News

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

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

LATEST BOY SCOUT LEADER: Retiring U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates inspects a military honor guard during his farewell ceremony at the Pentagon near Washington, June 30, 2011. Photo: Reuters

By Lisa Maria Garza

(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 Congress repealed the ban in 2010 and it was lifted in 2011.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.

Recent Headlines

24 hours ago in Local

Genetically Engineered Miniature Pigs Aiding in Research

PigSingle

A northwest Iowa company may be leading something of a shift to swine in medical research

24 hours ago in Local

Minnesota Traffic Deaths Reach 100

traffic

There have been 100 traffic deaths on Minnesota roads so far this year.

1 day ago in Local

Iowa Legislators Struggle to Conclude the 2016 Session

fleet of semi trucks- approved- clipart

The Iowa D-O-T's request for an extra 10-million dollars to cover negotiated salary increases is one of the sticking points that remains as lawmakers struggle to conclude the 2016 legislative session.

1 day ago in Local

Rural Airports in Nebraska Can Now Apply for Federal Funding

air force

Rural airports in Nebraska will be able to apply for federal funding now that Congress has approved a rider to the FAA reauthorization sponsored by Congressman Adrian Smith

1 day ago in Local

Compromise In the Works For Family Planning Services

Pregnant Woman Holding Blocks Spelling "Baby"

A compromise may be in the works over where Medicaid patients in Iowa can get family planning services after July 1st.