Michele Flournoy decides she doesn't want to be Defense Secretary either
Michele Flournoy has decided that she doesn't want to be US Secretary of Defense
either (Hat Tip: Memeorandum
in a letter
Tuesday to members of the CNAS board of directors, Flournoy said she
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
members that family health considerations helped drive her decision and
the fact that two of her children are leaving for college in the next
"Last night I spoke with President Obama and removed myself from
consideration due to family concerns," reads the letter. "After much
agonizing, we decided that now was not the right time for me to reenter
government. The good news is that you all are stuck with me for the
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.
I wonder whether the history of Obama's Secretaries of Defense
had any influence on Flournoy's decision.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Monday suggested Hagel had vented “frustration” to him over his treatment by the White House.
steady stream of stories in recent weeks that suggested Hagel was
having a difficult time penetrating the president’s inner circle carried
echoes of Robert Gates and Leon Panetta, two past Defense secretaries
who went on to write tell-all books critical of the president’s handling
of defense policy.
Former Democratic aide Brent Budowsky said
Democrats across the Capitol saw Hagel’s ouster as the latest example of
“unprecedented” drama created by “too tight and too controlling of an
He noted that not only had each of the president’s
previous Defense secretaries voiced concern over his Syria policy, so
had former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“This is going to
precipitate a very visible battle beginning today and going through the
confirmation of his successor about what the policy should be, and
highlight the long-term and chronic internal disagreement,” said
Budowsky, who is a columnist for The Hill.
Other defense experts say Hagel was not particularly close with the president or members of his national security team.
had no relationships that were already established within this
administration," said a retired military officer with current policy
experience in Washington, who wanted to speak on background.
retired officer noted that Hagel is also older than the president's
closest advisers, such as Rice and chief of staff Denis McDonough.
"The generational difference was a really difficult thing," he said.
Labels: Barack Hussein Obama, Chuck Hagel, John McCain, Leon Panetta, Michele Flournoy, Robert Gates