Hon. Michèle Flournoy

  • Chief Executive Officer, CNAS

Michèle Flournoy is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). 

She 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 2012 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.

In January 2007, Ms. Flournoy co-founded  CNAS, a non-partisan think tank dedicated to developing strong, pragmatic and principled national security policies. She served as CNAS’ President until 2009.

Previously, she was senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies for several years and, prior to that, a distinguished research professor at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University (NDU).

In the mid-1990s, she served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Threat Reduction and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy.  She has received several awards from the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Ms. Flournoy is a member of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, the Defense Policy Board, the DCIA’s External Advisory Board, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Aspen Strategy Group, and a Senior Fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. She serves on the boards of The Mitre Corporation, CSRA, Amida Technology Solutions, The Mission Continues, and CARE, and is a Senior Advisor at the Boston Consulting Group.

Ms. Flournoy earned a bachelor's degree in social studies from Harvard University and a master's degree in international relations from Balliol College, Oxford University, where she was a Newton-Tatum scholar.

  • March 17, 2016
  • Michele Flournoy
  • Reports

Nine Lessons for Navigating National Security

CNAS CEO Michèle Flournoy has written a new report examining 70 years of U.S. national security policy and processes and making recommendations for the next President as he or she builds the next national security team.

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  • March 10, 2016
  • Michele Flournoy, Dr. Sachiko Kuno, Patrick M. Cronin, Maki Fukami
  • Reports

Strategic Resilience: A U.S.-Japan Alliance Action Plan for All-Hazard Emergency Management

Evermay Dialogue Co-Chairs Dr. Sachiko Kuno and the Honorable Michèle Flournoy released a new report on a U.S.-Japan alliance action plan for all-hazard emergency management. 

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  • February 25, 2016
  • Michele Flournoy, Richard Fontaine
  • Commentaries

CNAS Commentary: A Bipartisan National Security Agenda for an Election Year

CNAS CEO Michèle Flournoy and CNAS President Richard Fontaine have written a new commentary laying out issues the Obama administration and Congress can address before the next president is sworn in.

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  • December 7, 2015
  • Michele Flournoy
  • Congressional Testimony

Michèle Flournoy before the Senate Armed Services Committee

CNAS CEO and Co-Founder Michèle Flournoy testified before the Senate Committee on Armed Services on the urgent need for defense reform.

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  • September 16, 2015
  • Michele Flournoy, Richard Fontaine
  • Commentaries

After the Deal, Strengthen Our Iran Policy

CNAS CEO Michèle Flournoy and President Richard Fontaine write a commentary recommending next steps for the administration after the Iran deal.

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  • August 6, 2015
  • Michele Flournoy, Richard Fontaine
  • Policy Briefs

An Intensified Approach to Combatting the Islamic State

CNAS CEO Michèle Flournoy and President Richard Fontaine have authored a new policy brief arguing that “current efforts to counter ISIS are not adequate to the task” and that American efforts thus far “convey a sense of creeping incrementalism.

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  • July 28, 2015
  • Michele Flournoy
  • Congressional Testimony

Michèle Flournoy before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

CNAS Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Michèle Flournoy testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on the national security implications of lifting the crude oil export ban.

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  • March 19, 2015
  • Michele Flournoy
  • Congressional Testimony

CEO Michèle Flournoy: Statement to Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

CEO Michèle Flournoy submitted a Congressional Statement to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources discussing United States Crude Export Policy.

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  • February 3, 2015
  • Shawn Brimley, Phillip Carter, Elbridge Colby, Patrick M. Cronin, Michele Flournoy, Ilan Goldenberg, Jerry Hendrix, Nicholas Heras, Van Jackson, Katherine Kidder, Paul Scharre, Julianne Smith, Jacob Stokes, Alexander Sullivan
  • Reports

Ideas to Action: Suggestions for the 25th Secretary of Defense

In advance of Dr. Ashton Carter’s upcoming nomination hearing to be Secretary of Defense, CNAS experts have produced a series of commentaries outlining the key issues the 25th Secretary of Defense will face.

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  • November 13, 2013
  • Michele Flournoy
  • Congressional Testimony

CNAS Board of Directors Co-Chair Michèle Flournoy at House Armed Services Committee

CNAS Co-Chair of the Board of Directors Michèle Flournoy testified on September 19 before the House Armed Services Committee on Afghanistan.

