Clinton sidesteps speculation about taking Defense job

Hillary Clinton deflected questions Tuesday about whether she'll take over as Defense secretary when Robert Gates retires in 2011.

In a joint interview with Gates from Australia aired Tuesday morning, Clinton said that she hopes Gates' retirement will be postponed "further and further" away. "We came in together, we should go out together," the secretary of State told ABC News. "We all want Bob to stay," she said.

Gates heads the list of upcoming high profile retirements at the Pentagon. During the next year, Obama will not only hand pick a new defense secretary, but also several top generals, including the chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Army and Navy chiefs. And that wide range of openings at Defense has only added to speculation that Clinton may be on the short list.

When questioned directly about what her response might be if Obama asked her to take the position, Clinton evaded the question. "I have made it clear I love the job that I have," she said.

For his part, Gates said that Clinton could "absolutely" do his job, though he praised Clinton's work in her current role.

"I think that one of the great strengths that Hillary brings to the job as Secretary of State is as spokesperson for the United States around the world," Gates said. "That's not the role of the secretary of Defense."

If Clinton accepted the job, "she would be terrific," former Speaker Newt Gingrich, who served with her on an advisory group of the Joint Forces Command, said on ABC this morning. "She's knowledgeable, she's tough," he said.

"I think she would be a very good defender of the military in terms of what it needs, its budgets and its concerns," Gingrich said. "I'm not sure she would have quite as much fun, though. I think she's probably having a better time being secretary of State."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.