Robert Gates, ex-U.S. Secretary of Defense, to lead Boy Scouts

Thu Oct 31, 2013 6:50am IST

Robert Gates speaks during a plenary session at the 10th International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) Asia Security Summit: The Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore June 4, 2011. REUTERS/Tim Chong

Robert Gates speaks during a plenary session at the 10th International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) Asia Security Summit: The Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore June 4, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Tim Chong

Related Topics

REUTERS - The Boy Scouts of America on Wednesday chose former U.S. Secretary of Defense and CIA director Robert Gates as its next president, who will face the task of repairing divisions in the organization from a heated debate over accepting gay scouts.

As Defense Secretary, Gates supported President Barack Obama's withdrawal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that prevented gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military. Congress repealed the ban in 2010 and it was lifted in 2011.

While a Boy Scout, Gates achieved the highest honor of Eagle Scout. He was due to begin his two-year term in May 2014.

Gates will succeed Wayne Perry, who led the scouting organization through the emotionally charged debate in May when the council voted to lift a century-old ban on openly gay scouts.

The ban on gay scouts will officially end on January 1, 2014. A prohibition on openly gay adult leaders remains in place.

More than 60 percent of the group's National Council, comprising some 1,400 delegates, voted in favor of ending the youth ban, according to the Boy Scouts.

Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout and founder of Scouts for Equality, said the appointment of Gates was a clear step the organization was on a path to unity.

"It's a significant and positive development," Wahls said. "Gates is respected by both sides of the debate on gay youth and parents in the Boy Scouts."

Gates, 70, served in various roles in the CIA including head of the intelligence agency from 1991 to 1993.

President George W. Bush appointed him defense secretary in 2006 and he was retained by Obama, making him the only defense secretary to be asked to remain in office by a newly elected president, according to the Department of Defense.

He has also served as president of Texas A&M University. (Editing By Brendan O'Brien and Ken Wills)

FILED UNDER:

Reuters Showcase

India Cricket Chief

India Cricket Chief

Former ICC boss Dalmiya returns as BCCI chief.  Full Article 

S&P on Budget

S&P on Budget

Budget shows commitment to keep fiscal deficit low - S&P.  Full Article 

New Phone

New Phone

Samsung unveils sleek new Galaxy phones to battle Apple.  Full Article 

MH370 Search

MH370 Search

Interview: Australia says hunt for missing MH370 jet may be called off soon.  Full Article 

Blogger's Murder

Blogger's Murder

Bangladesh says arrests main suspect in U.S. blogger Avijit Roy's killing.  Full Article 

England under Fire

England under Fire

Changes demanded after England's latest World Cup flop.  Full Article 

Anti-Putin Rally

Anti-Putin Rally

Anti-Putin protesters rally in New York after Nemtsov's murder.  Full Article 

Brit Awards

Brit Awards

Brit awards shake up British album chart, boost Sam Smith.  Full Article 

Lathmar Holi

In Pics: Lathmar Holi

Images of "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon in Uttar Pradesh.  Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage