Flournoy is gradually gaining momentum in his search for the leader of Biden Pentagon


“I would be happy to be nominated as Secretary of Defense,” he added.

Flournoy, a former deputy secretary of state for policy defense, also received approval from a collection of former high-ranking defense officials, diplomats and arms control experts who praised support for international treaties and other efforts to reduce the number and role of nuclear weapons in war planning. .

Flournoy “knows that the Biden administration must be a top priority in restoring U.S. leadership on a number of issues, including nuclear risk reduction,” wrote in an open letter signed by former Secretary of Defense William Perry and Rose Gottemoeller. former Secretary of State for Arms Control and Deputy Secretary General of NATO.

“He has often expressed his strong support for the extension of the New START nuclear control agreement with Russia,” they added. “He raised important questions about the necessity and affordability of current nuclear modernization plans. And criticized the Trump administration for lowering the nuclear usage threshold.”

Flournoy, they wrote, “the best situation is that the Department of Defense, through momentum and inertia, does not invest in excessive or dangerous legacy systems, including nuclear weapons systems, that are ill-suited to address the pressing threats of today and tomorrow.”

Flournoy has long been on the Democratic list of the Pentagon’s top job, making him the first woman as a civilian leader in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Many observers were surprised that he was not recruited this week for the rest of Biden’s national security and foreign policy team.

But Biden and Flournoy disagreed in the past, especially because of the war in Afghanistan; Flournoy played a leading role in the influx of U.S. military forces into the country in 2009, when then-Vice President Biden opposed the troops ’further commitment.

POLITICO first reported this week that the president-elect has not yet settled with a Pentagon boss and that former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson is also involved.

“Michèle is still at the top of the list, but I want to keep looking – and that’s a change,” said a former national security official who closely followed the transition. It means, “Let’s not rush here.”

Flournoy, along with some allies of the Pentagon’s transition team, came under fire from some leftists who find it too pale and friendly in the defense industry.

He was a co-founder of a think tank, the New American Security Center, which will receive significant funding from Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon, according to a study published last month by the International Center. Directive.

Flournoy also founded a consulting firm, WestExec Advisors, which did not disclose its clients. And Booz Allen also serves on the board of Hamilton, one of the Pentagon’s general contractors.

It does not make you unique; Johnson also sits on the board of Lockheed Martin, the largest defense contractor in the United States. Some progressive groups are demanding that anyone Biden selects for top Pentagon roles be made public to all former defense industry clients as part of a broader effort to reduce the influence of entrepreneurs in policy-making.

Flournoy sought to address some of their concerns, including participating in a call with a number of progressive groups before making progress, committing themselves to reviewing arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which caused a humanitarian catastrophe in the Yemeni civil war.

Yet, as Biden narrows the election, other progressive-minded national security veterans and military advocacy groups are increasingly defending it.

Nearly a dozen military family advocacy groups backed it over the weekend and recommended a “quick confirmation procedure”.

“We appreciate the undisputed expertise of the Department of Defense on a wide variety of topics and appreciate the deep commitment to U.S. troops and their families,” the group said in a statement from POLITICO. “We especially appreciate being a military family in itself.”

On Wednesday, supporters in the arms control community told Biden, “We believe Michèle Flournoy is the best candidate for the job.”