft center-right who would reach across the aisle to get business done. they would pass appropriation bills, passed welfare reform, passed legislation to move the country forward. i called that body of people the
bridge builders because they were building bridges across the aisle. the sad thing is, nearly all of those people are gone. the bill bradley's the bob bentsens, lloyd they were probably two dozen or more senators who were in that category and you could actually get things done. the committee chairs have real authority and when they committed to doing something, it would get done. most of those people are gone. they did not get defeated for the most part, they got leftrated and set up and on their own accord. a good example of this is a 1994 when i got a call from david
who had been offered the presidency of the university of oklahoma, and he was wrestling with whether to leave the senate, and i told him, david, i think it is very easy. when you are daydreaming on a plane or driving, are you daydreaming about what you have accomplished in the u.s. senate or what you could accomplish at ou? he laughed and said, you are right, it is easy and he took the ou job. this is my concern that it is not just that politics are polarized, it is that the people who have in the past been able to come together, move things forward, so many of them are gone and so few are left. a good example of this is the absence for years of regular appropriation bills, something as simple as funding the government from year-to-year. years, in last 10
only two years has the defense department had in enacted appropriation at the beginning of the fiscal year and that was nine and 10 years ago. for the last eight years we have had continuing resolutions or sequestration, but no regular order of business. brian lamb: one of the biggest planes ever built in the united c5-a, andhe sea5- congress did not want to fund this. secretary gates: the air force it, and theyire a have some of these original planes and they are so old that they require enormous amounts of money to maintain, and some of them never fly. they will drag them around the base sot the air force
the wheels do not go flat. that is the only time they ever move. because they are part of national guard units, or air national guard units, members of congress in which those bases are located one let them be decommissioned, no matter how much money they are costing the air force and they cannot service at all. the recent testimony, you have the leadership in the pentagon telling the congress that they facilities the military has in the united are accessed and need, but the congress will not let the military shut them down to save the overhead. brian lamb: what is the solution of that? secretary gates: i think the question is if you have
one of these long and drawnout processes where you point at commissions -- appoint commissions to look at military facilities and then you present the congress with an up-and-down , it on a list of bases takes years and it is very expensive and so on. my view is, the congress ought to authorize the secretary of defense to be able to close willities when the service testify that there is no longer a need for that facility, or for that weapon system or piece of equipment. in 2009,s secretary most of my predecessors canceled , if they were lucky, one or two or three major chairman's. i remember when did cheney was secretary he canceled the a12
fighter, and a litigation ended two years ago for that, and the other program he killed was for the marines which is still flying because congress would not let him kill it. in 2009, i cut 36 programs. they would have cost the taxpayer $330 billion. i got 33 of them approved or acquiesced by congress the first year, and i got the remainder the following year. partly, and it really goes to some of the lessons in the book, these were very important programs, most of them. these services had fought for them, but i involved the service leadership in all of these decisions. we had many meetings and the to make their own
suggestions of programs they thought were no longer needed. sometimes they put programs and their budget because they knew if they did not, the congress would, so they preemptively conceded the matter. you do not want to leave it out. was, becausenciple i had all of the service chiefs on board, none of them leak and went to the hill behind my back to get congress to reverse those decisions. second, and this is just a tactical thing, i publicly announced all of these cuts while congress was out of town. i had two weeks before they came , and there was a real groundswell of public support for what i had done in the media and elsewhere. the congress, when it arrived back in town, was behind the eight ball politically.
there were so many of these programs, it was hard for members of congress to make deals with each other like they are used to, and i had the vetot, strong threat of a by president obama if they put things back in that we did not want. there are a lot of tactics on how you can get these things done, but it also involves having relationships with members of congress that ultimately are productive, and i think one of the things about my surprised" that people on the hill was how negative i was toward congress because i had very productive relationships with them and very cool operative relationships -- cooperative relationships. i exercised an enormous amount of self-discipline, and in terms of keeping my real feelings about them hidden the whole time i had the job.
