News / USA

    Former Defense Secretary to Lead Boy Scouts

    Former Defense Secretary to Lead Boy Scoutsi
    X
    November 01, 2013 8:47 PM
    He has served under eight U.S. presidents, including as chief of the Central Intelligence Agency and at the Pentagon. Now, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates has agreed to take on a new challenge. Instead of marshalling troops, though, he will be making sure more than two-and-a-half million U.S. boys are prepared to face life.
    He has served under eight U.S. presidents, including as chief of the Central Intelligence Agency and at the Pentagon. Now, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates has agreed to take on a new challenge. Instead of marshalling troops, though, he will be making sure more than two-and-a-half million U.S. boys are prepared to face life.

    There was plenty of fanfare when Gates stepped down as Secretary of Defense in June 2011, marking what seemed to be the end of a long public career.

    Now, Gates will be stepping back onto the public stage, after agreeing to a two-year term as voluntary president of the Boy Scouts of America. Pending final approval, he is to start next May.

    In a statement, Gates, a former scout himself, is quoted as saying, “There is no finer program for preparing American boys for citizenship and leadership.”

    But just as when he took the helm at the Defense Department, in the midst of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Gates is coming to an organization facing major challenges.

    The Boy Scouts have been hit with multiple lawsuits - including one alleging the organization, despite complaints, allowed suspected pedophiles to work with and abuse boys in the 1970s and 80s.

    "We know that in Idaho alone, there were 15 different pedophiles, based on these documents," said Andrew Chasan, who represents the plaintiffs.

    But perhaps no issue looms larger than the decision by the Boy Scouts this past May to allow openly gay scouts for the first time.

    Outgoing Boy Scouts President Wayne Perry, said, “It's a very difficult decision for a lot of people. But we're moving forward together.”

    Not everyone feels that way. Thousands of people rallied in opposition, some severing ties, even mailing back scout badges they had earned decades earlier.

    "What they've done is they've slapped all of us in the face that have ever been involved in scouting," said Bill Bright, a former Boy Scout.

    The issue though, is not at all unfamiliar to Gates, who oversaw the end of the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays.

    “You're supposed to go on treating everybody like you're supposed to be treating everybody now - with dignity, respect and discipline.”

    But now, instead of facing troops, he’ll be facing more than 2.5 million Boy Scouts, ages seven to 21. And he will be charged with helping them live up to the organization’s famous motto - “be prepared.”

    Jeff Seldin

    Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters and is national security correspondent. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

    You May Like

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora