From NBC's Jim Miklaszewski
One source familiar with the selection process tells NBC News that Defense Secretary Robert Gates will remain on the job at the Pentagon for at least a year. "That's been a done deal for sometime," according to the sources. "No other name has been seriously floated as a possible candidate."
The deal was sealed for Gates when former Marine Corps Commandant Jim Jones was mentioned as the probable candidate for National Security Adviser, and former Admiral Dennis Blair was named as the likely pick for Director of National Intelligence, according to one source.
"That's a dream team that Gates could clearly work with," the source said.
Two other sources involved or familiar with the process said, as of yesterday, Gates was all but certain.
"It was the formula all along," according to one source, that Gates would stay in the Pentagon, retain a small number of his personal staff while a Democrat, appointed by Obama as Deputy Defense Secretary, would put together the remainder of the top staff.
According to officials close to Gates, to avoid being labeled a "lame duck," he asked that a specific timetable not be attached to his term, but something more loosely defined, such as "under 4 years."