i will say in the last two or three months, my discipline slip, -- began to slip, and that was part of the reason i knew it was time to leave. brian lamb: one of the things you talk about in the book is firing people you have fired generals and secretaries. going back in 2007, this is you announcing the firing and resignation, and your idea of letting them resign instead of being fired. let's watch. secretary gates: i have two announcements to make. first, earlier today, the secretary of the army offered his resignation. i have accepted the resignation. army, weretary of the will have someone act as a new secretary until another one is appointed. i think dr. harvey for his service to the nation. a new, the army will name
commander for the army medical center. it must have its new leadership in place as quickly as possible. i am disappointed that some in the army had not adequately appreciated the seriousness of the situation pertaining to outpatient care at walter reed. some have shown it too much defensive mesh -- thi defensiveness. as you haveeddi ignored, some people think you are cold. explain your process of firing? secretary gates: in improving organizations, i am willing to hold people accountable, and i think that particularly, and even when i was a young cia officer, whenever there was a
problem, it always seemed like the people low down on the totem pole were the ones that got punished. who should have known about the problem and dealt with unscathed., escaped i told myself then, back in the 1970's, that if i was ever in a position of authority that was not the way it was going to be. i was not going to go out of my way to find a scapegoat. if i came to the conclusion that the problem had not been taken seriously enough, they would be in fact held accountable. what i am trying to do throughout my career, and i did a&m, andhe cia, texas the defense department, most of these people are good people and they have given the previous service, so i tried not to humiliate them. i tried to deal with them in a
manner that preserved their dignity, so i would always give them the opportunity to resign. i told one person, one vice tosident that i had asked retire at texas a&m, i do not care if you go out there and say i would not work one more minute for that sob gates. i told him i would not counter that at all. you handle that anyway you want if you are going to leave. i think what bothered me for a is that people in washington lose their jobs all of the time, but mainly they lose them because of personal misbehavior of one kind or another. what is unusual in washington, peoplee in my view, is losing their jobs because they ,id not do the job well enough
or that they had made a serious mistake, or that they had failed in some way. when i find a problem like we frankly, aer reed, couple of senior army people try to pass that off to a couple of ncos not doing their job, which i will tell you inflamed me. problemre is a systemic , and when a problem is brought attentionr person's and they do not do enough about it to solve it, then i think they ought to be held accountable. brian lamb: how often did you fire someone face to face? secretary gates: every person i ever relieved or fired, i did face to face with the sole exception of when i fired the chief of staff of the air force
over mishaps in our nuclear there i hadram, and intended to do it face to face, but news of what i was doing was beginning to leak and they were out of town, so i asked the -- admiral in my deputy gordon england was going to be in the same place as the secretary of the air force, so i had them do it face to face. when i decided that i had to relieve the commander in afghanistan, i flew all the way to afghanistan to sit with him face to face and tell him. this is something that always bothered me about the president. i worked for eight presidents, and the best that i know, only two of them i ever heard them fire people face to face.
it was jerry ford and jimmy carter. had anotherse person do that work for them. i always felt it ought to be done face to face. brian lamb: another incident tore you talk about, i want know what you would do about this as secretary of defense. this is a famous point before the iraq war started where he talks about the number of troops needed in iraq if we went in there, and this would have been back in february of 2003, the war started in march of that year. listen to what he said. to the us some ideas magnitude of the army's force requirement in the occupation of iraq following to fiscal completion of the war -- successful completion of the war. >> i would say what has been
mobilized at this point, something on the order of several hundred thousand -- troops will be needed. we are talking about a piece of geography that is fairly significant with the kinds of ethnic tensions which could lead to other problems, and so it takes a significant amount of troops present. brian lamb: you were not there, but was he fired for that statement? secretary gates: what i heard is that he was not fired so much as sidelined. was sort of cast into the outer darkness, if you will for the remainder of his term. one of the things i think, it is
not actually written into law but is a practice and a question that the senate armed service committee asks of every senior officer who comes before them to testify, and that is, if we ask, will you give us your personal, professional, military judgment on any given question? and the answer is always, yes. general did into that category, and so i had officers, including the chairman who would go up to the hill and say things to the white house, to the president that they really did not like, but i defended them because i thought that they had a responsibility in preserving their integrity to answer the questions they were asked, asked for their personal, professional military judgment. they needed to be truthful and
offering that opinion. frankly, it is a tool in the hands of the congress to try to drive a wedge between the military and the leadership, whether it is the secretary or the president. even being aware of that, i think that sometimes i hold some of the members of congress more responsible for some of these episodes because they know they are putting the officer in a terrible position, and only because of the officers 's integrity do they know they will get the answer they are looking for. i had a number of cases, i had both president bush and obama really chew on parts of me because of that testimony, but i told them that is the responsibility. eight presidents,
did you know them all? secretary gates: the only one i did not meet was lyndon johnson, the first one. years,amb: over those who were the most angry with you at a given time and why? secretary gates: i think pretty , and itresident obama was because we had a difference, i think the issue over which, first of all let me say, he was really good about letting me be honest and push back on him when i disagree. he never cast me out into the outer darkness, never shunned me or stopped talking to me or anything. i think he valued the candor, so i have always given him credit for his patience and willingness to hear me out, but i think that probably when he was the over" don'th me was
and it wasell," really over a difference in strategy on how to implement it, and in particular, he wanted me, as part of getting a federal judge in california, had basically ruled this unconstitutional, and that meant that the law was a goner right then unless we got a stay of that order from the ninth circuit court. the president was very unwilling to seek the state. he wanted to go ahead and get read of don't ask don't tell. i said, you really cannot let this be done by the act of a single judge or your executive order. this needs to be done with the consent and support of the congress. , i will seekright
this day in the ninth circuit, but you have to suspend the application of the law. i said, mr. president, i cannot do that. there is either law or no law. you want a constitutional lawyer, but i have an obligation , and i took an of to fulfill and obey the constitution and law, and i cannot do that. tense, and he said, i will not make you do anything that you do not feel is right. but it was very clear to me he was very angry with me. as it turned out, we did the that 2/3 ofearned the military had no objection to changing the law and having gays serve openly. were people group
that thought it would lead to an improvement, and i think it pays a way to the smooth introduction of don't ask don't tell. again, a lesson in the book. ,e serve a 400,000 troops 150,000 military spouses, so they felt we at least respected than enough to ask them what problems do you foresee and how do you think about this? everything they knew was all anecdotal, so this was the first time ever that we had taken a survey to try to figure out what they really thought. said,embers of congress said you are taking a side. i said no, i do want to know what they think and they deserve to have that opportunity. i think one of the consequences has been implemented with virtually no problems. forcesamb: you like task
in the book. you talk about trying to reduce e $180 billion in the secretary of defense office. talk about task forces and how you use them. secretary gates: a lot of people , for a long time i thought into the definition of a committee as a cul-de-sac in which ideas are lured and quietly strangled, but i found in all three of the places i lived, the communication up and down goes pretty well, but communication laterally across an organization is always poor. one part of the organization does not communicate with another part, except at the very top, so my view was, if you get
people out of their normal bureaucratic environment and where they are not under the eye of their supervisors or compelled to defend their home turf, that you can actually cap into the creativity and the talent that you have in an organization and get ideas on how to make this place better, how do we move it forward? the key is making sure to appoint the right person to head the task force, someone to move it to a good conclusion and to and thee the consensus objective is to present bold proposals to move this forward. also a person chairing it who can be a defender of the recommendations of the institution, so you want someone respected enough that they have clout within the organization. then, perhaps the most important thing, or two most important .hings, very short deadlines
as i write in the book, unconstrained tax forces are a danger. -- task forces are a danger. was that 10 years? secretary gates: five to 10 years. part of it was a budget exercise which was unique. i told the services, of the $180 billion we cut $80 billion from the department of defense more broadly and we returned that to the treasury. $100 billion, i said it was up to the services to find those cuts, to tighten up. what i told the services was, we need to do better at cutting overhead so we can use the money to strengthen our military capabilities.
