Cunard Line has said that former Secretary of Defense, Dr. Robert Gates, will sail with the Queen Mary 2 as a featured guest with the Cunard Insights program during her August 112015 Transatlantic Crossing from Southampton to New York.

Gates served as the 22nd secretary of defense from 2006 to 2011, and is the only secretary of defense in United States history to be asked to remain in that office by a newly elected President. Gates has served under President Barak Obama and President George W. Bush. In his last day in office, President Barak Obama awarded Gates the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honour.

“I am very pleased to be invited into Cunard’s Insights program and to share stories from my career,” Gates said. “I look forward to meeting guests from all over the world, and to experiencing one of Queen Mary 2's renowned Transatlantic Crossings."

During the Crossing, Gates will share his insights with guests during two Q&A sessions with Queen Mary 2’s Entertainment Director. Guests will also have the opportunity to attend a book-signing session with Gates during the voyage.

“We look forward to welcoming the celebrated Robert Gates to the Cunard Insights programme. We know our guests will enjoy learning about his significant contributions in public service, his tenure in national security and about his past and current business ventures,” said Richard Meadows, president of Cunard, North America.

Gates joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1966 and spent nearly 27 years as an intelligence professional. During that period, he spent nearly nine years at the National Security Council, the White House, serving four presidents of both political parties.

He served as director of Central Intelligence from 1991 until 1993 and is the only career officer in CIA’s history to rise from entry-level employee to director. He served as deputy director of Central Intelligence and as assistant to the President and deputy national security adviser at the White House.

Gates has been awarded the National Security Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal, has three times received the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, and has three times received CIA’s highest award, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal.