Chicago, Dec.3 : US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has revealed that he has an "open-ended" agreement to remain at the Pentagon incoming President Barack Obama.
Gates said he would not be a "caretaker secretary" and scotched media reports of him being given a time frame of just a year to serve under Obama.
"With the country fighting two wars, and our men and women in uniform at risk, if the president asked me to help, there's no way I can say no," Gates said. Gates said he expects most Defense Department appointees to be replaced.
Moments later, Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England announced that he would not be staying with Gates in the Obama administration.
Gates said Tuesday that re-examining the U.S. military's "strategy and approach" in Afghanistan will be a top priority in the next administration, and also indicated that he is on the same page with Obama when it comes to a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.
Gates said Obama's statements about pursuing a "responsible drawdown" and consulting the commanders on the ground give him confidence in Obama's stance on the issue.
"Nobody wants to put at risk the gains that have been achieved with so much sacrifice on the part of our soldiers and the Iraqis," he added.
Gates also said, "I think it is possible to close" the Guantanamo Bay detention center in the next administration, and that he would work with Congress to create legislation to enable the closure.