Escorted by General David Petraeus, Gates toured one such outpost southeast of Baghdad, reports CBS News correspondent Thalia Assuras who is traveling with the Secretary.
Thirty-five-year-old Army Maj. Christopher Wendland, the executive officer of the station, explains that the goal is to build security and trust by living among the people.
"We get a lot of tips, we get a lot of phone calls," said Wendland. "That's really what helps us, because we're immersed in the community and because we work so closely with the community and they see us all the time."
Establishing security is a key challenge for the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, and the U.S. is growing increasingly frustrated over its inability to stem the bloodshed.
At a Saturday news conference where the U.S. ambassador described progress as "frustratingly slow," Mr. Gates tempered the tone by emphasizing the extent of the challenges.
"These are people who are prepared to give up their lives for a different kind of Iraq than has existed in the past, so is this a difficult process? Yes, because of the history of this country," Gates said.
The big question is what will happen if this latest strategy doesn't show signs of success by September, when the president is to receive a comprehensive report, and if the Iraqi government doesn't meet its benchmarks by the same deadline.
No one traveling with Secretary Gates would answer that question.
In Other Developments:
missing since an attack on their unit in May were found in an al Qaeda safe house north of Baghdad, along with video production equipment, computers and weapons, the U.S. military said Saturday. Spc. Alex R. Jimenez and Pvt. Byron Fouty were snatched in a raid on their 10th Mountain Division unit on May 12 near Youssifiyah.