"There is no international problem that can be addressed or solved without the engagement and leadership of the United States and everybody in the world knows that, its just fact of life. So sometimes I think we could conduct ourselves with a little more humility."
"If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right."Robert M. Gates on Henry Ford
"A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus."Robert M. Gates on Martin Luther King, Jr.
"It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership."Robert M. Gates on Nelson Mandela
"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves."Robert M. Gates on Lao Tzu
"Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership."Robert M. Gates on Colin Powell
"If there's ever an example that military power alone cannot be successful in Afghanistan, I think it was the Soviet experience."
"I have always that there ought to be some kind of mandatory national service, not necessarily in the military but to show everybody that freedom isn't free, that everybody has an obligation to the nation as a community."
"Health care costs are eating the Defense Department alive."
"When I was the director of Central Intelligence in the early '90s, I tried to get the Air Force to partner with us in building drones. And they didn't want to, because they had no pilots."
"Well, I've ruffled a few feathers at all the institutions I've led. But I think that's part of leadership."