onare wasting money overhead, headquarters, too big of staff, too many contractors and things like that. xre's the deal, if you cut dollars out of your overhead, and you make a good case on how you can use that money to strengthen military capability, i will give you the money back. they did. they cut the overhead and we used that money to buy more aircraft's, fund more ships and do more things in terms of military capability. i think there is room to do more of that in the department of defense. brian lamb: has the department of defense ever been audited? secretary gates: we get audited in different ways by different people, but when it comes to sort of a formal, generally accepted accounting practice, the answer is, no. the department has been working for years to get itself in a position of where it knows where
all of the money has gone and has that documented and can present it in a formal, accounting practice. do we know where the money goes? yes. do huge amounts of money just sort of disappeared into the ether and no one knows where it went? no. o and other organizations are always looking at us. the inspector general and the department of the congress, so i having a gapck of practice on auditing, does not mean that the department's spending or records are out of control or useless, but it does mean that in a formal accounting sense, we have fallen short in the services have been making a big effort to try to get that right. brian lamb: i wrote a bunch of
things down from the book, and you say you became an advocate for greater transparency. too much is being kept secret in the government. the department of defense leaks like a sieve. i cannot even read my own writing. the point you're are making is, when the government tries to stamp out leakers, it comes to a good end. talk about that. secretary gates: as i write in the book, i spent my life in the cia and defense department in an ocean of secrecy. i had forgotten about for programs i forgot existed and so on. at the end of the cold war, when i was director of central intelligence, i came to believe very strongly that the american people have given the cia a pass
on a lot of things because of this axis that show contest -- x essential conflict with the soviet union. i believed we had to be more open on what we did and why we did it and even to the extent of how we did it to help the american people better understand why intelligence was important to the government and two presidents, and why the presidents valued it. i committed to release, declassify all of the estimates the cia had ever done on the soviet union. i committed 2-d classified details on coke -- declassify 1950'soperations in the to make them more available to the press and the hill. i felt the same way and the department of defense. sometimes the transparency is not to the public that it is internal.
there are a lot of bosses who say, if you only knew what i knew you would understand why i decided that. i think most of the time, that betrays someone who is very arrogant or someone who is very insecure. i found in being very transparent about what i was as director of central intelligence and secretary of defense, inside the building, so there were no secrets in terms of my agenda and where i was headed, that it was a strength. when i had all of these task forces at the cia, windows task forces gave me those reports, i made them widely available in the cia and intelligence committee -- community, and when i drafted a decision memo i would make that available. i am sitting up there on the -13ond floor, and if some gf is going to have to implement
it, he or she may have a better idea on how to do this more effectively than i have. i want to hear about that. to reframed a way this decision memo, i want to know that. in the defense department when we were cutting programs or fighting two wars, if people had ideas that they wanted to share, i wanted to hear it and it wanted them to know what i was trying to do at the same time. my experience, both as director of central intelligence and secretary of defense, and this is also true at texas a&m. i remember my first staff meeting on the budget, and i invited the speaker of the faculty senate and the president and said,dent body in this is not the cia, we do not have any secrets and we need input from everybody. my experience from all three places was that transparency,
but trust, it really -- it built trust, it reassured people edit --e people feel they were and it made people feel they were a part of the process. brian lamb: which of the presidents, and i do not want to say who is the best, that which one did you enjoy on a day-to-day asus? -- day-to-day basis? secretary gates: i would have to say george w. bush. i was the national security advisor from january of 1989 until november of 19 91, and he is an amazing human being, good humor, open. people's views and willing to have a debate, but it was also an amazing time.
i did my bit in the cold war against the soviet union out of indiana university, and so i go to the white house with him in 1989 and we have the liberation of eastern europe, the reunification of germany, the victory in the cold war and the collapse of the soviet union. hours ofnding 2, 3, 4 the day with the president to travel to mystically. -- domestically. it was an amazing time. we knew we were making history every single day. he was so good at it and he managed it so well, so that every day was exciting and he made it also fun. brian lamb: i want to run a clip, about a minute long. he was for 28 years a staff member of the budget committee at the hill, and he looked at "duty" and
analyzed to hear after 2014. >> what is a republican today and what is a democrat? to dispose of gates, he is an ideological operative of the permanent regime that exists, whether you are a democrat or a republican in the oval office. these people pose as technocrats and experts on national security, or for that matter, like larry summers and some others, they pose as nonpartisan experts on economics and fiscal policy, but in reality, they are all deeply ideological. they believe in military force a broad.
