Michèle Flournoy

Michèle Flournoy
The Aspen Institute
Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, U.S. Department of Defense
Washington, DC
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Quick Bio

Michèle Flournoy served as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from February 2009 to February 2012. She was the principal adviser to the Secretary of Defense in the formulation of national security and defense policy, oversight of military…

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Areas of Expertise

Military Spending, National Security

Full Biography

Michèle Flournoy served as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from February 2009 to February 2012. She was the principal adviser to the Secretary of Defense in the formulation of national security and defense policy, oversight of military plans and operations, and in National Security Council deliberations. She led the development of DoD’s new Strategic Guidance and represented the Department in dozens of foreign engagements, in the media and before Congress. Prior to confirmation, Ms. Flournoy co-led President Obama’s transition team at DoD. 

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.

Prior to joining NDU, she was dual-hatted as principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and threat reduction and deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy. In that capacity, she oversaw three policy offices in the Office of the 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 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. In addition to several edited volumes and reports, she has authored dozens of articles on international security issues. Ms. Flournoy holds a B.A. in social studies from Harvard University and an M.Litt. in international relations from Balliol College, Oxford University, where she was a Newton-Tatum scholar. She is a member of the Aspen Strategy Group, the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Institute of 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.

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