WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15) issued the following statement on the retirement of Robert Gates, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD):

“I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Secretary Gates. I will certainly miss his counsel, wisdom and sage advice. Secretary Gates will be remembered as a powerful and effective leader, having guided the American military establishment through extremely difficult times, including wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, with dignity and grace. His ability to serve under Presidents from both political parties speaks volumes to his honest and dependable style of leadership. I thank Secretary Gates for his years of service to our nation and wish him an enjoyable retirement.

“Secretary Gates will soon be replaced by Leon Panetta, who I know to be an excellent leader. Mr. Panetta undoubtedly has big shoes to fill, but I look forward to working with him in his new role as Secretary.”