Ms. Flournoy’s résumé had appeared probably proper for the second. She served in the Pentagon first below President Bill Clinton, and from 2009 to 2012 she was the below secretary of protection for coverage in the Obama administration — the highest-ranking position for a girl in the Pentagon at the time. She eliminated her title from competition for the prime job in 2014, when Mr. Obama initially was contemplating her to succeed Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
She as a substitute turned a senior adviser at the Boston Consulting Group, then went on to co-found WestExec Advisors, a consulting agency. Her second shot at the job was scuttled when Hillary Clinton — who was extensively anticipated to call her — misplaced the presidential election in 2016.
Ms. Flournoy was identified for seamlessly transferring between the civilian and active-duty sides of the Pentagon, bridging the usually impenetrable hole between these in uniform and people in fits — a talent that some concern could also be misplaced with a retired common in the position. She did so, her followers mentioned, by translating the political imperatives of civilians to the active-duty army world and punctiliously serving to the civilian facet perceive the army’s sensible wants and limitations in seeing by means of the coverage targets of elected officers.
“She is enormously talented, and the last thing I think about is that she is a woman,” mentioned Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time of the Afghanistan surge, which she helped advocate to the Obama White House. “From my perspective that is a great thing.”
The Presidential Transition
Yet amongst girls who toil in the nationwide safety trenches, an space the place males — and what Ms. Flournoy usually refers to as their “mini-mes” who succeed them — have traditionally dominated, Ms. Flournoy is extensively considered a vital mentor.
“An entire generation of national security women used her as their role model in how to navigate a male-dominated job,” mentioned Representative Elissa Slotkin, Democrat of Michigan, who additionally labored for Ms. Flournoy. “The lesson she provided for women is that you have to always be the best prepared in the room. I literally learned that from her, and I now pass that down to the young women who work for me.”
Celeste Wallander, the president of the U.S.-Russia Foundation, is amongst scores of girls who take into account Ms. Flournoy central to their profitable careers. Ms. Wallander recalled a time in 1989 when the two had been each lecturers at Harvard, the place Ms. Wallander, very junior, was normally left off the invitation checklist for dinners and different occasions with main gamers in her discipline. Ms. Flournoy quietly had her added to the lists. “I got to meet people because I was at the table now,” Ms. Wallander mentioned.