Is This Our First Female Defense Chief?

Michele Flournoy is on Obama's shortlist

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 4, 2013 12:58 PM CST

(Newser) – It's possible the nation might have its first female defense secretary soon. With leading candidate Chuck Hagel running into stiff resistance, the name of Michele Flournoy is standing out on President Obama's shortlist, reports the Los Angeles Times. Its profile describes the 52-year-old Democrat as a policy wonk who has been enmeshed in some of the biggest debates about the military's role over the past quarter-century. She has never served in uniform but rose to No. 3 at the Pentagon under Obama before leaving in February.

Two quotes about Flournoy, who is seen as more pragmatic than ideological, from the story:

  • "She'd be a terrific appointment," says The Obamians author James Mann. "She's incredibly competent, smart, and really loved by everyone who works for her."
  • "I think she has a traditional way of thinking about America's role in the world, more Jeffersonian than Teddy Roosevelt—that the shining light of America ought to mean something in the world, be an example and model, but it shouldn't be a heavy hand to force people to follow our model," says retired Marine Lt. Gen. Greg Newbold.

This 2010 file photo shows then-Defense Undersecretary for Policy Michele Flournoy testifying on Capitol Hill.
This 2010 file photo shows then-Defense Undersecretary for Policy Michele Flournoy testifying on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
Michele Flournoy prepares for a meeting in China in this 2011 file photo.
Michele Flournoy prepares for a meeting in China in this 2011 file photo.   (AP Photo/Andy Wong, Pool)
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