President-elect Obama's decision to keep Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense is both a solid military move and political move.
In the face of two wars, the transition from President Bush to President Obama is easier for the Pentagon knowing that Gates will remain on the job for one more year.
Second, knowing there will be continuity in Iraq policy and knowing that Gates shares his belief that Afghanistan should be the true focus of our war on terror, allows Obama to focus more attention on pressing domestic concerns.
Third, this is a smart move politically because it ensures there will be at least one Republican in his Cabinet. This will potentially neuter future conservative criticism of Obama's Iraq/Afghanistan policy because it will still be a Republican running these wars for the forseeable future.
The big problem, of course, is that the anti-war wing of the Democratic Party, will feel let down that Obama isn't making a more concerted effort to immediately withdraw troops from Iraq. This is a misguided belief. The United States and Iraq have reached an understanding that U.S. troops will be (mostly) gone by 2011. Obviously, this wouldn't meet Obama's 16-month timetable, but it is a reasonable compromise between the get-out-now anti-war left and the "stay as long as it takes" foreign policy hawks.