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Michèle A. Flournoy (born 1961) is 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. She was appointed President of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) in January 2007. Prior to co-founding CNAS, 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, she was a distinguished research professor at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense Universitymarker (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.

Government service

Prior to joining NDU, Flournoy served as a senior-level political appointee in the Department of Defense during the Clinton administration, 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. Ms. Flournoy was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service in 1996, the Department of Defensemarker 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 Ms. Flournoy as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, serving under Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.


Ms. Flournoy holds a B.A. in social studies from Harvard Universitymarker and an M.Litt. in international relations from Balliol College, Oxford Universitymarker, where she was a Newton-Tatum scholar.

She 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. 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"), Ms. Flournoy was then a 46-year-old former Department of Defensemarker official in the Clinton administration. Her colleagues think the war in Iraq and the country’s plummeting reputation abroad change the equation, and that the next president may have to rein in his or her ambitions when it comes to the projection of American power. As Ms. Flournoy and CNAS co-founder Kurt Campbell wrote in an influential June 2007 policy paper called The Inheritance and the Way Forward, “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.”

Miss Flournoy's husband, W. Scott Gould, is a retired Captain after twenty-six years in the United States Navy Reserve. He was IBM vice president public sector strategy before becoming deputy veterans affairs secretary. They have three children, and reside in Bethesda, Marylandmarker.


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.


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

The Future of the National Guard and Reserves, with Christine Wormuth, Clark Murdock, Patrick Henry, (Washington, D.C.marker: 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


.Much of this text is adapted from the DOD's public domain official biography

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