they believe in the washington consensus or neoliberalism or free market style, crony capitalism at home. brian lamb: he used to work for john kasich. what do you think of his analysis of you? secretary gates: i guess i would have to say i disagree. all, whenat, first of he lumped me end with people saying, we were for the use of military force abroad, he clearly did not read the last where iof "duty" expressed the view that american presidents had become too willing to use force to resolve international problems and the use of force had become too easy for presidents. it is in writing that i have a very different view than he just described.
crony capitalism, i do not know what that means for someone who has been in the national security arena. i do not know what his is, but i do bed not recognize the person he describes, and i do not think that people who work with me would think of me as that. brian lamb: this piece is a little bit dated, but said that there were 30 generals who were on the boards of the top 10 defense contractors, x generals, what you think of that term? secretary gates: i think it is a concern. example, i have been offered the opportunity to serve on the board of defense contractors and i have turned it down. the only board of directors i serve on is starbucks, and i think the people have to be more
sensitive to the appearances of things. . think you can take it too far for example, we have reached a point where the ethics rules for people coming into the government are so strict that it makes it very difficult, and let's just take defense industries as an example. thisu have worked in industry and know-how in defense contracts works, if you know how the contractors play the game and you have worked for one of them, chances are you are not going to be allowed to become a senior official in the department of defense under the current ethics rules. what you end up with, and who you end up with in the senior or stafferscademics or people who have no real world experience in defense
contracting, and it seems to me through transparency or blind trust, there ought to be a way for people to know what they are doing in this arena to be able to come to work for the government. without people thinking they are just bettering their nest for the future. and i think to a degree, you can reverse that. industry,r a defense having a general officer who has real-world experience on how those products are used, brings real value to a corporate board. officershat retired just need to think about appearances, and what i am trying to say is, i do not think one-size-fits-all. there should not be a blanket prohibition on this, but i do think people need to be sensitive to whether there is the appearance of a vicious
circle of people moving in and out of the government, into defense industries back into the government and so on. duty,"amb: your book " do you know how many you sold? secretary gates: close to half a million. brian lamb: what surprised you about that experience and what was the reaction that you did not expect? secretary gates: i think that the thing that surprised me the how well it was received by current and former members of the military, and that it gave them insight into the decisions that affected their lives. honest, made them,
reassured them that the person who had been in charge of the department really cared about those individuals and the well-being of their families. i was prepared for the usual washington hub when it first came out, but i think i was struck by the fact that the obama white house never said a negative thing about the book. brian lamb: did you get any reaction from the president? secretary gates: no. , sent a copy to president bush so i think most people thought it was pretty fair. brian lamb: what was more interesting to write and how much did you write yourself? secretary gates: i wrote both of them entirely myself. i had a research assistant. that is something i was proud of. , and none ofmyself
the reviews or anybody to this point has pointed out a factual error. i feel pretty good about that. i have to thank google and wikipedia for that. myself.them both was more a integrationy" --"duty" was more an integration of documents. this new book "a passion for leadership," was based on experiences i had 50 years ago. brian lamb: are you going to do another book? secretary gates: publishers have been talking to me. i am not sure i am ready to have another baby. brian lamb: what would you write it about? secretary gates: i would take on more of a policy subject. brian lamb: our guest has been robert m gates. the book is "a passion for leadership, lessons on change
and reform from 50 years of the service." thank you. secretary gates: thank you for having me. ♪ >> for free transcripts or to give us your comment about this org"ram, visit us at "q&a. these programs are also available as c-span podcasts. if you like this week's "q&a" interview, here are some others you may enjoy. we talk about his book on the two-party system in his op-ed on secretary gates former memoir. we take on the history of the navy and her role as vice chief of naval operations.