Top choice to replace Sec. of Defense Chuck Hagel is Michele Flournoy but confirmation risky

The front runner to replace outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is Michele Flournoy, 53, presently chief executive officer of the Center forΠNew American Security, a think tank she co-founded in Washington. Her work history at the Defense Department goes back to the 1990s and if nominated and confirmed she would be the first female Secretary of Defense in history.

Some think she would be confirmed by the Republican controlled Senate but others think that any confirmation will be held up as a result of the rancor between the Republicans and the White House.

Ms. Flournoy has a close professional relationship with former Bush administration Defense Secretary Robert Gates, but previously also worked closely with the Obama White House, serving at the Pentagon early in Mr. Obama’s first term.

She also has a good working relationship Obama aides Antony Blinken and Denis McDonough. She was a political appointee at the Pentagon for then-President Bill Clinton, serving as as the primary deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and threat reduction and deputy assistantΠsecretary of defense for Strategy. President Obama nominated Mrs. Flournoy to serve as undersecretary of defense for policy, the third-ranking official at the Defense Department.

She has attended Harvard University, Balliol College, University of Oxford and has written a book entitled Revitalizing the U.S. Nuclear Deterrent. Conjecture so far is that Chuck Hagel was forced to resign because the White House wants to take a much harder line on Isil, which it will do through Ms. Flournoy.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers