But Gates' role within the Obama administration is an indispensible one. Thus, it's a noteworthy sign that the Bush administration holdover has announced that he will remain in his current job for another year.
Remember, Gates is overseeing a military still embroiled in two wars, one needless, one seemingly endless. Decisions about the drawdown in Iraq and the surge in Afghanistan are life-and-death choices for the defense secretary.
Gates' level-headed leadership with the U.S. military warrants another year.
At the least, not having to find Gates' replacement gives the busy Obama one less problem to deal with. That's not an insignificant issue.