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  • February 11, 2016
  • Patrick M. Cronin, Michele Flournoy
  • Events

Mapping Asia's Trajectory: An Australian Perspective

CNAS, in partnership with the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, hosted a luncheon keynote address by the Hon Julie Bishop MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia.

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  • March 7, 2012
  • Michele Flournoy, David W. Barno, USA (Ret.), Robert D. Kaplan, Patrick M. Cronin, Election 2012 Series
  • Events

Election 2012 - Informing the National Security Agenda Event Series

The Center for a New American Security, the American Enterprise Institute and the New America Foundation are pleased to introduce Election 2012: Informing the National Security Agenda to this presidential campaign season. 

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  • October 24, 2008
  • Michele Flournoy
  • Events

Reducing Nuclear Threats and Preventing Nuclear Terrorism

This event took place on Friday, October 19, 2007 at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, DC to discuss the new report, “Reducing Nuclear Threats and Preventing Nuclear Terrorism.”  The report was completed by the National Security Advisory Group, directed by Wendy R. Sherman, Principal, The Albright Group LLC and Robert J. Einhorn, Senior Advisor, International Security Programs, Center for Strategic and International Studies. 

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  • October 3, 2008
  • Michele Flournoy
  • Events

Michele Flournoy Congressional Testimony

  • April 13, 2016
  • Michele Flournoy
  • In the News

Women Veterans Gather to Swap Stories, Gain Experience

Associated Press mentions CNAS CEO Michèle Flournoy as a featured speaker at a conference hosted by The Mission Continues.

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  • April 13, 2016
  • Michele Flournoy
  • In the News

Pentagon chief wants streamlined, more nimble U.S. military structure

Reuters cites a recent testimony by CNAS CEO Michèle Flournoy on the  Goldwater-Nichols law.

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  • March 29, 2016
  • Michele Flournoy
  • In the News

Report: Next president needs to start national security planning now

Military Times features CNAS CEO Michèle Flournoy's latest report, "Nine Lessons for Navigating National Security."

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  • March 28, 2016
  • Michele Flournoy
  • In the News

China Seen As Threat in Flournoy Paper

Defense News features CNAS CEO Michèle Flournoy's new report, "Nine Lessons for Navigating National Security."

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  • March 28, 2016
  • Michele Flournoy
  • In the News

CNAS Report: Nine Lessons for Navigating National Security

Small Wars Journal features CNAS CEO Michele Flournoy's latest report, "Nine Lessons for Navigating National Security."

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  • February 4, 2016
  • Michele Flournoy
  • In the News

The U.S. was supposed to leave Afghanistan by 2017. Now it might take decades.

In The Washington Post, Chief Executive Officer Michèle Flournoy weighs in on the administration's plans keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

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  • December 8, 2015
  • Michele Flournoy
  • In the News

Ex-Obama defense officials: ISIS threat 'getting worse, not better'

CEO Michèle Flournoy examines the threat from the Islamic State and how best to respond in The Hill.

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  • December 8, 2015
  • Michele Flournoy
  • In the News

California couple was long radicalized

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Hon. Michèle Flournoy is mentioned in regards to her testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee in Politico.

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  • November 16, 2015
  • Michele Flournoy, Richard Fontaine
  • In the News

Foreign Policy: President Obama ponders his options against ISIS

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Hon. Michèle Flournoy and President Richard Fontaine are mentioned in regards to their policy paper detailing steps the president can take against ISIL in Politico.

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  • November 9, 2015
  • Michele Flournoy
  • In the News

Netanyahu Visit to be Kinder, Gentler

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Hon. Michèle Flournoy examines the importance of a strong relationship between the US and Israel in U.S. News & World Report.

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Pages

  • July 6, 2015
  • Michele Flournoy, Richard Fontaine
  • Op-eds

Lean Forward in Iraq

Chief Executive Michèle Flournoy and President Richard Fontaine penned an op-ed looking at how the U.S. can sucessfully defeat the Islamic State in The Washington Post.

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  • May 27, 2015
  • Michele Flournoy, Richard Fontaine
  • Op-eds

Economic Growth Is a National Security Issue

CEO Michèle Flournoy and President Richard Fontaine pen an op-ed discussing U.S. economic growth as a national security priority for the federal government.

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  • March 24, 2015
  • Michele Flournoy
  • Op-eds

Audio: Why an American and an Afghan are optimistic about Afghanistan's future

CEO Michele Flournoy discusses the future of Afghanistan with PRI’s The World. 

