287,296 Pages

Michèle Flournoy
Undersecretary of Defense for Policy

In office
February 9, 2009 – February 8, 2012
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Eric Edelman
Succeeded by James Miller
Personal details
Born Michèle Angelique Flournoy
December 14, 1960(1960-12-14) (age 61)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Scott Gould
Children 3
Residence Bethesda, Maryland
Alma mater Harvard University
Balliol College, Oxford

Michèle Angelique Flournoy (born December 14, 1960)[1] is the former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy of the United States. She was confirmed in the position by the U.S. Senate on February 9, 2009 and was at the time the highest-ranking woman to hold a post at the Pentagon in the facility's history.[2] Flournoy founded and was named President of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) in 2007.[2] Prior to co-founding CNAS with Kurt Campbell,[2] she was a Senior Adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where she worked on a broad range of defense policy and international security issues. Previously, Flournoy was a distinguished research professor at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University (NDU), where she founded and led the university’s Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) working group, which was chartered by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to develop intellectual capital in preparation for the Department of Defense’s 2001 QDR. On December 12, 2011, Flournoy announced that she would step down in February 2012 to return to private life and contribute to President Barack Obama's re-election bid.[3]

Government service[edit | edit source]

Prior to joining NDU, Flournoy served as a senior-level political appointee in the Department of Defense during the Presidency of Bill Clinton, working at the Pentagon where she occupied the dual roles of Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Threat Reduction and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy. In those capacities, she oversaw three policy offices in the Office of the United States Secretary of Defense: Strategy; Requirements, Plans, and Counterproliferation; and Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasian Affairs. Flournoy was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service in 1996, the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service in 1998, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Award in 2000. Following the November 2008 presidential election, she was selected as one of the Department of Defense Review Team Leads for the Obama transition. On 8 January 2009, President-elect Obama announced that he was nominating Flournoy as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, serving under Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.[4]

Personal[edit | edit source]

Flournoy holds an B.A. in social studies from Harvard University and an M.Litt. in international relations from Oxford University,[2] where she was a Newton-Tatum scholar at Balliol College. Prior to this, she attended Beverly Hills High School.

Her father, George Flournoy, died of a heart attack when she was fourteen.[2]

Flournoy is a supporter of the Democratic Party and campaign finance records show she contributed $500 to Senator Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in June 2007.[5] From 1989-1993 she was at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government where she was a Research Fellow in its International Security Program. According to The New York Observer, in an article published 14 August 2007 ("Hot Policy Wonks for the Democrats"), Flournoy was then a 46-year-old former Department of Defense official in the Clinton administration. Flournoy and CNAS co-founder Kurt Campbell wrote in an influential policy paper called "The Inheritance and the Way Forward":[2] "First, U.S. strategy must be grounded in a common sense pragmatism rather than ideology. U.S. national security strategy must be based on a clear-eyed assessment of the challenges and opportunities of the new security environment as well as realistic objectives derived from our national interests."[6]

Flournoy's husband, W. Scott Gould, is a retired captain after twenty-six years in the United States Navy Reserve.[2] He was a vice president at IBM before becoming United States Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs. The couple has three children, and resides in Bethesda, Maryland.[7][8]

Affiliations[edit | edit source]

Flournoy is a member of the Aspen Strategy Group, the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and the Executive Board of Women in International Security. She is a former member of the Defense Policy Board and the Defense Science Board Task Force on Transformation. She was a member of the guiding coalition of the Project on National Security Reform.

Publications[edit | edit source]

In addition to several edited volumes and reports, Flournoy has authored dozens of articles on international security issues

"The Inheritance and the Way Forward", with Kurt M. Campbell (date unknown)[2]

The Future of the National Guard and Reserves, with Christine Wormuth, Clark Murdock, Patrick Henry, (Washington, D.C.: CSIS Press, July 2006)

European Defense Integration: Bridging the Gap Between Strategy and Capabilities, with Julianne Smith, Guy Ben-Ari, David Scruggs, and Kathleen McInnis, (Washington D.C.: CSIS Press, October 2005)

Beyond Goldwater-Nichols: Phase II Report, with Clark Murdock, (Washington, D.C.: CSIS Press, July 2005)

Beyond Goldwater-Nichols: Defense Reform for a New Strategic Era: Phase I Report, with Clark Murdock, Christopher Williams, and Kurt Campbell, (Washington, D.C.: CSIS Press, March 2004)

Nuclear Weapons After the Cold War (HarperCollins College Div, August 1992)

External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]


  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Emily Wax (6 November 2011). "Michele Flournoy, Pentagon’s highest-ranking woman, is making her mark on foreign policy". http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/michele-flournoy-pentagons-highest-ranking-woman-is-making-her-mark-on-foreign-policy/2011/10/27/gIQAh6nbtM_story.html?wpisrc=nl_fedinsider. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  3. "Pentagon’s Michele Flournoy to step down". The Washington Post. 2011-12-12. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/checkpoint-washington/post/pentagons-michele-flournoy-to-step-down/2011/12/12/gIQAObvQqO_blog.html. Retrieved 2011-12-17. 
  4. Scott, Ann (December 2, 2008). "Gate's Top Deputies May Leave Tyson". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/01/AR2008120102891.html?hpid=topnews. Retrieved December 2, 2008. 
  5. "Michele Flournoy Political Campaign Contributions 2008 Election Cycle". campaignmoney.com. http://www.campaignmoney.com/political/contributions/michele-flournoy.asp?cycle=08. Retrieved December 28, 2012. 
  6. "Hot Policy Wonks For The Democrats: The New Realists". The New York Observer. 2007-08-15. http://www.observer.com/2007/hot-policy-wonks-democrats-new-realists. Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  7. Vogel, Kenneth P. (June 15, 2009). "15 Obama administration power couples". Politico.com. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0609/23647_Page2.html. Retrieved 2009-07-02. 
  8. Skelton, Ike (January 15, 2009). "CONFIRMATION HEARING ON THE EXPECTED NOMINATIONS OF ...MS. MICHELE FLOURNOY ..." (PDF). U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services. p. 7. http://armed-services.senate.gov/Transcripts/2009/01%20January/A%20Full%20Committee/09-01%20-%201-15-09.pdf. Retrieved 2009-07-02. 

Much of this text is adapted from the DOD's public domain official biography "DefenseLink Biography: Michèle Flournoy". http://www.defenselink.mil/bios/biographydetail.aspx?biographyid=172. Retrieved 2009-07-02. 

Political offices
Preceded by
Eric Edelman
Undersecretary of Defense for Policy
Succeeded by
James Miller

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