The PJ Tatler

Flournoy Withdraws from SecDef Consideration

The Cable reports that Michèle Flournoy has withdrawn her name from consideration to become the next defense secretary. Flournoy was among a handful believed to be on President Obama’s short list to succeed Chuck Hagel, who was fired Monday.

Flournoy, the co-founder and CEO of the Center for a New American Security, a think tank that has served as a farm league for future Obama administration officials, would have been the first female secretary of defense had she risen to the position.

But in a letter Tuesday to members of the CNAS board of directors, Flournoy said she would remain in her post at the think tank and asked Obama to take her out of consideration to be the next secretary of defense. Flournoy told the board members that family considerations helped drive her decision.

The move means that only one of the three names rumored for the post remains under consideration: Ashton Carter, the former deputy secretary of defense. When Hagel was ousted Monday, speculation had immediately turned to Flournoy, Carter, and Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, a former Army Ranger. But Reed took himself out of the running almost immediately after Hagel announced his resignation.

Flournoy cites family reasons for her withdrawal but her public support for Obama’s unilateral withdrawal of troops from Iraq would have come up on confirmation hearings. Republicans like Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, among many others, would surely have seen to that.