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  • March 13, 2015
  • Michele Flournoy
  • Op-eds

LTE: Why We Need to Keep Forces in Afghanistan

CEO Michèle Flournoy with Stephen Hadley pen a New York Times letter to the editor reacting to its March 9th editorial, "No Cause to Delay the Afghan Pullout."

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  • March 8, 2015
  • Michele Flournoy, Ely Ratner
  • Op-eds

A Trade Deal With a Bonus For National Security

CEO Michele Flournoy and Senior Fellow Dr. Ely Ratner pen an op-ed on the Trade Promotion Authority and the potential national security windfall of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

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  • January 20, 2015
  • Michele Flournoy, Richard Fontaine
  • Op-eds

The steps a divided government can take to protect national interests

In a Washington Post op-ed, CEO Michèle Flournoy and President Richard Fontaine propose rebuilding the bipartisan national security consensus.

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  • September 19, 2014
  • Michele Flournoy, Eric Edelman
  • Op-eds

Cuts to defense spending are hurting our national security

In a Washington Post op-ed, CNAS CEO Michèle Flournoy and Eric Edelman of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments emphasize their concern with maintaining U.S. military superiority and urge Congress and the President to repeal the Budget Control Act.

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  • August 14, 2014
  • Richard Fontaine, Michele Flournoy
  • Op-eds

America: Beware the Siren Song of Disengagement

CEO Michèle Flournoy and President Richard Fontaine publish a National Interest piece on American engagement.

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  • July 10, 2014
  • Ely Ratner, Michele Flournoy
  • Op-eds

China’s territorial advances must be kept in check by the United States

CEO Hon. Michèle Flournoy and Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program Dr. Ely Ratner write in The Washington Post  on how China's simultaneously increasing cooperation and assertive behavior will impact the international order.

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  • July 10, 2014
  • Michele Flournoy, Richard Fontaine
  • Op-eds

Rebuilding Bipartisan Consensus on National Security

CEO Michèle Flournoy and President Richard Fontaine discuss the effects of increasing polarization in American politics on the future of U.S. national security in Defense One

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  • December 7, 2015
  • Michele Flournoy
  • Congressional Testimony

Michèle Flournoy before the Senate Armed Services Committee

CNAS CEO and Co-Founder Michèle Flournoy testified before the Senate Committee on Armed Services on the urgent need for defense reform.

Read More
  • July 28, 2015
  • Michele Flournoy
  • Congressional Testimony

Michèle Flournoy before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

CNAS Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Michèle Flournoy testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on the national security implications of lifting the crude oil export ban.

Read More
  • March 19, 2015
  • Michele Flournoy
  • Congressional Testimony

CEO Michèle Flournoy: Statement to Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

CEO Michèle Flournoy submitted a Congressional Statement to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources discussing United States Crude Export Policy.

Read More
  • November 13, 2013
  • Michele Flournoy
  • Congressional Testimony

CNAS Board of Directors Co-Chair Michèle Flournoy at House Armed Services Committee

CNAS Co-Chair of the Board of Directors Michèle Flournoy testified on September 19 before the House Armed Services Committee on Afghanistan.

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  • October 15, 2008
  • Michele Flournoy
  • Congressional Testimony

The Quadrennial Defense Review: A Model for the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review

Michèle A. Flournoy, President and Co-Founder of the Center for a New American Security, testifies before the House Committee on Homeland Security

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  • October 15, 2008
  • Michele Flournoy
  • Congressional Testimony

Life After the Surge: Prospects for Iraq and for the U.S. Military

This CNAS Congressional Testimony contains Michèle A. Flournoy's statement to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, given on April 2, 2008. According to Flournoy, "The only way to consolidate recent security gains in Iraq is to use our substantial political leverage to push various Iraqi actors toward political accommodation.  The Bush administration success or failure in so doing over the coming months will determine the options available to the next President.  When the next Commander in Chief takes office, he or she must put our Iraq policy on a new course that protects our vital interests there but also rebalances risk across our larger regional and global goals.  He or she must also take urgent steps to develop a new and more effective strategy toward Iraq, reduce the strains on our soldiers, marines and their families, free up more forces for other urgent priorities like Afghanistan, and restore the readiness of our military for the full range of possible future contingencies."

