Bush Pentagon Team Asked to Stay On
Gates keeps appointees on board until they are replaced
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2008 2:00 AM CST
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates walks with Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of multi-national forces, following a town hall meeting with troops last Saturday in Balad, Iraq.   (AP Photo/Scott Olson, Pool)
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(Newser) – Defense Secretary Robert Gates has taken the unusual step of inviting most of President Bush's political appointees to remain at the Pentagon until they are replaced, the Washington Times reports. An undisclosed number will be dismissed, but Gates, keen to avoid a "leadership vacuum" with two wars on, wants to keep the majority of some 250 appointees in place.

Normally a change of parties sees mass resignations of political appointees beginning right after the election, with subordinates left to fill in. In a memo last week, Gates said all who had not been contacted individually would have the option to stay until their successors were chosen. Still, he urged the Pentagon appointees to start planning for future employment, saying he could not provide "more clarity and guidance" on how long they would be wanted.