Michele Flournoy as Secretary of Defense: Why the First Female Should Be Nominated


President Obama has yet to appoint his new secretary of defense. His most recent contender is former Senator Chuck Hagel, a man who has been under criticism for his comments about “an openly aggressively gay” diplomat being bad at representing American values. Another person who is under consideration is Michele Flournoy, former under secretary of defense for policy. Flournoy would be a viable candidate for the secretary of defense because of her experience and ability to appease to both political parties.

Flournoy has extensive experience from being the former under secretary of defense for policy to being a co-founder for the Center for New American Security (CNAS), “a non-partisan think tank dedicated to developing strong, pragmatic and principled national security policies,” according to the CNAS’s website. She was involved in the formulation of new policies of national security and defense policies and “overseeing the deployment of U.S. special forces to help train the Ugandan military to fight rebel groups, responding to the unfolding turmoil in Yemen and Syria, implementing widespread defense budget cuts and engineering the drawdown of U.S. -led troops from Afghanistan, according to author Emily Wax.” Her “liberal realist” approach to foreign policy would make Democrats and Republicans happy. Republicans would be especially eager to have Obama appoint Flournoy because they cannot seem to excuse Chuck Hagel’s critics of the Iraq war and endorsements of Democrats.

Flournoy also would help advocate for the movement of women in a heavily male dominated area of politics. She advocates for women’s sexual rights within the military, as well uses the CNAS to advance women. This addition to Obama’s cabinet would help appeal to the women population, who helped support in the re-election of Obama this past election.

Chuck Hagel does have extensive background, such as serving in the Vietnam War and serving as a former U.S. senator. Though, his involvement in trying to open channels with Iran and his lack of support of Israel may not seem so cohesive with Obama’s foreign policy. While he does have extensive experience, Flournoy has helped expand U.S.-Israeli foreign relations. It would help provide an easier transition from current secretary of defense, Leon Panetta.

Michele Flournoy, not only has the experience to become the secretary of defense, she also would be a viable asset in further advancing women and help add diversity to the cabinet. And plus, her name is Michele, which is awesome, even if it is spelt with one “l.”