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  • October 15, 2008
  • Michele Flournoy
  • Congressional Testimony

Achieving Unity of Effort in Interagency Operations

In testimony given to the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Flournoy writes that "In the last two decades, the United States has experienced some truly stellar military victories: rolling back Saddam Hussein’s aggression against Kuwait in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, establishing a secure environment for the implementation of peace accords in the Balkans, driving the Taliban from power in Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and toppling Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime in a matter of weeks."

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  • October 15, 2008
  • Michele Flournoy
  • Congressional Testimony

Strengthening the Readiness of the U.S. Military

This CNAS Congressional Testimony contains Michèle A. Flournoy's prepared statement to the House Armed Services Committee, on Feb. 14, 2008. According to Flournoy, "the readiness of the U.S. military is just barely keeping pace with current operations. The fight to recruit and keep personnel, and the need to repair and modernize equipment, also means that building and regaining readiness is becoming increasingly costly."

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  • June 2, 2016
  • Michele Flournoy
  • Audio

Interview: Clinton To Tout Her Foreign Policy Experience In California Speech

Co-founder and CEO Michèle Flournoy discusses the Clinton campaign on NPR. 

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  • February 11, 2016
  • Patrick M. Cronin, Michele Flournoy
  • Videos

Video: Mapping Asia's Trajectory: An Australia Perspective

CNAS, in partnership with the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, hosted a luncheon keynote address by the Hon Julie Bishop MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia on January 26 at The Willard InterContinental Hotel.

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  • October 16, 2015
  • Michele Flournoy
  • Videos

Foreign Affairs Live: Modernizing the Military

CEO Michèle Flournoy participated in a Foreign Affairs Live panel examining the challenges, misconceptions, and opportunities related to finding the best approach to achieving real defense acquisition reform and improving performance of large scale defense acquisition programs.

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  • July 8, 2015
  • Shawn Brimley, Jacob Stokes, Katherine Kidder, Michele Flournoy
  • Videos

Video: 1LT Andrew J. Bacevich, Jr., USA Fellowship

This video highlights the 1Lt Andrew Bacevich, Jr., USA Fellowship and its impact on current and former Bacevich Fellows.

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  • July 8, 2015
  • Michele Flournoy, Shawn Brimley
  • Videos

Video: CNAS 2015 Annual Conference - 1Lt Andrew J. Bacevich, Jr., USA, Fellowship Presentation

Research Associate Katherine Kidder is presented with the Bacevich Fellowship.The fellowship is presented by Chief Executive Officer Michèle Flournoy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Asia Group, Dr. Kurt Campbell, Vice President, Global Security Policy, Europe and the Americas at Lockheed Martin Corporation, Dan Fata, and Executive Vice President Shawn Brimley. 

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  • July 8, 2015
  • Michele Flournoy
  • Videos

Video: CNAS 2015 Annual Conference - A Better Strategy for Fighting ISIS

Distinguished Service Professor at George Mason University, Dr. Audrey Kurth Cronin, Former Director, National Counterterrorism Center Michael Leiter, and Chief Executive Officer Michèle Flournoy discuss options for President Obama in fighting ISIS. Associate Editor and Senior National Security Correspondent at The Washington Post, Karen De Young, moderates the panel.

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  • July 8, 2015
  • Michele Flournoy, Shawn Brimley, Jerry Hendrix, Robert D. Kaplan
  • Videos

Video: CNAS 2015 Annual Conference - Opening Remarks & Orienting to the World in 2025

Chief Executive Officer Michèle Flournoy and Executive Vice President Shawn Brimley welcome attendees to the conference. Senior Fellow Robert D. Kaplan, Senior Fellow Dr. Jerry Hendrix, and Chief Executive Officer of Caerus Associates, Dr. Erin Simpson discuss the rise and fall of global powers and what developments we can expect in the next decade.

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  • June 10, 2015
  • Michele Flournoy
  • Videos

Can Obama’s plan ‘defeat and destroy’ the Islamic State?

michele-flournoy-on-pbs-news-hour

CEO Michèle Flournoy joins PBS NewsHour to dicuss The White House's announcement to send more troops to fight the Islamic State group in Iraq.

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  • May 24, 2015
  • Michele Flournoy
  • Videos

What's the key to defeating ISIS?

On CNN State of the Union, CEO Michèle Flournoy, and former counterterrorism official Michael Leiter discuss ISIS's troubling advances.

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  • March 22, 2015
  • Michele Flournoy
  • Audio

NPR: Afghan President Makes First Official Visit To Washington

CEO Michèle Flournoy weighs in on Afhgan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's first official visit to Washington.

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