Middle East Trip: Day One

CBS Evening News anchor and managing editor Katie Couric is accompanying Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on a five-day overseas trip to several undisclosed countries. She is currently in Cairo, Egypt. Look for her reports next week on the Evening News and on 60 Minutes.

Arrived in Cairo around five this afternoon and was greeted by a very dusty dusk, caused (we're told) by the khamseen wind, as our convoy makes it to the hotel through rush hour traffic.

This is Secretary of Defense Robert Gates's first overseas trip since February when he traveled to Krakow for the NATO Defense Ministerial. He's been busy significantly altering the Pentagon's budget to address the changing threats the U.S. is facing rather than the age old practice of gearing up for a cold war confrontation. Less emphasis on multi billion dollar weapons systems used for conventional warfare, and more on what soldiers need as they fight less organized insurgencies in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan.

Gates will be meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Their first encounter was in 1990 prior to Desert Storm. He says he'll talk to him about Egypt's role in the Arab-Israeli conflict and about the problem of smuggling supplies into Gaza through underground tunnels. There is a small press corps on the trip: The New York Times, Washington Post, AP, CBS Radio. CNN's new Pentagon Correspondent Chris Lawrence is the pool reporter.

We came over on a Boeing 757, part of the Air Force fleet.

Cocktail party for press before Sec. Gates has dinner with Egypt's defense minister.

We're on our own.

Light show at the pyramids, anyone?