Gates accepted the nomination for Secretary of Defense on November 8, 2006, replacing Donald Rumsfeld. He was confirmed with bipartisan support. In a 2007 profile written by former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, Time named Gates one of the year's most influential people. In 2008, Gates was named one of America's Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report. He continued to serve as Secretary of Defense in President Barack Obama's administration. Gates announced in August 2010 that he planned to retire in 2011, and President Barack Obama announced in April 2011 that he would be replaced by CIA director Leon Panetta. “He’ll be remembered for making us aware of the danger of over-reliance on military intervention as an instrument of American foreign policy,” said former Senator David L. Boren. Gates was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, by President Obama during his retirement ceremony. On September 6, 2011, Gates was named to be 24th Chancellor of The College of William and Mary; he succeeded Sandra Day O'Connor on February 3, 2012.
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