Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, steps down on Thursday after four-and-a-half years in charge of the American military machine.

Appointed by George W Bush, Gates stayed in the role under Barack Obama, managing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq which he had no role in starting.

And in a speech at the West Point military academy in February 2011, Gates offered some blunt advice to his successor, saying: "Any future defence secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army to Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should have his head examined."

Al Jazeera's Rosiland Jordan examines Gates' legacy.

Source: Al Jazeera