The National Constitution Center this evening awards the 2011 Liberty Medal to former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, in honor of his five decades of distinguished public service.A tireless advocate for the welfare of American troops, Gates has been called "the ultimate soldiers' secretary." A former CIA director, he led the Department of Defense from 2006 to 2011. His tenure, spanning both the Bush and Obama administrations, makes him the only defenese secretary in the nation's history to serve under presidents of different political parties.
The Liberty Medal was established in 1988 to commemorate the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution. Given annually, the medal honors "men and women of courage and conviction who strive to secure the belsessings of liberty to people around the globe."