Michèle Angelique Flournoy (born December 14, 1960) 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 founded and was named 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 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.
Flournoy has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Secretary of Defense Robert Gates which would make her the first female Secretary of Defense.
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.