Pentagon Chief Says Partisanship Will Undermine Foreign Policy

By STAFF | June 19, 2011 | 11:13 AM EDT

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates speaks during a media availability at the Pentagon Thursday, June 16, 2011 in Washington.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON (AP) — After 40 years of working for presidents from both parties, Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he's learned that it takes bipartisan support to succeed in national security and foreign affairs.

What worries Gates as he prepares to step down this month as Pentagon chief is how partisanship is seeping into those areas.

Gates says he's not sure what can be done about partisanship. He says maintaining a civil dialogue between the executive branch and the Congress can help.

President George W. Bush appointed Gates in 2006, and President Barack Obama persuaded him to stay on after taking office in 2009. He has been defense secretary for 4½ years.

Gates spoke on "Fox News Sunday."