Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michèle Flournoy doesn't want Chuck Hagel's job.
As soon as Hagel announced his decision to step down as defense secretary, several names were floated as possible replacements: Former Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work, Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed and Flournoy dominated the short list. But Monday, Flournoy told the White House she does not want to be considered for the role, citing family reasons.
Flournoy — who would have been the country’s first female secretary of defense — served as the under secretary of defense for policy until 2012, when she stepped down to spend more time with her three children. Then the most senior woman in Pentagon history, Flournoy is a graduate of Harvard and Oxford University, and she started working in the Pentagon in the 1990s. She is currently the CEO at the Center for a New American Security, a nonpartisan think tank she founded in 2007.
Hagel's decision to resign — perhaps the biggest shake-up of President Obama’s White House — comes on the heels of midterm elections largely seen as a rejection of the president’s policies, and ahead of his stated plan to request explicit congressional approval for new military intervention.
Additional reporting by Jane C. Timm